Chapter 7 - Jitsia

The lounge seemed busier than usual. Gosnell wondered if it was because it was a Friday night.

Of course, the fact that it was a Friday night was largely irrelevant on a starship. In order to reduce burnout and make sure crew rotation was at its peak, every six weeks one shift got a four-day weekend, so workdays changed often.

Besides, between the holodecks and the lounge, anything you would do on a 21st century Friday night was available for you 24-7.

In the lounge, Gosnell's eyes bounced around, stopping, and counting how many of them were crew paired up in what he assumed were couples.

Of course, other than the group he was sitting with, he had no proof or even any reason to assume that any of them were romantically involved. A few of them were the same sex, and while it was perfectly acceptable, it was not necessarily commonplace.

Several of the tables had four and six people sitting at them. Gosnell assumed those were 'group dates'. He assumed there would be fun times later once the alcohol started flowing.

Others had only three at the tables.

Three seemed like an odd number for a date, but perhaps it was the third person's birthday, and the couple that he or she was with was planning on giving them a very, very nice gift.

“What are you doing?” Makoto asked her drooling, leering husband.

Gosnell looked to her, giving her a lascivious smirk. “Just...” Gosnell paused for a moment. “Just thinking about what we should get...” he looked to Usagi who was sipping on a twisty-straw that led to a blueish-orange colored drink, “Usagi... for her birthday.”

Usagi's eyes moved towards Gosnell upon hearing her name. Makoto also looked to Gosnell.

“Well?” Makoto asked.

“I can't tell you in front of her!” Gosnell panted.

Usagi blinked, a little concerned about the look Gosnell was giving first her, then Makoto.

“Why do I have the feeling that you're thinking something very, very wrong?” Makoto sighed.

“Wrong?” Gosnell scoffed, stroking his goatee. “By whose standards?”

Usagi watched worriedly as Makoto began to beat Gosnell into oblivion. Minako, Ryouga, and Amanda came walking into the lounge, all stopping at the bar to order drinks before moving over to the group's table, stepping over what appeared to be Gosnell's decimated corpse, and taking a seat.

“Sup?” Minako smiled to Usagi and Makoto.

Makoto smiled back as she wiped off her hands and took a drink. “Hey. Took you guys long enough.”

“I had to find him,” Minako smiled, pointing towards Ryouga.

“I was not lost,” Ryouga said, waving his arms. “I was just busy.”

The group laughed as Ryouga nodded. “I was actually teaching some enlistees some basic shipboard assault tactics.”

“So, you like your new job?” Makoto asked.

Ryouga nodded affirmatively. “Very much so. It's pretty cool being able to pass on what I've learned to new Marines.”

“Well,” Minako said, pinching Ryouga’s cheeks, causing him to scowl slightly. “As long as you don't lose your cool with them.”

Ryouga sighed. “Yes, yes.”

One of the lounge's waiters walked over with Ryouga’s, Amanda's, and Minako's drinks. A 'squish' is heard as he walked up to the table. He looked down to find that he was standing on top of Gosnell.

“Oh gee, I'm sorry boss,” he said.

“It's okay,” Gosnell whimpered.

The waiter passed out the drinks then walked away.

“He apologized,” Gosnell groaned as he began to pull himself back into his chair, “yet he never got off me...”

Makoto smirked. “Maybe you should give longer breaks.”

Gosnell scoffed as he attempted to wipe the shoe print from his face. “Certainly not now I won't.”

The table laughed as they resumed drinking, silence taking over for a bit before Gosnell spoke up again.

“Aren't we missing a couple of people?”

“Shampoo needed to get us headed towards wherever it is we're going,” Amanda explained. “She'll be here when she's done.”

“Where are we going?” Makoto asked.

Amanda shrugged.

“Where's Rei?” Minako asked.

“Upstairs pouting,” Makoto laughed.

Gosnell shook his head at his wife's mocking of their friend.

“Pouting?” Usagi asked. “So, what is Rei all emo about now?”

The Sisko finally began to pull out of orbit of the planet and with a flash of light started warping out of Cardassian space.

“Well,” Makoto said, “you know we picked someone up at Cardassia, right?”

“Yeah,” Usagi replied.

“Well, she's going to lead a second NEO team on a ship like the Sisko. And apparently, they want Rei to mentor her.”

“OH MY GOODNESS!” Usagi squawked. The group all turned to her, as well as several other patrons in the lounge. The commotion also sent Gosnell tumbling over backward in his chair. Once again, a waiter – a different one than before – who was coming with refills, stepped on poor Gosnell with a distinct 'squish'.

“You're standing on my face,” Gosnell scowled.

“Oh,” the waiter said, quickly adjusting himself so that he would be standing on Gosnell's groin instead.

“Not better...” Gosnell whimpered.

“She's not Cardassian,” Makoto grumbled as the waiter dropped off the drinks and walked away. “She's a Trill. But the point is that Rei doesn't want to have to 'mentor' anyone else, nor does she think this kid is any good.”

“Kid?” Ryouga asked as Gosnell pulled himself back into his chair, very, very slowly. “They're putting a junior officer in charge of a second NEO team?”

Makoto shook her head. “She's a Lt. Commander,” Makoto paused and corrected herself. “She's a Commander. She was promoted when she came on board.”

“She looked young, but she didn't look like a kid to me,” Minako said.

“Me either,” Makoto agreed, “but Rei said she's twenty-five,” Makoto said.

The entire table stared at Makoto.

“No kidding,” Ryouga finally said.

“So, I decided to be nosy,” Makoto admitted, receiving a look of disapproval from Gosnell to which she responded with a shrug, “and I checked on her background.”

“She went through the academy in two and a half years,” Makoto reported, “was only an ensign for about a month before getting a battlefield promotion to lieutenant, skipping L-J-G entirely. From there she was involved in a lot of post-war clean-up missions, including 'peacekeeping' operations.”

Gosnell looked at Makoto oddly. “Why the emphasis on 'peacekeeping'?”

Makoto smirked. “They were more like infantry operations, really. Only with small groups of Starfleet beaming into places and just shooting everyone.” Makoto smiled while shaking her head. “I honestly would have loved to have been there.”

Gosnell sighed and rolled his eyes as Makoto continued.

“She got like a billion medals and commendations and was promoted to Lt. Commander where she was assigned command-”

“At Lt. Commander?” Minako asked.

“It's not unheard of,” Jansen nodded. “There are a lot more Lt. Commanders than there are Captains.”

Minako nodded as Makoto continued. “And she had that for five months. That's when she was sent to Cardassia to help them, and now she's here.”

“She was a lieutenant commander for only five months?” Ryouga asked.

“Well,” Makoto explained, “She's been on Cardassia for a year or so.”

“Still,” Ryouga murmured. “A year and a half.”

“I know, right?” Minako smiled. “Seems like I have been a lieutenant commander for over thirteen years now.”

The group all looked to the fourth wall of the lounge before turning back to each other.

“Admiral Saotome is in love with her, according to Rei,” Makoto smirked.

“Ewww,” Usagi said, sticking out her tongue.

“Yeah,” Minako nodded, “I think I saw that too when they were on the bridge this morning.”

Makoto nodded, also sticking her tongue out, agreeing with Usagi's reaction.

The group had a chuckle till Shampoo came in. Trailing behind her was Jitsia. Shampoo said something to her, then pointed to the group. Jitsia nodded and walked to the bar as Shampoo walked over to the table and sat down next to Amanda.

“Nihao,” Shampoo smiled.

“Commander,” everyone greeted as Amanda kissed Shampoo on the cheek.

“Shampoo hope it okay, but I invited Commander Gras to join group.” Shampoo sighed a bit before looking to the young commander waiting on her beverage. “Shampoo know what it like to not have any friends on new ship. Hate for her to feel alone.”

Amanda eyed Shampoo suspiciously. Shampoo, without having to even see the look she was getting, rolled her eyes and leaned into Amanda, whispering something that was likely horridly dirty into her ear.

Amanda seemed placated by whatever it was Shampoo whispered and returned her attention to her drink. The group, for their part, nodded to Shampoo that her invitation of Jitsia was acceptable.

Usagi sipped on her drink for a moment before looking up. “So, if she's a Trill, I wonder how many lifetimes-” Usagi stopped mid-sentence as she noticed Jitsia was no longer at the bar. “Where'd she go?”

“Who?” Jitsia asked from behind Usagi.

“YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!” Usagi screamed, jumping from her seat and landing behind Ryouga. Jitsia looked to Usagi worriedly as the rest of the group, unsure if they were more startled by Jitsia's sudden appearance or Usagi's melodramatics, looked to them both.

Finally, Shampoo spoke up. “Commander, please sit down.”

Jitsia, still a little worried about Usagi, nodded and pulled up a chair and sat between where Usagi's now empty chair was and Makoto. She looked to Usagi, who was peering over Ryouga’s shoulder.

“I'm sorry if I startled you,” Jitsia said. “I guess I don't really have an 'off mode' for my stealthy approach training.”

Makoto chuckled. “Don't worry about her. She's scared of everything.”

“Am not,” Usagi said, cautiously moving back to her seat.

Those at the table who had not met Jitsia on the bridge earlier all introduced themselves and told her what they did on the ship. Jitsia, for her part, was doing an incredibly good job lightening the mood as they found her to be quite charismatic.

“Commander,” Jitsia smiled, turning to Usagi, “to answer your question, my symbiont, Gras, has lived for what I guess you could say has been eight lifetimes.”

“Wow,” Ryouga said. “No wonder you were able to zip through the academy so quickly.”

Minako, in an instant replay from their last conversation in the lounge, elbowed Ryouga, hard, for his bluntness as Jitsia smiled. “Actually, I wasn't joined till last year. You must be at least twenty-four to be eligible.”

“I see,” Ryouga groaned, the pain from Minako's elbow still affecting him.

“It's certainly helped me though,” Jitsia continued. “Gras has been joined with either a Starfleet soldier or a Trill soldier since he was born.”

Jitsia smiled, continuing. “My family has been a military family for generations, so our joining seemed almost like destiny.”

“Must be a weird feeling,” Usagi said, “having something squirming around in your stomach like that.”

Jitsia laughed despite the rest of the table glaring at Usagi. “You get used to it.”

Usagi blinked at the stares she was getting. She quickly realized she needed to say something positive to turn their attention away from her.

“I like your spots.”

Jitsia again laughed while the table continued to glare at Usagi. “Thank you.” She looked to Usagi and gave her a comforting smile. “You're quite sweet. I was actually picked on as a kid because they are much darker than a Trill's spots are normally.”

“That's mean,” Usagi glowered. “I hope you beat them up.”

Jitsia shook her head. “No. Violence for revenge or for personal satisfaction solves nothing and only leads to more contempt and isolation. The best way you can harm someone who seeks to harm you like that is to move on, be successful and show them that what they did had no effect on you at all.”

“Deep,” Gosnell said, making a point to glance in Makoto's direction.

The table nodded, not noticing Gosnell's glance.

“So, what do you think of the Sisko so far, Commander?” Makoto asked.

“Sia, please,” Jitsia said. “And I think she is a beautiful ship. I haven't really had a chance to explore her fully, but what I have seen, I like.”

“Admiral's tour not thorough?” Shampoo asked.

Jitsia looked to Shampoo and smiled coyly. “The Admiral is an adorable man...”

Shampoo fell over laughing.

Jitsia looked to the floor at Shampoo, as did Amanda.

“Shampoo remember that one,” Shampoo said as she climbed back into her chair, attempting to wipe tears out of her eyes in the process.

Jitsia chuckled a bit. “As I was saying, he's a... nice... person, but he seems a little too...”

“Infatuated?” Minako, Makoto, and Shampoo all asked simultaneously.

Jitsia nodded. “Yeah.”

“Did you see any of the ship?” Makoto asked.

“A couple of decks,” Jitsia laughed.

Makoto shook her head.

“I have at least six weeks here, so there's plenty of time for exploring.”

“Well,” Usagi smiled, “When you want to see engineering, let me know! I will make sure you get the VIP treatment.”

Jitsia patted her on the shoulder. “Thank you.”

Usagi nodded as she began to check out Jitsia's hair. Her shoulder-length blonde hair was done up in a pair of pigtails that jetted out to the sides ever so slightly. However, it wasn't the style that was catching Usagi's attention.

“Sia,” she finally asked, “is the last couple of centimeters of your hair blue?”

Jitsia nodded. “Yes. And let me give you all some advice. Never, ever play truth or dare with a Betazoid. They cheat.”

“You-” Ryouga stammered, “you highlighted your hair blue because of a game of truth or dare?”

“Not highlighted,” Jitsia said.

“DYED?” the whole table asked.

Jitsia nodded.

“Why?!” Minako asked.

“Those are the rules!” Jitsia smiled.

Usagi grinned. She was not sure why, but she had a strange feeling that she had just made a new friend.

<Nifty Star Trek Doorbell Sound>

JC looked up from the book he was reading. He did not really like reading, but that was pretty much all he could do. He had already cleaned all his anime off of the computer core, and while it wouldn't be THAT difficult to put a couple of episodes back on, he really wanted to be able to leave at a moment’s notice.

Not that it would be the end of the world if he happened to leave any behind. It's not like leaving a copy here would mean he still wouldn't have his copy.

He honestly was not sure what he was thinking when he deleted his partition.

He sighed. Anger makes you do such stupid things.

“Come in,” he called.

The doors slid open and Genma stepped in. JC quickly hopped up and greeted the Admiral.

“May I come in?” Genma asked.

JC nodded. “Yes sir,” he replied.

Genma moved in and walked towards JC's table, motioning for JC to follow him. Genma, carrying one of his 'serious business' faces that he rarely ever carried, had a seat while JC sat down across from him.

“Can I get you something to drink?” JC asked.

“No, thank you,” Genma declined. “Ranma has told me he would like for you to become the Miyazaki's chief engineer.”

JC stayed silent as Genma looked at him thoughtfully.

“I'm unsure about how I feel about this,” he continued. “As I am sure my son told you since he went ahead and told you about the Miyazaki, I did offer the position of Captain to Commander Shampoo. Outside of that, I have been very wary of making even a single ripple in this ship's compliment as you guys are a well-oiled machine, and even removing one cog can send that machine into disarray.”

JC sighed. “Admiral, I-”

Genma nodded, “He also explained that you plan on quitting if you don't get the position.”

JC bit his lip. “When you say it like that, it makes it sound like I am trying to force your hand.”

“Aren't you?”

“I didn't ask for the position,” JC said. “I'm content on simply quitting.”

Genma looked to JC. “Why?”

“Personal matters.”

Genma sighed. “And you won't have these personal matters on the Miyazaki?”

JC shook his head. “I can honestly say that I wouldn't.”

Genma looked at JC oddly. “If I promise things were to stay between us, would you tell me?”

“Admiral, you could not possibly take no action if I told you why I no longer feel like I can serve on this ship. You would not be doing your job otherwise,” JC explained. “That said, I care more about this ship than I do revenge or any personal grievances I might have against some people which is why I am content just leaving and allowing the past to stay in the past.”

Genma sat there for a couple of minutes. He did not have to be a Betazoid to have a fairly good idea of who at least one of the people that JC was talking about was.

Genma finally conceded to JC's demands. “We're rendezvousing with another ship in a little less than 48 hours. 24 hours after that, I'll be departing. Ranma says you'd like to go with me.”

“If that is possible,” JC nodded. “I'd be happy to work with the shipbuilders and provide whatever assistance I can, having worked here for as long as I have.”

Genma nodded. “I actually think the Trinity development team will appreciate your input.” Genma and JC both stood up, Genma stretching out his hand. “Tie up your loose ends and be prepared to depart in 72 hours, Lieutenant Commander Devall.”

A broad smile crossed JC's face.

“Yes sir.”

Rei and the rest of the NSO team stood outside of NEO holodeck one. Bravo team quietly chatted among themselves, something that normally Rei would have scolded them for doing as she wanted them totally focused before a training exercise, but she was too frustrated at this point.

She very clearly told Commander Gras that they were going to run the exercise, one that was in part HER idea no less, at 09:00. Yet she was nowhere to be found.

“Computer!” Rei finally barked. “Where is Commander Jitsia Gras?”

“Commander Gras is on deck six, section seventy-nine,” the computer replied.

“What the fuck is she doing there?” Rei demanded to know, slamming her rifle to the deck.

Seemingly on cue, her communicator chirped. “Gras to Hino.”

“Go,” Rei growled.

Jitsia could likely feel Rei's anger pulsating out of her communicator. Every one of the NSO soldiers looked to her, slightly worried that her forehead veins were all about to burst simultaneously.

“I am REALLY sorry about being late,” Jitsia apologized. “I am...” her speaking softened slightly, “having a bit of difficulty pulling myself away from Admiral Saotome.”

Rei slammed herself against the holodeck doors. “Do we need to reschedule?”

The group could hear Genma say something to Jitsia, then her say something back. A short, quiet conversation was then mumbled before some muffled crying, finally, a disturbed Jitsia replied.

“No... I will be there shortly.”

Rei looked to Shelton, then Parker as more crying is heard, followed by Jitsia apologizing to Genma.

“Okay, see you soon,” Rei slowly said before ending the conversation.

“Man,” Anthony smirked, “if I ever get like that when I get old, someone shoot me.”

“What do you mean 'when you get old'?” Kio scoffed. “You're like that now.”

Anthony scowled at Kio as the rest of the group laughed at him. After they were done laughing at the young Sergeant, the ten officers chatted and waited some more, Kio's group poking more fun at Anthony in the process.

After about ten minutes, an eternity in Rei's mind, Jitsia came running up, dressed in the same 'jungle' NSO jumpsuit, still applying the camouflage makeup to her face.

“Commander,” she said, moving towards Rei, “again, I apologize.”

Rei nodded. “Doesn't seem to be your fault.”

Jitsia smiled a bit. “I told him I needed to be back here by 09:00, but-”

Rei cut her off. “It's irrelevant. You're here now.”

Jitsia nodded, not oblivious to Rei's unhappiness with her. Kio walked up next to the pair, looking Jitsia over. While they had met earlier, this was the first time Kio had seen her in her NSO gear.

She was not really that impressed. In fact, in Kio’s opinion, Jitsia looked more like a teenage girl dressed up as a soldier for Halloween than she did like an actual soldier.

However, she had heard things.

She noticed that Jitsia was carrying an extra tricorder, rather than a second phaser. She didn't seem to have as much stuff in her backpack as Kio did either, nor did she have as many grenades.

She assumed that perhaps that was because she was in a hurry and did not grab as much stuff, especially because it was simply a simulation, but still.

“Which team is she going to be on?” Kio asked Rei, still looking at Jitsia.

“I thought you-” Jitsia started to state as Rei turned to Kio.

“We're going to give the Commander a little test,” Rei smiled.

“Test?” Kio asked.

Rei nodded as she put her hand on Jitsia's shoulder and gave her a faux-loving squeeze. “Capture the flag. Us versus her.”

Kio looked to Rei, then back to Jitsia. “No kidding.”

“Since we have a numerical advantage, Commander,” Rei said, smiling at Jitsia, “we'll let you have a ten-minute handicap.”

Jitsia nodded, turned her training rifle on, smiled to Kio, and walked into the holodeck, where the simulation was already running and ran into the imaginary jungle.

Kio turned to Rei and gave her a look. “Seems a little unfair to do this to her on her first day.”

“She should have been on time.”

Kio smirked.


“This shouldn't this hard,” Anthony whispered over comms. “It's like ten against one.”

“Mmm,” Kio mumbled to herself, quickly looking to her watch.

The group had now been in the holodeck for the better part of an hour. Far longer than they should have been, especially since, as Anthony had said, it was ten of them against one of her.

“I think Commander Hino set us up,” Kio eventually whispered back to Anthony. “I also think she's making us the sacrificial lambs, which is why we're being sent forward.”

“Baaaah,” Kagurazaka called out over comms.

Kio simply shook her head as she stopped and took up a position behind one of the holographic rocks. Whoever this new girl really was, she was already proving to be good. First, she set up one tricorder to emit a false bio sign and almost caused Bravo and Alpha team to get into a firefight with each other.

Then she activated a destabilization field which was now making their tricorders useless, including the system that identified friendlies, meaning that again, they could end up getting into a firefight with Rei's team.

Now, Kio understood, why that second tricorder was a better choice than a second phaser.

“Kio, we're coming up behind you,” Rei reported.

“Copy,” Kio said. “Schaefer is directly east of me and Kagurazaka directly west, so don't shoot them.”


Kio looked through her binoculars towards some trees and rocks. She didn't see anything.

“Where the hell is she?”

Kio nearly leaped into the air as Rei put her hand on Kio's shoulder.

“Sorry, Lieutenant.”

Kio nodded, gasping for air. “No problem, Commander.”

“Ideas?” Rei asked.

“If she's perched in a tree, she's going to pick us off if we run for the flag,” Kio said, pointing towards their endgame; a UFP flag posted up in the middle of the far forest.

“But honestly,” Kio continued, “I am using infrared and I don't see anything over there.”

Rei scowled. “We can't let a newcomer beat us on our turf, Lieutenant.” Rei looked towards the flag. “If you guys hook around towards the east, we can flank from the west and likely overwhelm her.”

“Cannon-fodder,” Kio chuckled.

Rei sighed. “They aren't real cannons.”

Kio nodded and activated her communicator. “Kagurazaka, move east.”


She quickly explained the plan to her team and the group slowly began to move through the bushes to the east. They moved about a third of the way up a make-shift pathway before the sound of twigs snapping was heard to their west.

“Nine o'clock!” Kio said. Anthony and Kagurazaka popped up to fire and both were nearly immediately hit – in the back – by orange blobs. The hits deactivated the two soldier’s guns, as per the rules of the NEO holodeck simulations – dead men cannot shoot.

“FUCK ME!” Kio screeched. “She's behind us!”

Kio quickly turned her group around and had them start to backpedal, but the commotion ended up giving away their position, and without ever seeing their assassin, two more of Bravo team were shot and were, technically, dead.

Kio, the sole survivor of the ambush, dropped to the ground. She looked to Anthony, who was simply sitting there, a dejected look on his face. The look changed to a slight grin though and he began to shake his head as he chuckled a bit.

“What?” Kio angrily asked.

“You have a dot on your head,” he replied.

Kio sighed.

“I don't want to shoot you in the face,” Jitsia said over the comms, her smile very much apparent. “But for all intents and purposes, you're dead, Lieutenant.”

Kio slammed her gun to the ground and sat down next to Anthony. Kagurazaka looked at the pair.

“Baaaaahhhhh,” he smiled.


“That was definitely phaser fire,” Parker said as the group slowly moved ahead of Rei. Rei nodded and looked behind her at the rest of her group.

“Hopefully, Bravo keeps her busy long enough for us to get to the flag.”

“Is that what we want?” Shelton asked. “To lose half our group?”

Rei shrugged. “It's just a simulation.”

“That's not really the point,” Shelton sighed.

Rei again shrugged before walking into the back of a stopped Parker. She turned around, ready to smack him when she noticed why he was stopped.

“What the hell?” Rei asked, looking at small piles of grass in their path. “Where did she get mines from?”

The group gingerly zig-zagged their way around the minefield. There, out in the open, they saw their prize. Sitting no more than 100 meters away was the UFP flag, waving in the holographic created breeze.

“Ladies first,” Shelton smiled.

Rei glared at him before he relented and poked his head out.


Shelton inhaled deeply and bolted for the flag. As he did, Jitsia popped out of the wooded area behind Alpha team and shot the remaining four in the backs.

Shelton, flag in hand, danced around in celebration before noticing how pissed Rei looked.

“Aw drat,” Jitsia smiled as she meandered past the 'dead' members of Alpha Team and towards Shelton. “I guess I...” she handed Shelton her phaser rifle as a trophy as she spoke, “lost.”

“You cheated,” Rei complained, pointing towards the minefield. “You were only supposed to use standard issue gear. Where did you get mines?”

Jitsia continued to smile smugly as she walked up to her minefield and kicked one of the clumps of grass, revealing it to simply be nothing more than a clump of grass.

“I needed a way to slow you guys down,” she explained. “I wasn't sure if it would work. Glad to see it did.”

Rei continued to scowl as Kio and her group walked over.

“Commander,” Kio asked Jitsia, “how did you trick us into thinking you were to the west when you were behind us?”

“That's a simple trick with a jury-rigged stun grenade,” she explained. “You take apart the detonator, attach it to a stick, and once the timer is up, the triggering mechanism will snap the stick.”

Jitsia smiled and patted Kio on the shoulder. “What was harder was shadowing you guys. You move very well, and very quiet for such a large unit.”

“Large?” Rei asked.

Jitsia nodded. “Five people moving in such a tight formation is very difficult to do stealthfully.” The blonde Commander again smiled at Kio and her group. “You guys are very, very good.”

Kio smiled back a bit, but then softened the smile. “It's taken work, and we've lost some good people in the process.”

Jitsia nodded understandingly. “You have to remember though, even though it's tough at the time, but every loss is a chance to learn and grow. And if you move backward, you're basically erasing everything that person died for.”

Kio and the rest of the group nodded. Rei looked around at everyone before clearing her throat. “Well, now that we're done here, I think we can call it a day.”

Shelton raised an eyebrow as he thought of something to say, however, Lt. Yuki beat him to it.

“We don't have to do it again?”

“Why would we?” Rei asked.

“We lost.”

“We got the flag.”

Kio was about to object again but Kagurazaka pulled her back as Anthony stepped forward.

“And that is why you guys will always be Alpha team,” he smiled. “Thank you, Commander.”

Rei nodded to the Sargent as he and Bravo team walked off, Kagurazaka seemingly forcing Kio to come along.

Shelton again looked to Rei.

“I have work to do,” she answered the unasked question.

Jitsia smiled. “I'm going to go change, then I will come and help.”

Rei forced a smile and nodded as Jitsia all but bounced off. Alpha team also trickled out of the holodeck except for Shelton, Rei, and Parker.

“Et Tu, Parker?” Rei asked, looking to the Lieutenant.

He shrugged as Shelton shook his head at Rei. “She kicked the shit out of us, Commander.”

“It's just a simulation, and it was just to see how good she was,” Rei argued. “Now I know.”

Shelton looked to Rei with the look Rei had grown to despise.

“Look, you know I am not content with losing ninety percent of my team to reach an objective,” Rei said, “but I think we both know that if we actually put any effort into this, it wouldn't be an issue at all, and we would have been as successful as we always are.”

Shelton nodded. “I don't disagree with that at all.”

“So, what's the problem?”

Parker smirked. “That you're not actually making us do this till we are successful.”

Shelton nodded. “When you change, we get scared.”

Parker nodded in agreement.

Rei rolled her eyes. “She's not that important,” she said as she walked to the holodeck exit, leaving Parker and Shelton alone.

Parker looked to Shelton and smiled slightly.

“I've never seen her envious before.”

Shelton shook his head, smiling as well. “Neither have I. While I am afraid of where this might go, I cannot help but want to be there.”

Parker nodded in agreement as the pair exited the holodeck.

“Ranma...” Akane called, concern in her voice as she caught up to him in the corridor.

Ranma turned, stopped, and smiled at his wife. His smile faded when he saw the distressed look on her face. He was never happy to see her in any kind of mood that was not a good one. It was even worse when she seemed upset, not just because it usually ended up in her blaming it on him.

It also made him feel bad to see her feeling bad.

“What's wrong?” he asked.

“Have you seen your father today?” she asked.

Ranma shook his head. “No, why?”

“I was just in the lounge getting lunch and he's in there, sitting in a corner booth by himself, drinking and crying.”

Ranma's eyes went wide. “What? You had lunch without me?”

“RANMA!” Akane yelled, malleting Ranma. “Did you do something to him?” she demanded to know.

“No!” Ranma snapped, rubbing his head. He then sighed, turned towards a turbolift, and began to move off. “I guess I need to go see what the hell is wrong with him.”

“Be nice to him for once!” Akane ordered.

Ranma rolled his eyes. “I am nice to him plenty,” he said, stepping into the lift.


Ranma walked into the lounge and nodded to the few patrons who noticed and acknowledged him. He then did see his father, sitting in the corner of the lounge, sitting in a booth, sipping on a beer.

Ranma walked over to the booth and looked down at his father.

“Are you okay?” Ranma asked?

Genma nodded and motioned for Ranma to sit down. Ranma did and looked his father over for a minute before speaking again.

“What's wrong?”

“I'm old,” Genma replied.

Ranma sighed heavily and leaned back. “Really? That's why you're down here causing a ruckus? Because you realized that just like everyone else, you have to grow old?”

Genma looked up to Ranma and nodded. “Yes.”

Ranma shook his head. “I'm sorry?”

Genma shrugged. “Don't be. I should be apologizing to you, Commander Hino and Commander Gras.”


Genma nodded. “She's just so young and full of life. She kind of made me feel young again.”

“Pop, you have a wife,” Ranma scowled.

“I'm NOT attracted to her,” Genma growled. The elder Saotome shook his head disapprovingly at his son before continuing. “She made me feel the way YOU did when you were younger.”

Ranma looked to his father in awe. “Oh,” is all he could say.

“I am sure it looks worse than I mean for it too,” Genma said, laughing a bit. “Gross old man wanting to hang out with a pretty young girl.”

Ranma nodded. “Yes,” he nodded some more. “Yes, that's pretty much the impression everyone is getting.”

Genma glared at Ranma before drinking some more beer and relaxing a bit. “Well, don't worry. I realized today that she's got a job to do, and I was interfering with it, so I will leave her alone now.” Genma looked to Ranma. “I hope you will clear things up for me.”

Ranma shook his head. “No, I think you can do that fine yourself.”

Genma sighed. “Fine.” He started to take another drink, but Ranma took the beer away from him.

“That's not how you deal with problems either,” Ranma scolded.

Genma again scowled at Ranma. He did acknowledge that Ranma had a bit more insight into these matters than he did, having dealt with Shampoo and her issues with alcohol, so he would allow Ranma to 'parent' him a bit more.

Ranma stood and placed his hand on Genma's shoulder before sighing, leaning over, and hugging him. “As long as you're okay,” he said.

Genma, albeit a bit stunned at first from Ranma's outward display of emotion towards him, smiled slightly and wrapped an arm around Ranma. He nodded slowly.

“Yeah, I'm fine, son. Thank you.”

Ranma pulled away and patted his father on the shoulder. As he started to walk away, Genma called out after him.

“You should get to know her. She's very nice, a warrior like yourself, and a joy to be around.”

Ranma laughed. “I'm not so sure about that. I'm finally at the point where Akane won't whomp me for speaking to a woman. I am unsure if I want to start over.”

Genma laughed. “Fair enough.”

Ranma walked away, waving towards Gosnell. Genma watched him move on, pondering in his head the what-ifs of his family tree that had Ranma and Jitsia as his children.


Jitsia felt a bit overdressed as she walked into Rei's office. While she had gone and put up her gear, showered, and then gotten changed into her duty uniform, Rei had opted to simply wash the camouflage face paint off her face, and had slithered halfway out of her black jumpsuit, opting to tie the top of it around her waist, and had simply tossed her gear on to one of the chairs in her office.

Rei seemed to notice the blonde Commander noticing her rather casual gray tank top and had to decide whether to simply roll her eyes and not bother with an explanation or to tell the strange woman exactly how she felt about what she assumed was her judgment.

Rei opted for diplomacy since the Admiral was still on board and she didn't need a lecture from him, considering the apparent crush he had on her.

“I know what you're thinking,” Rei said, motioning for Jitsia to sit down across from her. “I try and keep everyone to where they can be deployable as fast as possible since we're also tasked with counter-mutiny and authority-reassertion on board.”

Jitsia nodded. “Makes sense.” She cleared her throat before continuing. “I apologize if I somehow gave the impression that I was...” she paused, “...judging your appearance.”

Rei looked up. “Well, you did give me a look when you walked in.”

Jitsia blushed slightly. “Yes, well...” she paused again, the normally outspoken woman having a difficult time finding the words for what she was trying to say, “ was more to do with the fact I was surprised at...” she trailed off.

“Surprised at?”

Jitsia turned away for a moment. “I appreciate aesthetics, Commander,” she said, quietly.

Rei blinked. “I am not sure what you're-”

Jitsia sighed, realizing that no amount of beating around the bush was going to cut it and she needed to be straight and to the point. She turned back to Rei, her steel-gray eyes connecting directly with Rei's dark brown ones.

“I didn't realize how large your breasts were and was checking you out,” she bluntly stated. Rei turned bright red as Jitsia continued. “My jealously overrode my discretion, I suppose.”

Rei quickly looked away and began to shuffle through her PADDs. “Yes, well... It happens.”

<Nifty Star Trek Doorbell Sound>

Rei looked up to see Kio standing outside of her office. “Come in,” she called.

Kio popped in and nodded to Jitsia. “Commander,” she greeted. Jitsia nodded back before Kio turned back to Rei. “Do you mind if we go downstairs?”

Rei shook her head. “No. We have an EVA drill in the morning though, so unless you want your suits filled with vomit, I'd lay off the alcohol.”

Kio smirked. “I'll let them know.” She again nodded to the pair and darted off. Jitsia, thankful for the distraction, turned back to Rei.

“How is she?”

Rei shuffled through a couple more PADDs before handing one to Jitsia. “She's had some issues, mostly personal, but otherwise she's performed wonderfully.”

“Where did you find her?”

“LDF,” Rei explained. “Admiral Larson suggested her to me.” Rei leaned back a bit. “He didn't explain at the time that it was a last-ditch effort to get her from quitting Starfleet, because quite frankly had I known she was THAT fragile I wouldn't have taken her.”

“Fragile?” Jitsia asked.

Rei nodded. “She'd just been in an action that ended with most of her squad killed, including her husband. She was leading it, so she blamed herself.”

Rei slid Jitsia another PADD before continuing. “Those issues followed her here, and it took a lot of work getting her to realize that she wasn't a failure.”

“Worth it?”

Rei nodded. “Yes. She's an asset to this ship and to Starfleet.” Rei quickly sat up and eyed Jitsia. “And you will take her over my dead body.”

Jitsia laughed. “I promise you; I do not plan on taking anyone from your team.”

Rei leaned back again and smiled.

“Except,” Jitsia started, causing Rei to sit back up, “Admiral Saotome is likely to transfer Lt. Dowis to my ship until my team has been trained.”

Rei grumbled. “I am not pleased with that.”

Jitsia shrugged. “Believe me, Commander, I don't want to cause a single ripple in your team. I believe in the philosophy of 'if it isn't broke, don't fix it', but it's not my choice.”

Rei sighed. “I'll speak to the Admiral.”

Jitsia nodded. “I've already suggested that once assembled, we simply move my team here and run joint drills and allow Lt. Dowis to train us aboard the Sisko so that you guys can stay intact, and we can learn from not only the best but those who have already done this.” She turned and looked towards several awards that hung on Rei's wall. “After all, textbooks and simulations are one thing, but you guys...” she turned back to Rei, “ guys have done it.”

Rei allowed a smug grin to creep across her face. Her brain was screaming at her as well, warning her that she was letting her guard down, and this woman was getting to her through flattery.

She didn't seem to fight too hard against it though.

“You want to go get something to drink?” Rei asked.

“I thought-”

“I lied,” Rei answered. “Well, not really, but I hate paperwork.”

Jitsia shrugged. “Sure.”

Rei smiled and stood. “I'll meet you down in the lounge. Going to go change and freshen up a bit.”

Jitsia nodded and followed Rei out of her office.