Chapter 1 - Another Day

In an empty patch of space, south of the Cardassian border near the Hugora Nebula, a small transport warped along, heading worriless towards Deep Space Nine.

Her cargo: several Bajorans who for whatever Bajoran reason had decided the nearby Panthara system might have some artifacts on it that had this or that to do with the Prophets.

Their research, however, turned up nothing. A few decided to stay, despite the inhospitable nature of the Pentharian ecosystem. The rest were on their way home.

Since their trip was not 'official', they were on their own. It really did not seem to be a problem, though. Penthara was in Federation space and the Cardassians were happy to allow them passage through their space.

Relations between the Bajorans and the Cardassians had been steadily improving since the end of the Dominion War and Cardassia's transformation to democracy. There had been some issues, of course. There was still resentment from several Bajorans from the occupation, as was to be expected.

Cardassia herself was dealing with a bit of internal strife as well. Despite what the Dominion did, there were many who didn't care for the surrender, nor did they look kindly on Cardassia's new – civilian – leadership seemingly handing over the security of the state to outsiders.

Quickly after the war ended, Cardassian leadership requested that the Federation help provide for their security so that they could concentrate on the rebuilding of their homeworld. The Federation agreed. Minor insurrections broke out because of this, as the Cardassians were a proud people. None that the internal security forces could not contain – for the time being, but still, it became a thorn in the side of those trying to rebuild a functioning, peaceful, society.

Eventually, Starfleet's assistance – originally tasked with simple border patrol and convoy escorts - was requested on Cardassia Prime. Not a large force, just enough to assist in providing security government installations and training for new military officers, while Cardassian forces quelled any 'restive' areas.

As for the Bajorans on the transport ship, they cared little for Cardassia's troubles. They cared little for the Cardassians in general. Several artifacts and religious sites were damaged or destroyed in the occupation; something people like them would not soon forget.

The group was quietly talking amongst themselves when red alert lights in the transport activated, and alarm klaxons began to sound. The leader of the group, Tarra, looked worriedly at her fellow travelers before standing and walking to the bridge of the ship.

“What's going on?” she asked the captain.

He turned to her, a frightened expression on his face. “Two Orion heavy cruisers have been spotted on an intercept course for us.” He looked down to his tactical display and tapped on it. “We've adjusted our course towards a Cardassian scout patrol and sent them a distress call, so hopefully it will be alright.”

Tarra looked at the display acknowledging the two small ships near the Captain's finger and nodded slightly. She did not really understand all the information on it, nor did she grasp the tactics behind the ability of a pair of Cardassian scout ships dealing with a pair of heavy cruisers.

She hoped her lack of understanding would end up leaving her pleasantly surprised.

The next fifteen minutes were quite tense. Tarra watched both the viewscreen and the tactical display quite intently, taking her eyes off the screens for just a minute to pray to the Prophets for the positive outcome to the situation.

She knew exactly what would happen to her and the rest of the ship's passengers if the Orions were to get a hold of them.

The ship rocked violently before dropping out of warp.

“THEY GOT US IN A TRACTOR BEAM!” one of the officers on the bridge cried out.

“The Cardassians are engaging them,” another reported.

Both the transport's bridge crew and Tarra watched in horror as the two Cardassian ships were decimated by the Orion ships. Tarra sighed sadly before gasping as she felt the ship rock again.

“They're targeting our shield emitters!” someone yelled.

The captain managed to turn to Tarra, about to tell her something before hearing “SHIELDS DOWN!” from behind him and seeing Tarra vanish. The captain turned around and saw all the female members of his crew, gone.

He quickly stood and ran to the back, looking to where his passengers were.

All gone.

He ran back to the bridge. “They've kidnapped all the females and the Bajorans!” he reported.

“Wish I was Bajoran,” the helmsman whimpered. “They're coming about to finish us off.”

One of the Orion ships warped off as the second turned around, aligning its weapons for a mighty, finishing blow.

“No,” the captain sighed. “This is a far better fate than what they are in for.”

“ANOTHER SHIP ON SCAN!” one of the remaining bridge officers called out.

“Another Orion?” the Captain asked.

“No!” he gleefully smiled.

The Captain smiled as well as he watched several quantum torpedoes slam into the side of the Orion cruiser.


“Confirming only Orion life signs on that ship?” Ranma asked Minako.

“Confirmed,” she replied.

“Destroy it, then,” Ranma ordered.

Makoto nodded and began laying waste to the Orion ship, ignoring its feeble attempts to return fire.

“Marines and engineering teams report ready,” Jansen reported.

“Go,” Shampoo ordered.


The Captain of the transport nearly screamed as about twenty Starfleet marines appeared on his bridge. The medics in the group moved to check on the bridge officers as the rest spread out to secure the ship.

Ryouga, the group commander, walked up to the ship's Captain.

“Sir,” he nodded, “I'm Captain Ryouga Hibiki, Starfleet Marine Corps. We're here to help get you going again. Do you need engineering assistance?”

The captain nodded, but then sighed sadly. “I'm more concerned with my passengers and the rest of my crew that the other Orion ship took.”

“Do you know how many?”

“About thirty in total.”

Ryouga nodded, contacted the Sisko, and relayed the information as the Orion ship exploded on the viewscreen behind them.

“ALL CLEAR!” a marine called out.

Ryouga again hit his comm badge. “Send over the engineers.”

A few seconds later, about ten engineers materialized on the bridge. Shortly after that, the Sisko turned and warped off.

“They left you guys here?” the Captain asked.

Ryouga smirked. “The guys who are good at retrieving people are still on the Sisko.”


JC looked at the terminal and patted Usagi on the shoulder. “Nice work,” he smiled. He then turned towards Ranma and Shampoo. “We have the bubble as tight as possible. 9.98.”

Ranma smiled as he looked at the streaking stars. “Time to intercept?”

Minako looked to her terminal. “Six minutes.”

Ranma sighed contently. He hated to get over-confident, but this was going very well. That said, it likely should. His team was a finely tuned machine, and despite a few close calls on some of their larger, more dangerous missions, they had their daily work down to a science.

“NEO teams report ready,” Jansen reported.

Ranma nodded. “As soon as we're in range, Commander,” Ranma said, turning to Makoto, “please knock that ship out of warp. I need its shields down A-S-A-P as well.”

“Aye,” she responded.

“If I can, I will try to beam all Bajoran life-signs out of there, but they usually keep prisoners inside transport inhibitors,” Minako reported.

Ranma nodded. “Yeah, I think we've dealt with the Orions enough to safely bet an old-fashioned extraction will be the only way to do it.”

Minako nodded before looking to her terminal. “Captain Hibiki is hailing us.”

Ranma blinked. “On screen.”

Ryouga nodded to Ranma. “Captain, just thought you should know, there are several empty lifeboats out here from the Cardassian ships.”

“You think that Orions kidnapped the survivors of patrol ships?” Shampoo asked.

Ryouga nodded again. “Yes.”

“Good to know, thank you, Ryouga.” Ranma smiled.

Ryouga smiled back before closing the channel. Ranma walked up to the tactical station and leaned against it. “Pass that along to the NEO teams,” he said, turning back towards the main viewer. He looked at the rear end of the Orion ship.

Jansen began to relay information as a large smile crossed Makoto's face. A narrow beam shot out from the ventral phaser array on the Sisko. The beam impacted the starboard nacelle on the Orion ship. It sparked a couple of times before the glowing green light faded.

Both ships dropped out of warp nearly simultaneously. Ikuhara whipped the Sisko around, in a ‘Tokyo Drift’ style maneuver that likely would have made Ryouga quite jealous and brought all of her forward-facing weapons to bear on the cruiser.

Like her sister ship, the slave ship fired every weapon it had at the Sisko, but unlike the small scout craft the Cardassians had, the Sisko was not only designed for a fight – she was designed for war.

The Sisko did not even seem bothered by the impact of the weapons; the inertial dampeners protecting the bridge crew from feeling everything except for the occasional torpedo hit.

Meanwhile, Makoto kept the ship's phaser hits narrow and specifically targeted. JC diverting power from non-critical systems to the phaser arrays to ensure that she would have the power she needed to punch through to the shield emitters and destroy them.

Ranma stayed up by the tactical station, watching his chief tactical officer's hands move expertly, like a concert pianist, over the console. Within a minute and a half, the Orion ship's shields were down – and they were not coming back up.

Ranma nodded to Jansen who quickly hit the 'enter' button on a pre-typed IM she had ready.



“You know, there is an old Earth song that goes well with situations like this,” Ensign Yayo, Bravo team's Andorian medic mused.

“Oh?” Bravo team commander Second Lieutenant Kio Yuki asked.

Yayo nodded as she cleared her throat. 

“The waaaaaaaiiiiiittttting is the hardest part...”

Sergeant Anthony Schaefer, Corporal Ian Kagurazaka, and Corporal Xiang, Bravo's field engineer, all looked at her before the three broke out in laughter.

Alpha team also peeked around the corner from their transporter pad.

“We're about to go rescue hostages from an Orion slave ship and you guys are having karaoke night?” Lieutenant Blake Parker asked.

Ensign Masters, Alpha's medic, and Sergeant Anderson, Alpha's field engineer, chuckled a bit.

“We read somewhere that Commander Hino was a fan of Tom Petty,” Kio smiled, doing her best to stay concealed. “And since it's her birthday and all...”

Lt. Commander Kirk Shelton turned to Rei. “Oh?”

Rei scowled slightly. “Yes, it is.” She moved forward a bit. “And yes, I do like Tom Petty. The key part of that being that I like Tom Petty.”

Yayo laughed as Rei's PADD chirped.

“Time to go,” she said, becoming all business. The rest of the group nodded, became quite serious themselves, drew their weapons, and dematerialized.


Both teams rematerialized in different sections of the ship. Alpha fore, Bravo aft. Their goal, shoot, rescue, and meet up in the middle.

Alarms were sounding on the Orion ship. Apparently, whatever the Sisko had done to get them on board did not disable their internal sensors. Kio was not going to complain though. More resistance just meant more people for her to mow down.

She had stopped trying to pretend she had not joined Starfleet to shoot bad guys. While at first, she was always bemoaning her bad luck at ending up being beamed in right next to a group of people she would have to fight her way through, she realized that whenever that didn't happen, she felt disappointed.

There's no use in fighting who you are.

“Three, nine-o'clock,” Ian whispered.

Kio nodded and took the group in that direction. After a few meters, they saw an Orion taunting a couple of Cardassians.

“Did you really think you could defeat us?!” he laughed. “I mean, you couldn't – what are you looking-”

The Orion didn't even get a chance to turn around and see what the Cardassians were looking at before he was hit in the back by a shot from Kio's rifle, stunning him. Ian quickly restrained him as Anthony and Yayo released the two Cardassians.

“Give us guns, we can help.” one said.

Kio shook her head. “You need to be checked out.”

Before the pair could object, they were slapped with transport enhancers and were on their way back to the Sisko.


Rei was unsure if she liked the new jumpsuits they were issued. Before, they were pure black, with pure black vests covering them. Now they were some strange digital camouflage combination of black and dark gray and some weird color of blue that Rei was fairly sure was just a different shade of black that someone had labeled blue.

Starfleet had assured them that it was better than 'just black' because it messes with people's eyes, or some nonsense. Rei had no idea if that was true or not. Not that it mattered anyway. Once they started firing, huge blobs of orange would come flying from their guns, so unless they were using their projectile weapons, you'd know where they were.

They had been given multiple sets. A white variation if they ever needed to do anything in the snow. A green one, like the LDF's for forests or jungles, and a tan one for the desert. She'd sarcastically asked Admiral Saotome where the red one was if Vulcan ever seceded again and had gotten a very unhappy response from him.

They also removed the mission patch from the shoulder, and rank insignia from the collar, making so there was nothing on the uniform that could link them to Starfleet or the Federation. Rei did not like that at all. She understood their missions were supposed to be covert, but at the same time, it almost felt like that if she were killed in action, she would end up being disavowed and treated like she was some kind of mercenary.

It's something she was still working on fixing.

“Two coming this way,” Parker whispered.

The group ducked into a dark area of the corridor. Two Orions ran past them, not even glancing in their direction.

'Hrm, I guess it does work,' Rei thought to herself.

Parker and Shelton didn't even pop out of their hiding spot as they shot the pair in the back.


“Captain,” Minako called out.

Ranma took his eyes off the timer counting up that was below the image of the disabled Orion ship on the viewscreen and turned to his chief of operations. “Yes?”

“I am detecting an Orion battleship inbound with about ten interceptors escorting it.”

Ranma sighed. That ship was going to put up a much better fight than the cruiser did. “Time to intercept?”

“Fifteen minutes.”

“Status on away team?” Shampoo asked.

“They have recovered fifty-six hostages, mostly Cardassians,” Minako replied.

“Tell them to step it up,” Ranma ordered.

Jansen nodded.


Kio gritted her teeth as Jansen's voice blasted into her ear at the same time she was dodging incoming disruptor fire.

“Sisko to away-teams. Orion reinforcements will arrive in fifteen minutes, and we cannot guarantee we can prevent them from sending forces to your location. Do your best to complete your task by then.”

Kio shot the last Orion and sighed. “You know, she could have just said 'hurry the fuck up' and it would have conveyed the same message.”

Anthony laughed and nodded as he tagged three prisoners for transport. One of the prisoners, Tarra, looked to the group.

“Who are you people?”

“We're with Starfleet, ma'am,” Kio replied.

She nodded, the looked to one of the Cardassians who was with her. “Will you please let my government know that many brave Cardassians died trying to save us?”

Kio blinked. “I'm sure you will-”

Tarra waved her hands. “I will. But... But it will carry a bit more weight coming from Starfleet.”

The Cardassian patted Tarra on the shoulder and smiled. Kio nodded and smiled a bit. “I will make sure the message gets passed along.”

“That will do wonders for healing the rift between our worlds,” Tarra smiled before the group dematerialized.

“Kio, the diplomat,” Anthony smiled. “Sounds nice.”

Kio shook her head and shot her rifle at Anthony's feet, causing him to jump.

“You heard, Jansen,” Kio said, moving on. “We need to hurry the fuck up.”


“That woman is so long-winded,” Rei groaned, shooting an Orion. “A simple 'hurry the fuck up' would have been fine.”

Shelton and Parker laughed, also shooting an Orion. The group quickly moved towards the cell and opened it, tagging the prisoners, and moving on. The next cell they found was unguarded, which they found strange.

Of course, when they went to check on the prisoners, it was determined to not be strange at all.

“They're dead,” Masters sighed, looking at three dead Cardassians.

“Yuki to Hino,” Kio called to Rei.


“We found a cell with all the prisoners killed. I think they're tired of us freeing them.”

“Same here. Where are you guys?”

“Section B-2”

“Okay, we're almost done then. Hopefully, we saved most of them, then.”

“Roger, See you in the center.”

“’Kay,” Rei sighed and moved her group on. The group soon found themselves confronted by about twenty Orions, once they reached the center of the ship. Rei's team quickly found cover and began to pick them off one by one. It was slow going at first, but it got a lot quicker when Bravo team came in from the back and downed several in the first few seconds.

Eventually, they were all stunned and restrained.

“Hino to Sisko, the ship, excluding the bridge, is clear,” Rei sighed. “Six of the prisoners were executed before we could get to them.”

“Understood. We're confirming there are no more non-Orion life signs on the ship.”

“Do you want us to storm the bridge?” Rei asked.

“There isn't time,” Ranma replied. “Return to the ship.”

“Aye, sir.”


“Is containment up in cargo bay four?” Shampoo asked.

Jansen nodded. “Security has been deployed as well.”

“NEO teams are back on board,” Minako reported.

“Transport all the Orions, except for those on the bridge, to cargo bay four,” Ranma ordered. He then turned to Kaii. “Open a channel to that ship.”

Kaii nodded. “Open.”

“Orion ship. This is Captain Ranma Saotome of the Federation Starship the U.S.S. Benjamin Sisko. I am advising you to abandon ship. You have one minute. I intend on destroying your vessel. If you do not comply, you will die.”

Ranma turned to Kaii and silently ordered him to close the channel. He then turned to Makoto. “Sixty seconds. Then vaporize her.”

Makoto nodded as Ranma walked to operations. “Time till the battleship is in weapons range?”

“Three minutes.”

Ranma nodded.

“Escape pods in the water, Captain,” Makoto reported.

“Beam occupants to brig cells,” Shampoo ordered.

“Aye,” Minako replied.

“Sir,” Kaii spoke up, “the engineers aboard the transport ship report that she's flight worthy again.”

“Instruct them to hold position for now.”

“Kabloooooooooooey!” Makoto cheered as she caused the Orion cruiser to explode into several billion pieces.

“Aye,” Kaii said, chuckling a bit at Makoto's antics.

“Battleship dropping out of warp,” Minako reported.

Ranma nodded and headed down towards his chair as Shampoo walked up behind Ikuhara.

Makoto looked to Jansen who nodded.

None of the crew needed to be told what to do in this situation. This was just another day at the office for them. They all knew their jobs, knew exactly what to do, and knew exactly how to handle themselves.

“Interceptors are pulling ahead, in range in fifteen seconds,” Minako said.

Ranma raised his hand.


Ranma snapped his fingers.

The forward torpedo banks on this Sisko opened up and a full spread of quantum torpedoes jettisoned. The interceptors broke formation in an attempt to dodge the incoming salvo, but greatly underestimated the targeting sensors of the Sisko.

One interceptor broke right and dove down. A torpedo followed it and slammed into it, obliterating it. Most that managed to avoid the wrath of the torpedoes were those who simply flew straight at the Sisko and took their chances that the torpedo could not make a full U-turn and come back at them before running out of fuel.

Their respite was short-lived however as all four of the Sisko's once phase cannons, now upgraded to anti-proton turrets, popped out of the ship, and began to lay waste to the interceptors, turning them into nothing more than flotsam in a single shot.

“I like those much better,” Makoto smiled.

Jansen nodded in agreement.

“Phase cannon probably do same thing,” Shampoo countered.

“Don't rain on my parade, please, Commander,” Makoto groaned.

Ranma smiled. “Time on battleship?”

“One minute,” Minako reported.

Ranma stood and adjusted his uniform slightly. “Guess I have to do this by the book.” He turned to Kaii. “Hail them.”

Kaii hit some buttons. “No response.”

Ranma nodded. “Open a channel then.”

Kaii nodded.

“Orion ship. This is your only warning. Leave, surrender your vessel, or be destroyed. There are no other options.”

The screen popped to life and a large, fat Orion appeared. He glared at Ranma with disdain.

“Return our property and I will leave.”

“I've already destroyed your ships,” Ranma replied.

“You know I am not talking about the ships.”

“The people you kidnapped are not Orion property,” Ranma barked. “As well, the Orions captured will be turned over to the Cardassians to be dealt with in accordance with their laws.”


“Cardassia and the Federation have a cooperative security agreement,” Ranma replied, a bit smug at how much he was irritating the Orion. “I very much do have jurisdiction here.”

“Yes, well, we'll see how much jurisdiction you have when I have you in one of my slave pens!” the Orion laughed before closing the channel.

“How much you think boy who can become girl go for?” Shampoo asked.

Ranma simply glared at her as she bounced back to the helm station.

“Range,” Minako reported.

“Light 'em up,” Ranma dryly ordered as he sat back in his chair.

“Offensive pattern Omega Two,” Shampoo ordered Ikuhara.

The Sisko shot off towards the Orion battleship, Ikuhara taking control of it and overriding some of the pre-programmed flight patterns to avoid some of the incoming disruptor fire. Makoto, meanwhile, has the ship's phaser array hit the ship's shield emitters to knock out the shields, making the vessel's destruction that much easier.

The Sisko shook violently as a full spread of torpedoes from the pirate warship slammed into her. Shampoo was knocked into the helm station, hitting a button; inadvertently sending the Sisko in an oblong barrel roll both to the right and downward which as an interesting side effect, allowed her to avoid a second spread of torpedoes.

“Are you trying to take my job?” Ikuhara asked.

Shampoo grinned as she looked at the main viewer. “Offensive pattern Alpha Six.”

Ikuhara nodded and began the ship's next pass.

“Shields at eighty percent,” Usagi called out.

Makoto continued to pound the Orion shields, having given up on the shield emitters. The direct approach was appearing more effective anyway, as the Sisko was eating through the larger, yet seemingly less powerful ship's defenses.

“Her shields are failing,” Jansen reported.

“Captain,” Kaii called out. “I have two Galor class warships dropping out of warp.”

Ranma nodded. Shampoo smirked. “Better late than never.”

“Uh,” Kaii continued. “They are demanding that we cease-fire as this is an internal Cardassian matter, and they will deal with it.”

Ranma groused and shook his head. “Tell them to make it quick.” He turned to Makoto. “Ceasefire.” He paused for a moment. “If our shields drop below fifty percent or one of those Cardassian ships explodes, don't even ask my permission.”

Makoto nodded and halted her attack.

Shampoo turned to Ikuhara. “Move us away.”

Ikuhara did as he was instructed as the Orion ship turned its attention to the two Cardassian ships. Shampoo looked to Ranma. “It shouldn't be hard for them. We do all hard work.”

Ranma nodded, the frustration obvious on his face as he sat down.

“One of the Cardassian ships has lost shields.”

“Already?” Shampoo asked.

Ranma face-palmed

“Attack pattern-” Shampoo began to bark as she hopped up, but is cut off as both the Orion ship and one of the Cardassian ships exploded.

“Scan for survivors,” Ranma ordered.

“None,” Minako replied.

Ranma sighed. “Hail the surviving Cardassian ship.”

Kaii complied and shortly afterward an incredibly angry Cardassian appeared on the viewscreen.

“Captain,” he nodded.

“I'm Captain Ranma Saotome of the U.S.S. Sisko.”

“I'm Gul Kalval, of the Loral.” He looked at a PADD an underling brought him, sighed, and looked back at the viewscreen. “Please allow me to apologize.”

Ranma raised an eyebrow. “What for?”

“We were coming to assist you, yet for whatever reason, my associate thought it would be better if we were to assume control of this operation.” The Gul sighed and shook his head. “He and his crew paid both for his rudeness and his foolishness.”

Ranma stayed silent.

“Not all Cardassians are happy about having to rely on the Federation to secure our borders.”

“What's your opinion?” Ranma asked.

The Gul shrugged. “Obviously, I would rather we didn't,” he admitted. “That said, I appreciate the fact that the Federation is willing to assist us, despite what we did during the war.”

“Remember the past so we don't make the same mistakes, but look towards the future,” Ranma smiled.

“Indeed,” the Gul smiled back.

“We have a few dozen survivors from the scout ships that were captured by the Orions that we were going to take back to Cardassia Prime to repatriate, but if you'd like to take them, we can return them to you,” Ranma explained.

“We'd be happy to,” the Gul nodded.

“As well,” Ranma continued, “we have-” Ranma turned to tactical.

“Seventy-one,” Makoto smiled.

“Seventy-one Orions who are looking forward to learning how the Cardassian judicial system works.”

The Gul nodded. “I will need to make preparations for that many prisoners, but I would be happy to take them off your hands as well.”

“Not a problem. We're in no hurry.”

The Gul nodded, smiled, and closed the channel.

“Captain,” Minako called out. “Ryouga wants to know if it's okay to come home yet.”

Ranma chuckled. “Yes.”


Rei and Kio walked into the Sisko's main briefing room as the ship warped towards Deep Space Nine. Ranma, Shampoo, Makoto, and JC all sat around the conference table, quietly talking amongst themselves.

Ranma and Shampoo turned towards the door as the two NEO officers walked in. Rei walked towards Ranma, Kio trailing behind her a few meters.

“Captain,” Rei smiled. “Would it be alright if Lieutenant Yuki sat in on this debriefing?”

Ranma leaned back and looked past Rei to the young officer. Kio was standing at full attention, straight enough that you could use her to level a painting if you turned her on her side.

Ranma smiled a bit and nodded. “If you can get her to relax enough to actually sit down, it won't be a problem.”

Rei chuckled slightly and looked to Kio. Kio blushed a bit and walked around the table, having a seat next to JC, and across from Rei.

“I'd like to make sure she understands what Starfleet needs from us,” Rei explained to Ranma, “in case there is ever an issue where I am not able to attend.”

“Isn't that Commander Shelton's job?” Shampoo asked.

Rei nodded a bit. “Technically, yes,” she admitted. “That said, he and I both agree that a team leader would be in a better position to handle the after-action reports.”

Ranma nodded. He looked to Kio, as if to say something, however, Kio was intently studying a PADD. Ranma smiled and turned back to Rei. Rei moved to get her attention, but Ranma waved her off.

“How's your leg?” Ranma asked.

Rei looked to Ranma a bit worriedly. “It's good, sir.”

Ranma noticed the concern on her face. He quickly attempted to ease any worries she had about having her relieved from duty.

“Don't worry, as well as you guys have done over the past month, I am not worried about it. I just want to make sure you're feeling fine.”

Ranma, as lovingly as he could, smiled at Rei. “It's only personal concern. Not professional.”

Rei smiled at Ranma. “I appreciate that.”

Shampoo's eyes ping-ponged at the exchange going past her, being seated between Ranma and Rei. She turned to also reassure Rei that they had no intention of getting rid of her when Ranma's communicator chirped.

“Aino to Saotome,” Minako's voice called out.


“Admiral Saotome on subspace.”

“Send it in, please,” Ranma requested.

The communicator channel closed and Genma appeared on the conference room view screen. The bald Admiral looked the room and smiled in approval. He noted JC, and not Usagi was in attendance, however, he had gotten used to the assistant chief engineer being there, rather than the chief.

He did not mind it.

The one time they had tracked down Usagi for the debriefing he had learned nothing except for the fact that Usagi was unable to answer questions. She could explain things she knew about or was working on, but if you asked her something she was not prepared for... Well, good luck.

He also noticed an extra NEO officer. He recognized her as Second Lieutenant Kio Yuki. He assumed there was a good reason why she was there, and of course, she was already privy to all the information that would be deemed 'classified', so he certainly was not going to make a huff about it.

“Good evening,” Genma smiled.

“Good evening, Admiral,” Ranma smiled back. “Hope all is well in San Francisco?”

Genma nodded. “Another beautiful day. How're things aboard the Sisko?”

Ranma grinned. “Just another day at the office.”

The conference room laughed. Genma chuckled as well. Genma began asking questions to some of the officers about the incident, how it started, how they responded, how the ship handled itself.

Then he turned to Makoto.

“How did that sensor reflecting gear they installed work for you guys?”

Makoto giggled and sat up, pulling out a PADD. “As far as we can tell, the Orion ships didn't see us till we were one-quarter light-year from them.” She smirked and scrolled down on the PADD. “The transport ship didn't see us till we were dropping out of warp.”

Genma smiled brightly. “That's amazing.”

“It was killing our own sensors though, Admiral,” JC piped up. “And I don't just mean making it hard for us to scan. We had to reroute a ton of EPS points to keep from blowing out our own targeting and short-range scanning array.”

Genma frowned sadly. “So, this isn't something you could run constantly?”

JC and Makoto both shook their heads negatively. JC picked up a PADD and examined it quickly. “If we reconfigure the power matrix so it's more isolated, we can run it longer so we can covertly insert like we did today.”

Genma nodded. “See what you can do. I'd hate to lose something that could help you gain an upper hand like that.”

JC nodded and began to take some notes.

“How about,” Genma continued, looking towards Makoto, “the new turrets?”

Makoto nodded enthusiastically. “Oh, my heavens, yes. I love them.”

Genma cleared his throat slightly. “Anti-protons have been known to cause issues with... radiation.”

Ranma sat up and looked sternly towards his father.

“Have there been any reports of any issues near where the turrets have been mounted?”

“Isn't this something you should have mentioned before we left the shipyard?” Ranma growled.

“Your ship has very solid hull plating and it's mostly been with experimental anti-proton rifles,” Genma growled back.

Shampoo shook her head after looking over a PADD. “Sickbay no report any new illness today.”

Genma nodded and looked over some things on his own PADD. “It says here you guys were able to hold 9.98?”

JC nodded. “We managed to adjust the warp bubble tight enough around the ship to get us moving that fast.”

“How long do you think you could have held that speed?”

JC shrugged. “Fifteen minutes, maybe.”

Genma sighed. “You're headed to DS9 now?”

Ranma nodded.

“What would be your ETA to Calder IV?”

Shampoo punched it into her PADD. “Three and a half day at warp 9.2.”

Genma groaned.

“Problem?” Ranma asked.

Genma nodded. “Yes, but it won't be yours.”

The group all looked at each other with concern before Genma turned back to them.

“Well, good work. Grab some rest on DS9 for a bit, and I am sure I will be back in contact with you soon.”

Ranma nodded, smiled at his father before the channel was closed.

“What you think going on?” Shampoo asked.

Ranma shrugged as he stood. He looked to JC and groaned. “Please add additional hull plating around the turrets.”

JC nodded. “I will get someone right on that.”

Ranma smiled, nodded, and turned to Rei and Kio. “Excellent work, again, ladies.”

Kio smiled and nodded thanks as Rei stood. “Just another day at the office.”