Chapter 4 - Drama

Kio shot up in the bed and looked around. She was not quite sure when she had fallen asleep, and she had no clue at what time it was now. The first thing that came to her attention was the obvious fact that she was indeed still in Rei's bed.

At least, to a surprisingly slight disappointment, Rei was no longer in the bed with her. Kio looked to her wrist to check her watch-slash-tricorder that she usually wore, only to find that she must have taken it off when she showered.

She looked around a bit more and saw a clock above one of the doors in Rei's quarters.


She dropped back down in the bed. She was not late for work yet. Even if she were, she wasn't sure that Rei would have any justification for punishing her for it, considering that she didn't bother to wake her up.

Not to mention it was her fault that Kio could not fall asleep for most of the night.

Kio slid out of the bed and looked around a bit as she got dressed.


The lack of an answer confused her a bit. It wasn’t as if she minded, as it would make her departure slightly less awkward, but a tiny part of her felt slighted that she wasn't here to see her off.

Kio felt very conflicted and confused.

There was the other issue as well.

“Computer,” Kio called out, “where is Sergeant Anthony Schaefer?”

“Sergeant Anthony Schaefer is in crew quarters B-17,” the computer responded.

“His quarters,” Kio nodded approvingly. She headed towards the door, not bothering to pull her hair back into her normal ponytail. The doors opened and she peaked out, looking up and down the corridor, making sure none of the other officers were around. Once she was sure it was clear, she sprinted towards the turbolift and hit the call button.

The lift eventually arrived, and Kio scooted into it.

“Deck B,” she ordered. The lift quickly jetted down one deck and softly came to a stop. The doors slid open with a hiss, revealing what she most dread in front of her. Kio now found herself face to face with Anthony, dressed in workout clothes.

The pair stared at each other for a moment before Anthony broke the silence.

“Hey,” he grinned.

“Yo,” Kio replied.

“I was just headed down to the gym,” Anthony said. “Do you...”

Kio's eyes looked at him.

“…want to come?”

Kio quickly walked past him, nudging him into the lift as she did. “I'll be down there in a few minutes. I need to change.”

Anthony silently nodded, a million thoughts going through his head. Not even one of them he dared say out loud, at least not until he was sure the lift doors were nearly closed.

Kio quickly sprinted away towards her quarters before he had the chance, however.

“Deck C,” he sighed as he watched her round a corner.


About ten minutes had passed before Kio walked into the NSO gym. It was a small gym, designed to only be used by a total of twenty or so people, and certainly not all of them at the same time. There were pretty much two of each piece of equipment, including Kio's favorite, the treadmill.

Kio noticed Anthony on one of them. She knew he wanted to talk. The pair have had many conversations while running. Conversations about everything from work to very, very personal matters.

Kio brushed one of the strands of her hair, most of it she had gotten tied back into her middle-of-her-back lengthwise ponytail, out of her face, and moved towards the second treadmill. She activated it, setting it to match the speed Anthony had his set at and jumped on.

The pair ran in silence for a couple of minutes before Kio looked towards him.

“You're being quiet,” she noted.

“I assume if there is something you want to tell me, you will,” Anthony replied, keeping his eyes straight ahead.

Kio frowned. “What does that mean?”

Anthony shrugged.

Kio's eyes moved back to him. “There's really no need to be a passive-aggressive dick, Anthony.”

Anthony laughed derisively. “I'm sorry, Lieutenant.”

Kio grumbled, shut off the treadmill, and turned towards the door.

Anthony kept running for a moment before calling after her. “What are you doing?”

“I'm going back to my quarters,” she called back.

“No,” Anthony called again. “I mean, 'what are you doing?'.”

Kio turned around and walked back to her treadmill. She stood on it and looked to Anthony. “I don't know.”

“Obviously,” he said, turning up the speed on the treadmill. “After everything, you're going to let her get close to you.” Anthony shook his head and scoffed. “Then when whatever drug she's on right now wears off and she's back to normal you're going to be a mess again because someone else has left you alone.”

Kio growled at Anthony.

“I'm not talking about Nik, that wasn't his fault,” Anthony said, trying to cool Kio down a bit, “but hasn't that always been what's happened?”

Kio wanted to respond but couldn't.

“Seems like the only one who has been there for you constantly has been me, and you're the one who put the wall up between us.”

“Is that what this is about?” Kio asked.

Anthony shook his head. “No.” He then shrugged slightly. “I'm not going to lie and say I wouldn't you rather still be an NCO...”

“Why don't you become an officer?” Kio asked.

Anthony laughed. “Please, you'd be the first to acknowledge how dumb I am.”

Kio didn't respond to that statement.

Anthony turned the speed up on the treadmill more. “My point is that you are letting your guard down way too much. She's got some kind of spell over you, and because I care about you as much as I do it concerns me because I don't want to see you hurt again.”

Kio shook her head at his preposterous statement. “I told you before what was going on. Why things have changed between us.”

“Hm,” he mumbled. “That's why you're spending the night there now?” he asked. “Did you at least have fun?”

Anthony regretted saying it the moment the words came out of his mouth. Kio added an extra layer of regret when she stuck her leg out, tripping him, causing the very fast-moving treadmill to send him flying several meters across the gym and into some resistance equipment.

Anthony slowly sat up and rubbed his head as Kio walked over to him. A look of fright grew on his face as Kio appeared to be glowing red.

“I'm going to tell you this one more time and one more time only,” Kio stated, dropping to one knee, and looking Anthony dead in his eyes. “I am not a lesbian. I am not attracted to Commander Hino, and I have not, am not, and will not be having sexual relations with her or any other woman.”

The anger in Kio's eyes faded a bit as she continued. “I don't know exactly what is wrong with her, but if I'm the only one she feels comfortable being 'friends' with, then I will do it, especially if it makes mine, hers, and all our lives better.”

“I just don't want you hurt,” Anthony said again.

Kio took one of Anthony's hands. “I appreciate that.” She smiled slightly as she stood and helped Anthony up. “I think, however, that I've grown enough that I can take a little rejection from her.”

Anthony smirked and started to speak, but Kio cut him off.

“No,” she said, scowling at him. “Keep that stuff in that filthy head of yours.”

Anthony blinked. “What, are you Betazoid now too?”

Kio shook her head and released Anthony's hand as she began to clean up the mess that was made. “You don't need to be to know what you're thinking.”

Anthony laughed as he went to help Kio.

Minako plopped down into the booth table next to the observation window in the lounge with a long, heavy sigh. Makoto, Rei, and Jansen, who were already there, looked to her with a bit of concern as she ordered an alcoholic drink, something that was rather out of character for her to do unless it was either a special occasion.

“Everything okay?” Rei asked.

“Just one of those days,” Minako said, crossing her legs and leaning back.

“How bad could it be?” Jansen asked, chuckling a bit. “We're tethered to a station.”

Minako shot her a look that seemed to tell her exactly how bad it could be.

“What's wrong?” Makoto asked, trying to deflect some of Minako's ire away from her tactical assistant.

Minako looked around a bit before speaking. “I love Usagi as much as anyone else, but I am glad Lt. Devall is coming back to work tomorrow,” she said, sighing again.

“Oh?” Rei asked, seeking clarification.

“Since we are docked,” Minako explained, “we're running a lot of diagnostics and maintenance programs. Devall was good at making sure none of them conflicted with each other,” Minako shook her head a bit. “Usagi, not so much.”

Minako took her drink from the waitress who had returned and nearly downed it in a single gulp. The waitress eyed her before acknowledging Minako's unspoken request to bring another one and walked off.

“Usagi, not so much,” Minako repeated.

Makoto simply made a noise of indifference, not really wishing to discuss the situation as she had nothing nice to say about the Sisko's assistant chief engineer. Rei slowly nodded to Minako as she spoke.

“Well, she needs to learn not to rely on him so much, especially now that she's learned what kind of person he really is.”

Minako shrugged a bit. “I guess.”

Makoto considered speaking up, however, Gosnell walking over to them and sitting down next to her stopped her.

“Sorry everything is taking so long today,” he said. “For some reason, the replicators are taking like thirty seconds to respond to requests.”

“Yeah, we had to do a lot of power diverting today,” Minako said, taking her newest drink from the waitress. “Not everything is back to normal yet.”

“Ah,” Gosnell said, leaning back.

The group looked to the doors as Shampoo walked in with, surprisingly, Akane right behind her. The pair both stopped at the bar, ordered a couple of drinks, and moved headed towards the booth, joining the rest of the bridge crew.

“Commanders,” the already seated group greeted.

Akane smiled at them. “I hope you don't mind me joining you,” she said. “Ranma is busy, and I was bored and Shampoo asked me to come along.”

Amanda smiled at Shampoo. “How nice,” she said.

Akane grinned as the group all shook their heads.

“You're always welcome, Commander,” Rei smiled.

The group chatted and drank for a while, Makoto occasionally sending her husband for more drinks, usually against his will. The group expanded to include Lt. Kaii, Lt. Jeff Fuchs, and Ryouga eventually.

“So,” Makoto turned to Akane, “since you're likely privy to information that scrubs like us aren't, do you know why we're getting a personal visit from Admiral Saotome?”

Akane laughed loudly. “Scrubs?” She laughed a bit more before shaking her head. “No, I don't have a clue. I don't even think Ranma knows honestly.”

“That's got to be worrisome,” Jeff noted. “Random admiral visits.”

“When it's his father, it's probably more annoying than worrisome,” Akane smirked.

“You know when he'll be here?” Ryouga asked.

“Tomorrow evening,” Shampoo answered.

“Guess I better clean my room,” Kaii said, chuckling.

The table laughed... till the lights went out and were replaced by the blue emergency lighting.

They all looked around. Shampoo quickly stood up, but the panicked look on her face was quickly replaced with cautious relief when the normal lighting switched back on.

No alarm klaxons sounded, and no warnings were issued over the ship's intercom. Shampoo slowly hit her communicator as she returned to her seat.

“Shampoo to bridge.”

“Hey Shampoo,” Ranma replied.

“Everything okay?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Ranma stated, the annoyance in his voice quite apparent to everyone at the table. “Engineering is just trying to get the EPS system lined back up properly and that was not quite the way to go.”

Shampoo bit her lip. “You need any of us?”

“No,” Ranma replied. “They have it under control but thank you for the concern. Enjoy your evening.”

“'Kay,” Shampoo said, closing the channel.

Minako looked to Shampoo who was thinking the exact same thing she was.

Usagi was on the verge of tears. She was now fourteen hours into her day, and at the rate, things were going, she did not think she'd get out of there for another fourteen.

It was not that she was just wanting to go home, it was that she was growing pretty pissed off too. She was realizing that she did in fact understand a great deal of the systems in engineering. Her three years on the ship had taught her a lot. Her work had taught her a lot.

JC had taught her a lot.

She was not incompetent, despite how this day was going to make it look.

She, however, was not grasping the full understanding of how all the systems functioned together.

As JC had said before, she was the Chief Engineer, even though in reality, she wasn't ready to be the Chief Engineer.

She certainly was not going to ever disagree with that statement again.

Nothing anyone was doing was done wrong. Everything was done properly. Nothing would explode. Nothing would not function. Nothing would cause the ship to fly upside down or transwarp them into a planet.

But there was an order that everything had to be done in.

Usagi, and in large part, many of the other engineers, didn't know that order, nor were they aware of what the other engineers were working on, so they would do one task that conflicted with another task.

So, the computer would reroute power and EPS junctions and computer resources to deal with what was going on and now they essentially had the internal bits and pieces of the Sisko tangled in a knot.

And now they had to untangle it.

Usagi had asked Ranma to bring JC off his suspension early. At first, Ranma refused, but after Minako also asked, they attempted to contact him. However once again, JC had opted to spend his mandatory time off aboard DS9 and either did not take his communicator with him or was refusing to answer it.

Ranma decline to send security or ask station security to find him.

Not that it mattered anyway considering JC was in no shape to work.

The lights shutting off in engineering was the final straw. Usagi dropped to the floor and started crying.

“I CAN'T DO THIS!” she wailed.

Several of the engineers, once they managed to undo what they did and restore main power a few seconds later, simply stared at her. However, one of them, an enlisted Andorian female, walked to Usagi and dropped to her knees next to her, placing her arm around her.

“Of course you can, Commander,” she said.

“Fourteen hours!” Usagi cried. “We shouldn't still be trying to...” she trailed off and looked to the enlisted crewman and sniffled. “I've been a failure since I got here.”

“I disagree.”

Usagi scoffed. “I was put here as a joke,” Usagi wiped the tears out of her eyes and sniffled a bit more. “If it wasn't for JC...”

“Look, Commander,” the enlistee said, quietly, tightening her hold on Usagi, “I've been on board this ship since she left space dock three years ago. I came on board with you. I've seen you grow as an engineer and as a manager.”

Usagi turned and looked at her for a moment before shaking her head angrily.

“I'm not a manager.”

“Sure you are,” she smiled. “A manager is someone who motivates and someone who has leadership abilities. As your subordinate, I believe you motivate me and do great in the leadership department.”

Usagi again looked to the Andorian woman, rolling her eyes in the process. “Today was a fiasco.”

The enlistee shrugged. “Indeed, it was. And we'll learn from it and do better next time.”

Usagi bit her lip and inhaled a couple of times before slowly standing back up. She looked to the room and her group of about fifteen engineers who were waiting for instructions.

“What still needs to be fixed?” Usagi asked.

“Coil alignment subsystem power is still routed through emergency force fields for some reason,” a Vulcan lieutenant who was the third in command of engineering reported. “Deflector systems are routed into...” she blinked, “the turbolifts. The computer core is running at 72 percent as power from it is being routed into sensors for its diagnostic.”

She turned to Usagi. “That looks like all of it.”

Usagi thought about things for a moment. “Seems like the logical step would be to get the computer core back up to 100 percent, as that would seemingly make the following two reroutes run smoother.”

The third nodded and began to bark at engineers. The Andorian engineer began to walk off, but Usagi grabbed her arm, stopping her.

“Thank you,” Usagi smiled.

She smiled back at Usagi and nodded. “Faith and confidence can be just as powerful as knowledge.”

Usagi grinned a bit. “We'll see.”

The enlistee continued to smile as she ran off to get to work.

“DABO!!” a group of people yelled. JC fist-bumped a very scantily clad woman next to him as the Dabo girl placed a large stack of gold-pressed latinum in front of him.

He quickly scooped it up and headed towards the bar, the scantily clad Bajoran in tow. The pair sat down, and JC ordered two Spring Wines, making sure he tipped the Ferengi bartender well.

“So,” the Bajoran woman asked, “what do you do?”

JC took a big drink and turned to her. “I'm an engineer.”

The woman, who took more dainty drinks, grinned. “Oh? What kind?”

“Warp engine kind,” JC said, drinking more. “Starfleet.”

“I see,” she said, starting to wonder if she was wasting her time as Starfleet folks don't usually partake in the kind of services that she offers. “I thought you folks wear your uniforms even when off duty.”

JC slammed his drink and ordered another one before turning to her. “I'm on suspension.”

A bad officer. Her prospects were looking up.

“That's a shame. You seem like a good guy, why would they suspend you?”

JC grumbled. “Why indeed?”

The Bajoran looked at JC as he downed another glass of wine before she cleared her throat. “Um, so, would you be interested in going to a holosuite with me?”

JC swiveled in his chair and turned to her. He looked her up and down a couple of times, his eyes following the outline of her very short dress that barely covered her very well-endowed body.

“Yes. Yes, I would,” he stated before turning back to the bar. “But I can't.”

She looked at him, disappointed. “It isn't against the rules if you're on suspension,” she said, her hand moving to his leg.

JC's eyes moved down towards her hand before shaking his head. “It's not that,” he snarled. “In fact, I'm pretty fucking close to not even bothering returning to the ship at all. I am married though...”

The Bajoran thought about this for a minute. “That sucks.”

JC turned and looked at her, an inquisitive grin on his face.

She slid off the chair and kissed him on the lips, allowing the kiss to linger for just a moment. “I'm not even sure I would have charged you,” she said, walking away and heading back towards the Dabo table.

JC's eyes followed her as a smug grin spread across his face.

“Oh, if Lana could see this,” a voice said from behind him.

JC quickly spun around – almost too quickly - to see Kaii standing there. The grin quickly faded to a growl.

“What do you want?”

Kaii frowned. “I wanted to check on you.”


Kaii sat on the stool next to JC before turning to him. “You're my best friend, moron. I just want to make sure you're not killing yourself over something stupid.”

JC turned to Kaii. “She's ruined my career. I wouldn't call that 'something stupid'.”

“'Ruined your career' is a bit melodramatic, don't you think?”

“Do you think I am going to get a C-E position now with THIS on my record?” JC asked.

Kaii shrugged. JC began to mumble profanities, but Kaii cut him off. “JC, when you decide to go somewhere else, you're going to get enough recommendations from the people on the Sisko that this is going to be nothing more than a footnote.”

JC just continued to mumble. Kaii sighed before resuming. “If nothing else, today alone has proven how much you are worth to this ship. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if you're not made C-E of the Sisko in the next 48 hours.”

JC blinked and turned to Kaii. “Why? What happened today?”

Kaii handed JC a PADD. JC began to skim over it, chuckling as he did so.

“And that's just what happened while I was on duty,” Kaii added. “We had a power failure about an hour ago and I was stuck in a turbolift for about three minutes on my way here.”

JC began to laugh more as he read. “This is beautiful.”

Kaii blinked. “What?”

JC tossed the PADD back to Kaii. “She's going to burn me, fine.”

Kaii looked to JC with concern. “What are you going to do?”

JC took a sip of his drink. “Just my job, man.”

Kaii continued to look at JC with concern.

“Just my job,” JC repeated.