Chapter 5 - Pop

Genma's Runabout dropped out of warp and turned towards the aft of the Sisko. He looked around, noting multiple Bajoran fighters patrolling, and a couple of other Starfleet ships, including the Defiant, attached to the station. Most of the other ships clinging to the Cardassian structure, however, were various freighters and transports that happened to be passing through the area.

He leaned back in his chair as he lined the ship up the best, he could with the Sisko's aft shuttle bays.

“U.S.S...” he paused, the name of this ship irking him still, “Panda Express to Sisko, requesting permission to dock.”

“Panda Express?” Ranma asked, laughing. “Really?”

“I didn't name the damn ship, boy.”

Ranma could still be heard in the background, continuing to laugh as Kaii spoke. “Permission to dock granted, Admiral. Please contact landing control when you are within 15 kilometers.”

“Copy,” Genma growled as he continued to maneuver the small craft. Eventually, it crawled its way close enough to the ship that he hailed landing control. The operators assumed control of the Runabout, grabbing it with a small tractor beam and gently guided it past the dimly glowing nacelles and into aft shuttle bay one.

Once the external bay doors were closed, and the Runabout had powered down; sans a small bit of steam venting from the rear exhaust of the vessel, Genma made his way out of the ship. Ranma and Shampoo nearly simultaneously walked into the shuttle bay. Shampoo smiled to Genma while Ranma quickly walked straight to the Runabout and began to look it over, his eyes darting around, inspecting every centimeter of her exterior.

“What are you doing?” Genma asked his son.

“I wanted to see if it actually said that on the hull,” Ranma replied, still laughing slightly.

Genma grabbed Ranma by his pigtail and pulled him back over towards Shampoo. Ranma fought him for a moment, but then eventually complied and allowed his father to drag him out into the corridor before being released.

The trio walked towards a turbolift, both Ranma and Shampoo watching Genma. Neither of them had a clue why he was here, and both were waiting for some sort of explanation.

“So?” Ranma finally asked.

“So what?” Genma asked back, not turning towards Ranma, rather looking fondly at a rather basic terminal they happened to be passing.

“Why are you here?” Ranma asked.

Genma hit the call button on the turbolift. “Can't a father just come and visit his son?”

Both Ranma and Shampoo looked to Genma angrily.

Genma sighed. “There is something I need to speak with you and Commander Hino about, and an errand we need to run.”

“Errand?” Ranma asked.

Genma nodded. “And your first officer is well aware of what I wish to talk about.”

Shampoo looked to Genma, befuddled. “I am?”

Genma nodded as the turbolift opened and the trio stepped in, Ranma looking to Shampoo for answers. Shampoo simply shrugged, honestly not sure what Ranma's father was rambling on about.

“If she already knows, then why are you being so damned cryptic?” Ranma asked.

Genma grinned. “It's fun,” he said. “Bridge.”


Genma, Shampoo, and Ranma all stepped off the turbolift and onto the bridge. Genma inhaled deeply. It had been a while since he had been on the bridge of this ship. Of any ship, really, and he'd missed it.

Sort of.

He turned to the tactical station. “Commander,” he smiled at Makoto, “could you ask Commander Hino to join the Captain and me in the main conference room, please?”

“Yes sir,” Makoto nodded, hitting her communicator. Genma then turned to Ranma. “We need to go to Cardassia.”

“Now?” Ranma asked.

Genma nodded.

“Okay,” Ranma said, looking to Shampoo. “Can you please make sure everyone is back on board and get us moving as soon as possible?”

Shampoo nodded to Ranma as he was drug off by Genma by his pigtail towards the main conference room. Shampoo then turned to Amanda, who nodded towards her.

“We do have everyone on board,” Amanda confirmed.

Shampoo walked over towards engineering where a mid-level engineering officer was seated. She cocked her head slightly at this, as usually JC or Usagi was here, but with all the shenanigans of yesterday, she assumed they were likely busy in engineering.

“How soon after undock can we go to warp?” she asked.

The engineer checked some readings and turned to her. “We never fully shut down, so we can be back up and running in about five minutes, Commander.”

Shampoo smiled. “Good. Make preparations.”

“Yes ma'am,” he replied as he started hitting buttons.

Shampoo looked to the flight operations center which was currently unmanned.

“Where Ikuhara?”

“I think he went to lunch,” Kaii said.

Shampoo went to hit her communicator to call for him, however, she was cut off by a loud, boisterous voice from the rear, port side of the bridge.

“No need, Commander!”

Shampoo slowly turned towards operations to see Ryouga, who was apparently taking a break of his own to visit his wife, stepping forward.

“I can handle things until Ensign Ikuhara returns from lunch.”

Minako looked to Ryouga worriedly. “Dear, you haven't touched that thing in over a year.”

“It's just like riding a bicycle,” Ryouga explained.

“Ryouga even know how to ride bicycle?” Shampoo asked angrily.

Ryouga didn't respond.

“Shampoo just call different CONN officer,” Shampoo said, again going towards her comm badge.

“Please, Commander,” Ryouga pleaded. “I'm SOOOOOO bored.”

Shampoo sighed and finally relented. She figured there could be no real harm in it. All he had to do was back them away from the station, program in coordinates and speed, and hit the engage button.

What could go wrong?

“Okay,” Shampoo said, pointing at the helm. “You cause crash though, Shampoo personally murder you.”

Ryouga nodded and moved to the helm station. Ryouga sat down and leaned back in the incredibly plush chair. Seemingly plusher and more comfortable than the one he remembered. He looked at the console fondly, before giving it a wink.

“Remember me?”

About that time Rei came out of the turbolift. She smiled at Minako, then Makoto, and then began to move towards the conference room before seeing Ryouga sitting at the helm.

“MUTINY?!” she yelled-slash-asked, drawing her phaser.

Makoto quickly sprinted around her terminal and grabbed Rei's arm and pointed her weapon back towards the ground before she ended up shooting Ryouga.

“No, no, Rei,” Makoto chuckled nervously, pushing her towards the conference room. “Just nostalgia.”

“Oh,” Rei said, watching Ryouga out of the corner of her eye as she is basically shoved through the conference room doors.

“Request departure clearance,” Shampoo ordered.

“Granted,” Kaii called back.

“Seal airlocks,” Shampoo continued to order the ship's preparation for departure.

“Sealed,” Minako reported.

“Release magnetic couplings.”

A shudder went through the ship. “Released,” Minako reported.

Shampoo looked over Ryouga’s shoulder and to the data on the helm console. It seemed to confirm that the ship was no longer physically attached to the station. Ryouga, for his part, felt confident as well that when he started to reverse the ship, he would not rip any part of it off with him.

“Reverse thrusters, 50 K-P-H,” Shampoo instructed him.

Ryouga complied and began to slide the throttle up. However, a year of being out of practice had caused him to forget how sensitive the panel was. The Sisko, rather than easing back at 50 KPH, shot back at around 2,250 KPH; carbon dioxide and various other propellants rocketing out of the maneuvering thrusters on the bow of the ship, sending a passing maintenance craft flying in the opposite direction.

“ALL STOP!” Shampoo screamed at Ryouga.

All stop was something Ryouga was good at. The ship slammed to a stop sending several of the crew into their consoles and to the deck. Shampoo crawled back to her feet using Ryouga’s chair to help her. Ryouga chuckled, mostly in fear as he could feel heat pulsate from the Amazonian first officer a tenth of a meter behind him.

“Looks like we're far enough away now,” he grinned, pointing to the space station nearly two-hundred kilometers away.

Shampoo bit her lip cracked her knuckles, then quietly spoke some more. “Yes, it does.” She stewed slightly before continuing. “Set course for Cardassia Prime, warp seven.”

Ryouga brought up Cardassia on the computer, allowed the computer to decide the best course to take, plugged in the speed and waited for Shampoo to order engage.

“Engage,” Shampoo said, returning to the Captain's chair.

Ryouga hit the button. The ship performed a near 90 degree turn all but instantly, jetting out CO2 from the starboard thrusters this time and sending people flying once again. Then, more smoothly, the Sisko shot off in a brilliant flash of white light.


“Wait, who was sitting at helm?” Ranma asked.

“Ry-” Rei began to say before the ship jolted sending Rei flying and both Ranma and Genma into the table.

Rei slowly climbed into a chair as Ranma simply allowed his head to drop into his hands. Genma looked worriedly at Ranma.

“Don't you think you should get out there?” he asked.

“Why?” Ranma asked, never taking his head out of his hands.

“To see what's going on!” Genma bellowed.

“I know what's going on!” Ranma said, looking at his father. “Shampoo let Ryouga drive!”

Genma blinked. “Well... why?”

Ranma just threw his hands in the air. “I don't know. Maybe he was bored and she's being nice and nostalgic.” Ranma leaned back in his chair. “At least now you get a taste of what you put us through for all those years.”

“What?” Genma growled.

“You heard me,” Ranma growled back.

“Um,” Rei spoke up, trying to intervene in what she felt might turn into a father-son fistfight. “You folks wanted to see me?”

“Oh, right,” Genma said, the anger on his face turning into a smile. He quickly set a satchel he brought with him on the table. However, it, and the rest of him – as well as Rei and Ranma – were flung to the conference room floor when the Sisko made its abrupt half-U-turn before shooting off into warp.

Genma eventually climbed back to his feet before he slid down into the lush chair in the main conference room of the U.S.S. Sisko, exhaling a long, drawn-out, seemingly over-dramatized sigh of contentment.

Both Ranma and Rei, after crawling back into their own chairs, looked to him a bit strangely for it, but Genma did not seem to mind.

“You'd think,” Genma explained, “that once you clawed your way up to Admiral that they'd give you a decent chair in your office.” He looked to the empty chairs around the long, rectangular-shaped table in the conference room. “But no, they don't.”

“The chair in Admiral Larson's office looked quite nice,” Ranma said, looking to his father with skepticism.

“Then the good Admiral took it with him when he retired,” Genma replied. “Besides, I did not get Scott's office. They sent me over to the Starfleet Intelligence building.”

Rei laughed. “All those people do is sit! How can they not have the nicest chairs?”

Ranma laughed as well till a disapproving stare from Genma stopped him.

“Many Starfleet Intelligence officers risk their lives for the Federation,” Genma said dryly. “They do more than 'just sit'.”

“Well,” Rei said, meekly, “I was talking more about the... admirals in the building...”

Ranma cleared his throat. “So,” he said, drawing Genma's attention away from Rei, “what is it that you wanted to talk about?”

“Well,” Genma said, “I am unsure if you know how things are actually laid out, but the Sisko is technically not in any of Starfleet's primary fleets.”

Ranma nodded. “Admiral Larson explained as much.”

“You're in a task force, which Scott was, and now I am in control of known as R-R-D One.”

“R-R-D?” Rei asked.

“Respond, Recover, Destroy.”

“Sounds about right,” she smirked.

Genma nodded. “Ever since saving the Federation-Vulcan alliance, the council and the President have been pretty hands-off, allowing us to pretty much use you guys as we needed. Their approval is unnecessary for any actions within Federation space, and we've basically been rubber-stamped for the few actions you've undertaken outside.”

Genma began to go over a PADD that he pulled from the satchel before sliding it to Ranma. “I'm not sure if you realize this or not, but this ship was not intended for you. It was simply given to you as basically a 'thank you' and because it didn't seem wise to not allow such a fine group of officers to keep doing what they do best.”

Ranma nodded and began to look at the PADD. “The Miyazaki?”

Genma nodded. “She is scheduled to be complete in about six weeks.” Genma turned to the windows and looked out of them, somewhat romantically. “A task force seems to be a rather lackluster one with only a single ship in it.”

“I really hope you're not thinking what I think you're thinking,” Ranma sighed.

“What's that?” Genma asked, turning back to Ranma.

“Taking part of my crew to staff her.”

Genma shook his head. “No, no.” He, however, paused for a minute. “Well, I take that back. I did offer the command to Commander Shampoo, but she declined it.”

Ranma blinked. “She did?”

“I think she still has a crush on you,” he joked while nodding.

Ranma simply rolled his eyes. 

“That is what I meant by 'her knowing',” Genma continued.

“She didn't act as she knew.”

“Well,” Genma admitted, “We weren't totally forthcoming with all of the details.”

“Maybe if you were, she wouldn't have declined.”

“You want her gone?”

Ranma shook his head. “No, but I certainly don't want her holding herself back because she thought she was just going to command some stem bolt barge.”

Genma looked to Ranma for a moment.

Rei looked to the PADD that Ranma had passed to her, then again to the pair. Again, feeling a conflict between them, she felt it necessary to speak up. “So, this ship will have its own NEO team?”

Genma nodded. “Yes.”

“Is space big enough for two of us?” Rei mused.

“Too big, in fact,” Genma said, sighing. “In fact, there have been several situations where we would have loved to have used you guys, but the distance traveled would have made it impractical.”

“Like that incident last week?” Ranma asked.

Genma nodded and sighed. “Once we have at least two of you, we can keep you both on opposite ends of Federation space to deal with pretty much anything,” Genma explained.

“Sounds,” Ranma chuckled, “logical.”

Genma smiled. “This brings me to the main reason I am here and have you guys heading to Cardassia.”

Genma slid another PADD to Rei. “The officer I want to lead the Miyazaki's NEO teams is stationed there now. We're going to pick her up and I want her to work with you guys for the next few weeks to see how things are done.”

Genma smiled at Rei. “If she's going to lead a group like yours, I want it to be as much like yours as possible.”

Rei looked over the PADD for a moment. “Lt. Commander Jitsia Gras.” She read a bit more. “Holy crap, she's young.”

Genma nodded. “She flew through the academy and barely had time to get used to her ensign pips before being promoted to lieutenant.” Genma then chuckled. “And to be fair, she is a Trill, so she does have quite a bit more 'experience' than her host's young age gives her credit for.”

Rei nodded, unsure, and read a bit more. “Am I reading this right? She commanded a starship?”

Genma chuckled a bit. “I take it you've never been on some of the smaller ships, have you, Commander?”

Rei shook her head.

“It's not uncommon for a light escort or small science ship to be commanded by a Lt. Commander, especially since the vast majority of the crew are enlisted, rather than officers.”

“She...” Rei set down the PADD. “She only commanded that ship for five months.”

Genma nodded. “Starfleet felt she was wasting her talents in a starship command role.”

“Wasting her talents?” Ranma asked. “What the hell does that mean?”

“It means,” Genma said, not hiding the irritation of the questioning of his decision in his voice, “that if you ever find yourself at the business end of her rifle, I hope you have made peace with yourself because you will soon be dead.”

Ranma blinked as Genma continued. “Starfleet Command's only issue with her is that she refused to stay on the ship on dangerous away missions and would beam down with the away teams.”

Rei looked to Ranma before turning back to the PADD. “Well, she's good. I'm just concerned about her age. It takes more than being an accurate shot to be a good commander and leader.”

Genma nodded. “I know, which is why while she is on board, I would like for you to mentor her.”

Rei nodded despite not really wanting another young gun to have to try and mold together.

“What's she doing on Cardassia?” Ranma asked.

“She and a Starfleet Security detachment are assisting the Cardassian military with a slight insurgency from some Dominion sympathizers.”

Ranma nodded. “Well, we should be there in a bit over a day.”

The tension in engineering could be cut with a plastic spork it was so thick. Every single engineer in the room did their absolute best to stay at least three meters away from JC, even though much of the time he seemed like his normal self.

That changed in an instant the moment she came around.

“Uh,” JC mumbled to a couple of damage control techs, “I don't know what caused that abrupt maneuvering but-” JC stopped speaking and looked to Usagi for a moment as she walked up.

“But,” he continued, his face turning neutral and his voice becoming monotone, “I would recommend that we check integrity as well as EPS junctions around the forward thrusters, Commander.”

Usagi nodded. The two damage control techs moved off to do their work. Usagi inhaled as if to say something to JC, but he had already begun to read some information on a PADD and had turned away from her and started to walk away.

Usagi considered following him, but before she could even debate it, he was in his office with the door closed.

Usagi sighed, deciding she would spend the rest of her shift on the bridge.


Kio, drenched in sweat from her work out came to a stop, bit her lip, put on the most comforting smile she could muster and turned around.

“Commander,” she greeted Rei as Rei came jogging down the corridor to catch up with her.

“Sorry to disturb you,” Rei said, looking Kio over a little bit.

“If you give me a few minutes, I was just on my way back to my quarters to get cleaned up,” Kio explained.

“I'll walk with you,” Rei said, “as I will only take a minute of your time anyway.”

Kio nodded and the pair headed down the corridor towards Kio's deck B quarters.

“I never got a chance to both say thank you for what you did for me the other day and apologize for it,” Rei said, squeezing her hands together and looking away from Kio as she was blushing a bit.

“Apologize?” Kio asked, coming to a stop.

Rei stopped too but didn't turn back towards Kio. “Yes. I shouldn't have asked you to do that. You're not my mother or my sister or even my friend. It's not your problem that I was sad, and I realize that even though I was...” Rei sighed, “...drunk, I was abusing my position.”

Kio stepped forward a bit and placed her hand on Rei's shoulder. “I didn't stay because you ordered me too.”

Rei turned around.

“That said,” Kio back up a bit, “I didn't stay for... other reasons... either.” Kio cleared her throat as Rei smiled a bit at the smaller woman's embarrassment. “I- I stayed because, well, despite what you said, I guess I am your friend and I do care about you as one.”

Rei's smile grew wider, and she patted Kio on her shoulder. “That means a lot to me.” Rei looked at her hand which now had Kio's sweat on it. Kio laughed and shook her head.

“I told you that you should have let me clean up first.”

Rei chuckled as she shrugged, wiped her hand on her uniform, and headed towards the turbolift. Kio watched her walk off before heading towards her own quarters.

JC stepped out of the turbolift to find himself face to face with Usagi. The scream that came out of him could have easily been mistaken for one that came out of Usagi.

As well, it sent the young engineer about a meter into the air and into the back of the lift.

“YOU SCARED THE HELL OUT OF ME!” he barked as he shimmied past her.

“I'm sorry,” Usagi said, turning to follow him.

JC ignored her as he steamed towards his quarters.

“JC wait,” Usagi stated.

He continued to ignore her.

“LIEUTENANT, STOP!” Usagi ordered.

JC sighed and came to a stop in the corridor. Usagi, somewhat surprised that someone listened to her when she used her big-girl voice, quickly scurried to where he was standing and looked him over.

“I'm sorry,” she repeated.

“You already said that Commander,” JC dryly said.

“Not about scaring you,” Usagi sighed, “about reporting you.”

JC turned slightly, refusing to look directly at Usagi. “You already apologized for that as well.”

“So,” Usagi whimpered, “you forgive me?”

JC laughed derisively. “Are you kidding?”

Usagi looked to him, tears welling up in her eyes. JC finally turned to her and glared at her, a look burning into her that Usagi hadn't felt in years.

“Two and a half years we've worked together. Two and a half years and I have done everything I could to not only help you but cover for you, sacrificing my own advancement in the process.”

JC shook his head as he scoffed. “And I make one mistake, and yes, I admit I made a mistake, and I shouldn't have done it, and rather than you and I working it out among ourselves, you rat me out to the captain and get me suspended.”

Tears began to roll down Usagi's face as she stepped closer to JC. “I shouldn't have...”

“No,” JC nodded. “No, you shouldn't have. But you did, and THAT is what is relevant.” JC backed away from her a few steps.

“How can we fix things?” she asked.

JC shook his head. “I don't think you get it,” he sighed before turning and starting to move off. Usagi reached out and grabbed his arm. JC instinctively turned and moved to swat at her hand but stopped himself.

“Yeah, that would be bad,” he said, smirking. “There is an admiral on board, so no telling what you'd probably say. Maybe that I kung-fu'd you or something.”

“JC...” Usagi quietly cried.

JC ripped his arm away from her and continued walking to his quarters, leaving Usagi to cry in the corridor.

The usual group sat around their usual table in the lounge. Most everyone was taking turns talking about the 'good' old days, thanks to the abrupt memory of what once was from Ryouga.

As an aside, Ikuhara was quite displeased with the Marine captain as, per Ranma, he was now required to take his lunch breaks in the conference room, so that he could be summoned to pilot the ship at a moment’s notice.

Shampoo had assured him it was simply a joke since under normal circumstances they would have a substitute CONN officer there when he was not, but nonetheless, Ikuhara spent the remainder of his shift cursing Ryouga’s name.

“I swear,” Ryouga muttered, “the old Sisko would not have responded like that.”

Shampoo rolled her eyes as Minako, Makoto, Amanda, and Gosnell laughed. The sextet turned towards the lounge doors when they heard them open to see Usagi and Rei walk in, Usagi looking pretty depressed and appearing to be more 'shuffling' along rather than walking; Rei a couple of steps behind her, the dark-haired NEO officer's eyes looking towards Makoto.

Makoto met Rei's eyes and silently acknowledged her. She stood and excused herself before running off towards the ladies' room. Rei escorted Usagi to a chair before following Makoto. Gosnell looked off in the direction his wife and Rei went, concerned. He knew if the two of them were planning something, it likely wouldn't be good.

“What's wrong with you?” Ryouga asked.

Minako elbowed her husband for his bluntness as Usagi looked to him. She sighed, the sigh seeming to take about fifteen minutes – though in reality, it was probably closer to three or four seconds – before speaking.

“JC's mad at me,” she explained.

“Why?” Ryouga asked.

“Because I-” Usagi started to speak but Shampoo quickly cut her off.

“It personnel issue,” Shampoo said, looking to Ryouga, then to Usagi.

Usagi blinked a couple of times before sighing again. “Well, I guess the only thing that matters is that I can't seem to get things back to the way they were.” Usagi melted into her seat a bit more. “The way they should be.”

Minako, who knew exactly what was going on, looked to Usagi. “Maybe that's something you need to get used to.”

“I don't like it,” Usagi admitted.

Minako shrugged. “No, you probably won't,” she said, a stern, mother-like tone crossing her voice. “But that's not really relevant.”

Gosnell's eyes ping-ponged between the two before he cleared his throat.

“Doesn't time heal all wounds?”

Usagi's eyes shifted to Gosnell. “Maybe.”

Makoto and Rei returned to their seats as Minako finished speaking. “Either way, I don't think it's something you should be stressing yourself out over,” Minako smiled to Usagi.

Again, Usagi sighed and nodded. “I know.” She turned and looked out the window towards the streaking stars. “I just really wish he'd forgive me.”

“Forgive you?!” Makoto asked, her eyes going wide. “That son of a bitch should be begging YOU for forgiveness,” she growled.

Amanda, Gosnell, and Ryouga all stared wide-eyed at Makoto.

“If you ask me, those three days should have been in the brig-” Makoto said before Shampoo began barking at her.

“Commander, that enough.”

“I'm just saying,” Makoto growled.

“You not authorized to say anything,” Shampoo stated. “This is personnel matter and it has been resolved.”

Makoto looked to Shampoo then to Usagi, then back to Shampoo.

“Yes ma'am.”

The table sat in awkward silence for a few minutes before finally, Amanda started to discuss their current destination. Gosnell, for his part, watched his wife out of the corner of his eye, noticing that she seemed to be pouting while shifting her gaze between Usagi and Rei.

Gosnell wasn't sure what was going on, but he had a really bad feeling that his wife was plotting something.

Nothing good would come from this.

Genma looked to the food Akane set in front of him. He smiled at her before turning to Ranma. Ranma watched his father, a devious grin on the pig-tailed man's face.

“Admirals first,” Ranma said.

Genma bit his lip. He then grew a devious grin of his own.

“I wouldn't dare. After all, it's your ship.”

Ranma chuckled. “Touché.” He grabbed a gigantic spoonful of the curry off the plate and shoveled it into his mouth. Genma watched slightly befuddled as Ranma ate it without screaming or otherwise going into an episode that would require medical attention.

“I thought you said that Akane made this,” Genma said, looking to his food.

“I said Akane prepared it,” Ranma answered, between bites. “I never once said that she cooked it.”

Akane walked up behind Genma and malleted him before taking a seat between the two Saotomes.

“Yes, it's replicated,” she growled, beginning to eat her own dish.

Genma cleared his throat and began to eat his dish. “I didn't mean any disrespect.”

Akane nodded before chucking her thumb at Ranma. “If insulting my cooking still was considered disrespectful, that guy would have been discharged a long time ago.”

“Hey!” Ranma argued. “You can plug a recipe into a replicator better than any woman I have ever met.”

Akane smirked. “You're adorable when you're groveling.”

“I learned from the best,” Ranma beamed.

Genma scowled. “Boy,” he started, but then paused, wondering if he had a case to make.

“How's Mom?” Ranma asked.

Genma nodded. “She's well. She sends her regards and wants me to make sure you know how proud she is of you.”

Ranma smiled. “Is she still upset that we didn't have a 'real' wedding?”

Genma nodded. “Yes,” he sighed. “You are, after all, her only child.”

Ranma looked to Akane and gave her a slight nod.

“We have...” Akane cleared her throat, a slight him of both nervousness and embarrassment coming over her. “We have thought about, when we have enough leave saved up again, coming back to Earth and having a full ceremony.”

Ranma nodded as Genma looked at both of them. “For the families. I know while Ambassador Tendo said he was simply happy...” Ranma grumbled, “...I 'finally found the balls', he would have like to have given Akane away.”

Genma smiled at the pair. “I can arrange for time off for you.”

Ranma shook his head. “We don't want any special arrangements made.”

Akane nodded in agreement. “Besides, we want it to be on a special date. We were considering our third anniversary in a few months.”

Genma gobbled up a mouth full of curry before smiling, standing, and walking to where he would be between Akane and Ranma and grabbed them both, causing them to drop their food back on their plates, and pulling them close to him.

“That would be wonderful,” he said, sobbing a little bit. “Everyone will be so happy,” he added.

Akane wrapped her arms around Genma and patted him on the back as Ranma chuckled a bit.

“You're becoming quite the softie in your old age, pop,” Ranma mumbled the best he could from where Genma had him positioned. Genma quickly released both his son and daughter-in-law before grasping Ranma's shoulders and looking at him dead in the eyes.

“You joke, but it will happen to you too someday.”

Ranma looked at Genma, a wry grin on his face. He was not sure he was ready to acknowledge that yet, so he simply kept silent as he looked to Genma, who eventually released him, playfully conked him on the head, then returned to his seat to resume eating.

The three ate in silence for a while. Ranma occasionally looking towards both his father and Akane. Twice, since Genma had come on board, Akane had scolded him about what she had perceived as his disrespectful attitude towards Genma.

Ranma, both times, reminded her that it went both ways, and it was simply the way their relationship worked. Neither of them took it personally and neither of them held a grudge.

And while neither of them would likely ever say the 'L' word out loud, Akane did understand that both father and son loved each other very much. Genma made that much clear after the crew finally made it back home after being stranded.

Ranma showed his affection towards his father in more subtle ways, but Akane knew it was there. She also knew that despite the harsh words and verbal sparring that they got into, he respected Genma as both an Admiral and as their supervisor.

After dinner, the group chatted some more before the yawning from all three of them made it clear that it was time for all of them to hit their bunks.

“We'll still have about eleven hours of travel time once we get up,” Ranma said, escorting his father to the door. “Why don't we meet for breakfast?”

Genma nodded. “Sounds good,” he smiled, patting Ranma on the shoulder, before hugging Akane.

“Operations to Admiral Saotome,” his communicator squawked.

“Go ahead...” Genma replied.

“You have a communication incoming from Starfleet.”

Genma groaned. “Thank you. Can you transfer it to my quarters?”

“Yes sir,” the operations officer answered before ending the communication.

“No rest for the weary,” Genma smiled, moving into the corridor. He nodded again to Ranma and Akane and walked off. Akane looked to Ranma, noticing a concerned look on his face.

“You think it's trouble?”

Ranma shook his head. “No,” he said, moving the pair back into the room. “If it was anything bad it would have been priority one.”


Ranma looked up to the clock which read 00:01:41. Federation standard time; synced up with the time at Starfleet headquarters in San Francisco.

“It's pretty late for Starfleet to just be calling to chat.”

Akane shrugged and followed Ranma into the pair's bedroom.