The Sisko was rapidly approaching their destination; Starbase 1-1-3. Jitsia didn't really think this was a good time for her to be playing around with Admiral Saotome, nor did she really want to spend any more time with him than she absolutely had to.
They would be there in eleven hours, and while she still wanted to get some sleep, she wanted to spend as much of that time as possible drilling with the Sisko's NSO teams.
Rei was allowing her to come along on the mission, assigned to Alpha team. Making her angry was something she really didn't want to do, given that despite some early – uncomfortableness – between the two of them, they seemed to be connecting.
Now, the NSO teams were sleeping, and Jitsia had agreed to do this, for the Captain.
She just didn't know how she was going to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.
The young blonde pushed the call button on the turbolift on A deck of the NSO control center. Before she could even blink, however, the doors slid open, revealing Genma.
“Oh, Admiral,” she stated, startled.
“Commander,” he smiled, sheepishly. “I was wondering if we could talk for a moment?”
Jitsia nodded and quickly formulated a plan in her head. “Sure. I- I was just on my way down to the holodeck to exercise. Would you mind coming with me?”
Genma shook his head and moved aside so Jitsia could join him in the turbolift.
“Deck C,” Jitsia ordered.
The ride was quick and within a few seconds, the pair found themselves out of the lift and walking down the dimly lit deck C corridors.
“Um,” Genma said as he followed a few steps behind the tank top and short pants clad commander, “I need to apologize to you.”
“What for?” Jitsia asked as she stopped at the holodeck doors and entered in some commands, the keystrokes making a distinctive beeping noise with each press.
“Well,” Genma continued, frustrated by his own shyness. “I may have acted a bit inappropriate since you've come on board.”
The holodeck doors opened and Jitsia stepped in and motioned for Genma to follow her. Inside was a mockup of a dojo, eerily like the Tendo Dojo. Genma blinked when he saw this, though noticed most of the wall decorations and scrolls had what he assumed was Jitsia's native language on them.
Jitsia looked to Genma and shrugged before she removed her running shoes. “It's okay,” she said. “It happens a lot. I'm kind of used to it now.”
Jitsia plopped down onto the floor and began to do her pre-workout stretches as Genma sighed.
“You don't understand,” he said. “I'm not attracted to you, Com-, Jitsia.” She stretched out a bit more before looking at him, a bit grumpily. This wasn't missed by Genma.
“I- I- I'm not saying you're not very, very pretty,” he quickly stammered as Jitsia stood up, smirking a bit as Genma flailed his arms.
“Computer,” Jitsia ordered the holodeck, “one enemy, difficulty setting seven.”
A holographic Trill appeared on the other side of the dojo, bowed to her, then attacked.
Genma had a seat and watched Jitsia handily flatten the opponent. It disappeared, Jitsia not having even broken a sweat. Genma looked to her, beaming.
“I used to train Ranma. We'd spar, he'd always lose, but he'd constantly get better and better. I knew someday that he'd be better than me.” Genma sighed as he looked at his hands, frustrated at the age they were beginning to show. “It was inevitable.”
Jitsia looked to Genma. “I can teach you some moves that will allow you to defeat him still.”
Genma shook his head and leaned back, his mind seemingly wandering around in the past.
Jitsia watched Genma for a moment, expecting him to say something, before calling out to the holodeck again. “Computer, two enemies, difficulty level nine.”
Two Trills appeared; one male, one female. They bowed to her before attacking. One of them pulled out a knife, which Jitsia managed to avoid by inches. It took her a few seconds, but finally, she managed to kill the female. She then began to focus on the male.
“I just miss those days so much,” Genma started up again, still looking off into nowhere, “and you're so much like him – I guess I... I was trying to make you the son I don't have anymore.”
Jitsia turned towards Genma upon hearing his admission. The remaining Trill hologram took this as an open invitation and clocked Jitsia upside the head, knocking her to the ground. He pulled out a knife of his own and tried to shank her, but she quickly rolled out of the way.
Genma, realizing what he did, was snapped out of his reminiscing. He quickly hopped up and flew across the dojo, placing a flying leg kick to the face of the holographic, breaking its neck. However, being an office drone for as long as he had been had gotten him out of practice and Genma landed on the thinly padded floor flat on his back with a loud thud.
“Ow, my back...” he whined.
Jitsia ran over to Genma and dropped down next to him. “Admiral? Are you alright? Do you need to go to sickbay?”
Genma shook his head as he sat up. “No,” he probably lied. Jitsia helped him sit up before looking at him.
“I didn't mean for anything to interfere with your job,” Genma said, sighing. “And I really didn't mean to come across as some perverted old man infatuated by someone half his age.”
Jitsia knew it was probably closer to a third his age, but despite that, she gave Genma a smile that completely made him forget about the excruciating pain in his lower back. She took his hand and squeezed it as she spoke.
“My father was in Starfleet. He died in the Dominion war.”
“I'm sorry,” Genma replied quietly.
“Don't be,” Jitsia continued, still smiling. “I'm very, very proud of him for what he did for Trill and the Federation. That said, any time you want to offer me any fatherly advice, I'll be happy to take it, seeing as I now have no source for it.”
Genma had to do everything he could to not cry as Jitsia leaned in and gave him a hug. He hugged her back, then actually did begin to cry a bit.
“Maybe I should go to sickbay,” he sniffled.
ONE HOUR LATER; TEN FROM STARBASE 1-1-3.
Genma, followed by Jitsia walked casually down the corridor towards the Sisko's aft shuttle bay. Genma knew he'd have to make this quick, as the Sisko was going to have to drop out of warp for him to leave.
Departing at their destination was always an option, but now it seemed like it would be better for him to leave as soon as possible. As well, Lt. Commander Devall seemed anxious to get off the ship as well.
The pair rounded a corridor to see Ranma and Makoto standing in front of the shuttle bay doors. Makoto had a worrisome look on her face, which of course worried the Admiral.
No, scratch that. It was a look of dread.
“Hello, father,” Ranma dryly stated.
Jitsia's eyes went wide. She'd forgotten to tell Ranma that what he thought Genma's problem wasn't really his problem, so she'd didn't bother teaching him any of the Krav Maga moves.
She understood that they were both skilled martial artists, but Genma was older than Ranma, as well, sickbay doped him up pretty well to take care of his back pain.
“Uh, Captain-” Jitsia tried to call out, but Ranma interrupted her.
“I challenge you, Genma Saotome!” Ranma said, taking off his jacket and handing it to Makoto. He then took off his red turtleneck and handed that to her as well. Genma blinked a couple of times before setting down his suitcase and taking off his jacket and handing it to Jitsia.
“What is this about, boy?” he asked.
“Can't one martial artist simply challenge another to determine which one is better?” Ranma asked, cracking his knuckles.
Genma rolled his eyes. “I think we already know the answer to that,” he smugly grinned. “I taught you, therefore I am.”
Ranma laughed derisively as he narrowed his gaze. “The student always exceeds the master at some point.” He paused for a moment, then smirked. “Well, except in your case.”
Genma glared at Ranma. Any level of restraint he was going to show his son was now thrown out the airlock.
“Bring it, boy,” Genma nodded as he waggled his finger, daring Ranma to attack.
A gray and black blur is all Genma could see as Ranma charged at him. However, Genma was no slouch and despite his advanced age, he still knew all of Ranma's moves and managed to evade his initial attacks and eventually saw the opening he needed to place a fist into Ranma's midsection.
Ranma coughed as he backed up, looking his father over. He would have expected him to use his new tricks by now and have ended this fight. He also wouldn't have expected that hit to have been so hard.
He also hated how low the ceiling was. Mid-air combat was the specialty of their school, but that was quite impossible given that if you jumped more than a meter in the air, you'd slam into the bulkhead above you.
Ranma pushed in again, this time using his chestnut fist. Again, Genma evaded the attack, back-pedaling. Genma quickly swept with his feet, knocking Ranma to the deck. Ranma quickly rolled to evade a knee strike before hopping up and again charging at his father.
The pair fought back and forth, Ranma seemingly showing less and less restraint with his attacks as he realized that his father was hitting him with full force.
Finally, Ranma managed to get behind his father and in a simple attempt to kick him away, kicked him in the back.
Genma's eyes went wide as tears began to pour out. Ranma turned, ready to attack again when he noticed his father, laying on the ground in the fetal position.
Jitsia quickly ran over to Genma to check on him.
“ADMIRAL!” she yelped.
Ranma looked down at his father. “Pop?”
Genma whimpered. “Ow, my back...”
Jitsia quickly pulled a hypospray of pain killers that sickbay had given Genma to take with him out of his bag and injected him with it. After a few seconds, Genma smiled happily.
“I- I didn't kick him that hard,” Ranma stammered, squatting down, looking at his father.
“He injured himself earlier,” Jitsia explained.
“Are you okay?” Ranma said, touching Genma's shoulder.
“BRIG!” Genma yelled to Makoto.
“Sir?” Makoto asked.
“ONE HOUR!” Genma scowled as he stood. “Put the Captain in the brig for one hour!”
“WHAT?” Ranma exclaimed. “I- I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING!”
“You attacked a flag officer,” Genma smugly stated, putting his jacket back on. “That's actually a court-martialable offense, but I'm fond of you, Captain Saotome, so I am willing to let it go with simply an hour in the brig.”
Ranma could just stare at Genma as the Admiral gave his son a hug. He then looked to Makoto. “The sooner you take him, the sooner he'll be out.”
Jitsia gritted her teeth as Genma walked towards the shuttle bay. Makoto looked to Genma, then to Ranma. She bit her lip, then sighed.
Ranma sighed heavily before nodding and walking with Makoto. “You better at least give me the big cell.”
Usagi was proud of herself. She was not just on time, but three whole minutes early for work.
Now only if she had something to do.
Everything was running smoothly. So smoothly in fact that they had the warp engines up to 9.83, well above normal cruising speed, and from the way it was looking, they could keep that speed well longer than they would need to.
Usagi started to walk to her office when she noticed something was amiss. The lights were on in the assistant chief engineer's office and there was someone in there, but it was not who it was supposed to be.
“Lt. T'Sean?” Usagi asked the female Vulcan who was sitting behind the desk, looking over a PADD, drinking what she assumed was some weird Vulcan tea.
“Why are you in JC's office?”
T'Sean looked to Usagi strangely. It was a look Usagi was getting used to lately, but coming from the emotionless Vulcan, it was a little out-of-place.
“Did no one bother telling you?” she asked.
“Tell me what?” Usagi asked, frustrated.
“That's illogical,” T'Sean stated the obvious. “Lt. Devall is being transferred. They assigned me as assistant chief engineer.”
“WHAT?” Usagi screeched, frightening the Vulcan engineer.
Before T'Sean could say anything else, Usagi was back in her office, pulling up JC's record.
“Lieutenant Commander?” Usagi blinked, looking at it and seeing that JC had received a promotion. She grew frustrated that the record would not tell her where he was going, or even that he served on the Sisko.
“Dammit,” she swore, standing again. “Computer, where is JC Devall?”
“Lieutenant Commander JC Devall is in shuttle bay two.”
“He can't be leaving now,” Usagi said to herself. “We're at warp.”
Her eyes moved to the warp core as the ship dropped out of warp. The rapidly flowing, almost hypnotic plasma mix changing to a smoother, cooling mix.
“Oh no,” she whimpered as she ran full steam out of engineering, knocking over a couple of engineers in the process.
Genma tossed his luggage into his runabout, smiling. He was pleased that JC had already performed pre-flight on the craft and had it ready to leave.
“I'll be happy to pilot, Admiral,” JC said. “It's the least I could do for you helping me out.”
Genma rubbed his back a bit and nodded. “I'd appreciate that, at least for a while.”
Genma climbed into the U.S.S. Panda Express as JC made one more pass of the ship. He looked up into the large window where landing control was, where he saw both the landing control officer and for some reason, Rei standing there.
He gave Rei a look, then began moving towards the door of the runabout.
“JC!” Usagi screamed as she bolted into the shuttle bay and slid to a halt just before she would have face-planted into the front of Genma's ship.
JC turned and looked to Usagi who was totally out of breath from having run the entire way as fast as she possibly could.
Rei watched the exchange curiously. “Can you make it so we can hear them?” she asked the LC officer.
Rei gave the enlisted officer her patented 'do you really want to have this conversation' look. Rather than worry how an ethical argument over eavesdropping with Rei would end, and thus proving the look was still quite effective, the LC officer punched some buttons and made it so Rei could overhear JC and Usagi's conversation.
“I was hoping to leave before you'd notice I was gone,” JC admitted.
“Why are you doing this?” Usagi asked, starting to cry.
JC turned away. “It doesn't matter.”
“To me it does!”
JC sighed, turned towards landing control for a moment, then looked to Usagi. “You have friends that really love you. You are a very, very lucky person.”
“What...” Usagi stammered. “What do you mean-”
“I am sorry for what I did,” JC continued, ignoring her follow-up question. “And I am sorry that I hurt you afterward.” He sighed and continued. “I still feel a bit... betrayed... by you going to the Captain over it, but I overreacted with the way I treated you.”
JC sighed and shook his head. “I was stupid.”
Usagi moved closer to JC. “Early in my life I dealt with a lot of people who would use violence to obtain power,” she explained quietly. “Something in me from back then clicked and...” Usagi cried a bit more as JC grabbed a hold of her. “...I knew that's not what you were doing, I know you're not like that, but I didn't even put those two things together until like a day later.”
She looked up to JC who was wiping the tears out of her eyes. “I'm so sorry.”
JC ran his hand through her hair. “As you said before, Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum, right? Both of us make mistakes?”
Usagi laughed a bit and nodded. JC held her close for a moment more before leaning down, closing his eyes, and kissing her. Usagi did not resist, and for her part, attempted to get JC to move his hands lower on her body.
JC pulled his head away from her and smiled. “Seven years earlier,” he sighed, moving his hand slowly across Usagi's face. “But fate is what it is.”
Usagi looked to JC for a moment before squeezing his other hand. “I'll miss you.”
“I'm going to miss you too,” he replied. “But I've taught Kaii to be just like me, so you can go and pester him.”
Usagi laughed. The pair hugged one more time, the hug lasting longer than it probably should have before Usagi finally turned to walk away. She paused just inside of the shuttle bay exit, inhaled deeply as she heard the engines on the small craft power-up, then walked into the corridor.
Rei watched Usagi walk away, then watched JC board the runabout. As it departed, Makoto walked into landing control.
“Yo,” she said to Rei.
Rei looked at her, wiping a couple of tears from her eyes.
“What's wrong?” Makoto asked as the runabout left the shuttle bay.
“We made a huge mistake,” Rei said, walking out of landing control.
Makoto quickly chased her out of the room. “We did? What are you talking about?”
“With Usagi and Devall.”
Makoto stopped. “How can you say that? We can't just let-”
Rei spun around. “She's an adult. She can take care of herself.”
“We are her guardians,” Makoto countered. “It's our duty to protect her.”
Rei sighed, turned, and resumed walking. “That was a different time, a different life and you know it.”
“Is that the justification you gave yourself when you stole her fiancé?” Makoto asked.
Rei stopped and started to steam. “Is that better or worse than torturing her for latinum?”
Makoto fumed for a second before she charged at Rei, knocking her down from behind. The two women began pounding on each other for thirty seconds or so.
Jitsia, who was jogging through the decks, rounded a corner and saw the melee. She quickly sprinted over to the two and attempted to intervene.
“BREAK IT UP!” she ordered.
Neither of them listened to her. She eventually got Makoto into a headlock and started to pull her away. Rei tried to take advantage of this, but Jitsia quickly used Makoto's phaser and pointed it at Rei.
“CALM DOWN!” she ordered, making Rei back off. Once she was sure Rei was calm and Makoto wasn't going to attack, she let Makoto go and returned the phaser to her.
“I thought you two were friends?” she asked.
“I thought so too,” Rei grumbled.
Makoto scowled at Rei before looking at Jitsia. “This isn't any of your business.”
“Don't speak to her like that,” Rei growled.
“Sorry, sorry!” Makoto scoffed. “I didn't realize you two were home girls now.”
Jitsia sighed as Rei wiped a small amount of blood off her face. Rei gave Makoto, who was also bleeding slightly, a look of disgust, before turning away.
“I'm going to apologize to Usagi,” Rei stated. “If you're any kind of friend to her, you will too.”
“Apologize for what?” Usagi asked from behind Jitsia.
The blonde engineer's sudden appearance sent Jitsia jumping forward a couple of meters with a very uncharacteristic scream exiting her lungs and echoing through the corridor. Once Jitsia was settled again, she grabbed her chest and laughed slightly while patting Usagi on the shoulder.
“Getting me back for the lounge, huh?”
Usagi smiled. “Sorry, Sia.”
Jitsia simply continued to smile at Usagi as Usagi looked Makoto over. Makoto was doing her best to straighten out her uniform and stop her nose from bleeding. Rei also was attempting to hide the cut on her face.
“Were you two fighting?” Usagi asked.
Makoto moved her eyes towards Usagi. “What are you doing here?” she quietly asked.
“I wasn't really in the mood to go back to work and wanted to see if Sia was free to go to the lounge, so I tracked her down,” Usagi explained. Her gaze shifted between Makoto and Rei a couple of times before again confronting them. “Were you fighting?”
Rei meekly nodded as Makoto sighed.
“We had a disagreement,” Makoto said.
Jitsia was a bit surprised at how – respectful - the pair seemed to get around Usagi. Despite teasing her in the lounge, now they both seemed ashamed to be admonished by her.
It was a very strange sight to see.
“I should go,” Jitsia softly stated, moving past Usagi.
Usagi grabbed her arm and shook her head. “Please, wait for a minute.”
“Uh, this is personal stuff,” Jitsia said, trying to pull away, but unable to; Usagi's grip on her arm was shockingly strong.
To further halt Jitsia's egress, Usagi gave Jitsia a look that managed to freeze her in her tracks. Certain now that her new friend wasn't going anywhere, Usagi let go of Jitsia and walked over to Rei.
“What do you need to apologize for?”
Rei looked to Makoto, who was no longer looking at her angrily, but rather sadly, then turned to Usagi.
“For so long, we've been together, right?” Rei asked.
“Friends, yeah?” Rei added.
Usagi nodded again.
“But more than that,” she continued. “Guardians, with a duty to protect you.”
Usagi nodded a bit more slowly this time.
Rei bit on her lip as she had trouble finding the words to say to Usagi. Not really because she didn't know what to say, but because she really didn't want to say it.
“I...” she looked to Makoto. “We needed to make sure you wouldn't be hurt anymore and...”
Rei felt a tear drop out of her eye. Usagi looked at her, worried about where this was going. She took Rei's hand and held it.
“...We spoke to Lt. Devall and told him never to harm you again.”
Usagi froze. Everything made sense now.
“Told?” she asked, letting go of Rei's hand.
Jitsia watched worriedly as Rei fell back against the wall.
“Warned,” she upgraded.
Usagi closed her eyes. “I see.”
“We shouldn't have-”
“No,” Usagi cut Rei off. “No, you shouldn't have.”
“We're just trying to protect you,” Makoto said, walking to Usagi.
“WHO ASKED YOU TO?!” Usagi turned and screamed at Makoto, causing the taller girl to freeze in her tracks and sending Jitsia back a couple of meters as well. “I'm not a complete invalid,” she continued, glaring at Makoto. “I can live my own life, make my own mistakes and deal with getting hurt in my own ways.”
Usagi shoved Makoto out of her way before storming off, grabbing Jitsia's hand and heading down the corridor, dragging Jitsia along with her.
“Both of you, mind your own fucking business,” she called out, swearing for what might have been the first time in her life.
Makoto watched her go before turning to Rei, who was now simply sitting on the deck, her legs pulled up to her chest.
“I'm sorry,” Rei quietly said.
“She's gone,” Makoto told her.
“No, I mean for the fight,” Rei said.
Makoto stretched out her hand to Rei and smiled. “I started it. So, I am sorry.”
Rei took Makoto's hand and allowed her to help the NEO commander up. “We're both idiots,” Rei pointed out.
“Yeah,” Makoto agreed, looking off in the direction Usagi went. “You think she'll forgive us?”
Rei sighed. “If she forgave us for what we've done in the past...”
Makoto chuckled a bit. “Good point.”
“We should probably still apologize though after we're done at Starbase 1-1-3.”
Shampoo slowly opened her eyes and yawned. It certainly wasn't that she disliked mornings; it was more that she disliked mornings after she had a late night.
They just seemed to come too quickly. As well, the very annoying beeping of the wake-up alarm was so annoying.
Though, it didn't seem to be that annoying this morning.
In fact, it didn't seem to be beeping at all.
Shampoo quickly sat up. The alarm not beeping was a bad sign. It was either a sign that she woke up too early and she could go back to sleep, or that she didn't set it and the Gods only knew what time it was.
“10:03:19,” it replied.
“FUCKBALLS!” Shampoo screeched, distressed over the fact her duty shift started at 07:00:00.
“Quiet,” Amanda mumbled from under the covers.
Shampoo quickly rolled out of the bed and began running around, looking for clothes, tripping twice on hers and Amanda's uniform from the night before.
“You late for work!” Shampoo told Amanda.
“I do second shift,” Amanda groggily told her, pulling more blankets on top of her. “'Cause we're not getting to the Starbase till 18:00. Thought you were too, that's why I turned off the alarm.”
Shampoo, who was in the process of putting on her panties, froze. “You the reason why Shampoo three hour late for work?”
Amanda poked her head out of the sheets and looked at Shampoo. “Mmmm,” she remarked, smiling at Shampoo’s state of dress. Shampoo simply glared at her as she finished dressing.
“It can't be that big of a deal,” Amanda continued. “They haven't called for you or sent security down here or anything.”
“That not point,” Shampoo glowered, putting on her jacket and boots, somehow simultaneously. “Sometimes Shampoo wonder how someone like you can be so irresponsible.”
“Hrmph,” Amanda scoffed, pulling the covers back over her head. “Sometimes I wonder how you can be such a stick in the mud.”
Shampoo, finally content with her appearance, walked over to the bed. She ripped the covers off Amanda and looked to her.
“Amanda know Shampoo nearly lose commission because of irresponsible behavior. There a time to play and a time to take things serious.”
Amanda nodded and leaned up to Shampoo in an attempt to kiss her but was simply met by the covers being dumped back on her. Amanda exhaled deeply as she heard the doors to the pair’s quarters hiss open, then closed.
Ranma, who Makoto had not actually bothered to take to the brig, was going over status reports from his chair on the bridge. Included in the reports was a personal letter from Jitsia.
An interesting read it was. It made Ranma feel a little bad for his father as it talked about their talk and what was actually getting the old man down.
Ranma could sympathize with him, even if he wasn't at a point in his life yet where he fully understood what he was going through. However, he did realize that eventually, he would be in the same position.
He just hoped that he handled it better.
Regardless, Ranma made a note to himself to give the old man a call every now and then simply for some father-son time, outside of their normal Starfleet conversations.
The aft turbolift opened and Shampoo zipped onto the bridge. She looked around and noticed that except for Ranma, most of the senior staff was not present.
She was beginning to wonder if she was indeed supposed to work second shift.
“Nihao,” she smiled to Ranma.
“Morning, Shampoo,” he smiled back as she had a seat in the executive officer's chair.
“Sorry I late,” she said. “Forgot to turn on alarm and overslept.”
Ranma looked up at the clock. “I honestly wouldn't have noticed had you not said anything.” He turned to Shampoo and smiled. “I just assumed you were coming in later because of the time we're arriving at our destination.”
“Too late to say that now?” Shampoo smirked.
Ranma smiled at her. “There are some new situation reports coming in from the Starbase in fifteen minutes. Can you make sure that gets parsed and sent upstairs?”
Shampoo nodded turned to her tactical terminal as Ranma resumed going over the duty reports.