Chapter 2 - Investigation

Genma walked into the dimly lit Starfleet Command briefing room rather briskly, carrying two PADDs in his hands. Flanking him is one of his assistants, a Lieutenant by the name of Yuji Sasaki.

Both officers nod an acknowledgment to the various admirals and officers in the room and head towards the commander of the Bajor and Cardassia sectors, Admiral Yuri Reshetnikov.

“Genma. Good to see you again,” Yuri smiled, clasping the older Saotome’s hand.

Genma returned the handshake and nodded. “It’s good to see you too, Yuri.”

“You had something urgent to discuss?”

Genma nodded and handed the higher-ranking admiral his PADDs. “Yes, sir. This may be nothing, but my son’s ship had two long-range sensor hits that appeared to be a Jem’Hadar ship on the outskirts of the Badlands.”

Yuri looked over the PADDs for a moment. “We’ve had ships in that area for months and haven’t seen anything.”

Genma nodded. “I am aware of that, but there is a chance that there are Jem’Hadar ships taking refuge in The Badlands, which would make them invisible to most ships scanners.”

Yuri looked to Genma. “Most ships?”

“The Sisko can’t scan into The Badlands, but the sensors are very narrow banded, refined, and operate at a very high sweeping frequency,” Sasaki explained. “It would make sense that if a ship hiding near the edge of The Badlands came out, even for a short bit, that the Sisko would be able to ping it, while other ships and even sensor platforms, would miss it.”

Yuri examined the PADDs further as Genma continued. “They are still tied up on the Neba 3 incident, which is why I am coming to you.”

“You want me to send a ship there?”

Genma nodded. “At least to deploy a probe into The Badlands and see what we get back from inside, or if it gets destroyed by the Jem’Hadar,” Genma sighed. “Or, hopefully, to find out this was simply a false-positive, and that there is nothing there.”

Yuri nodded. “If the Alpha Jem’Hadar are rebuilding, that is a very serious threat that is worth investigating.” The Admiral set down Genma’s PADDs and began checking out his computer terminal. “Looks like I have the Duran about five and a half hours away. I will send them that way immediately.”

“Thanks,” Genma nodded. “I will have the Sisko head that way once they are finished to render assistance if they need it.”

Yuri nodded as he began to send orders to his ship.

“’Sup?” Ryouga smiled at Minako.

Minako plops down on the couple's couch next to Ryouga and groans. “You'd think the Trills, people with lifetimes upon lifetimes of experiences to help guide them throughout their journeys would be able to master the basic concept of being on time.”

Ryouga continued to smile as Minako laid across the couch and placed her head on Ryouga's lap. “Is that why we're still hanging around here?”

Minako nodded. “They said their escort fleet would be here in an hour and that was two hours ago.”

Ryouga laughed. “Well, at least you got a break out of it.”

Minako almost purred as Ryouga ran one hand through her hair, the other one held onto her hand. “Yeah,” she contently replied. “’Sup with you?”

“Drills, drills, and more drills.”


“You don't actually care, do you?” Ryouga asked.

“No,” Minako honestly replied, “but I like hearing you talk.”

Ryouga blushed as he grinned. “Well, there I was, all by myself when a dozen Klingons came rushing at me!”

“Oh my,” Minako replied, moving Ryouga's hand from her hair to her face.

“Yeah, so I started shooting and I managed to take most of them down, but two of them started swinging their bat'leths at me.”

“Oh no!”

“Oh yes! So, I had to punch one guy so hard it snapped his neck, the next I used my Bakusai Tenketsu on him. But then they yelled at me because that ended up damaging the holo...” Ryouga trailed off as Minako moved Ryouga's hand from stroking the side of her face to the inside of her partially unzipped jacket.

“Sounds exciting.”

“Yup,” Ryouga replied as he sat there, grinning stupidly as he felt up Minako. After a few moments, Minako quickly sat up and grinned rather devilishly at Ryouga.

“Motor running,” she smiled, unzipping her jacket completely.

Ryouga unzipped his as Minako quickly straddled Ryouga. Both the green and black and grey and black jackets went to the floor. Minako pulled off her shirt, and without hesitation, began to pull of Ryouga's.

Ryouga laughed as his collar began to get stuck on his head.

“Well, whatever,” Minako stated, moving to Ryouga's pants. “That's not the part of you I'm interested in right now anyway.”

Ryouga continued to laugh as he pulled his shirt off the rest of the way. He began to unbutton Minako's pants but paused as he took time out to bury his face between her breasts, which were still covered by her Starfleet issued bra.

“Oh my God!” Minako squeed, laughing. “Don't do that, it tickles!”

“Oh, you're ticklish?” Ryouga asked. He bent his head down, and began to lick her stomach, and moved his tongue up and down, causing her to giggle.

“Stop!” she ordered.

Ryouga did indeed stop, looked at her for a moment, and the two kissed. They then resumed trying to unbutton each other’s pants. Suddenly Minako stopped, noticing something out the window.

“Fuck me,” she groaned.

“I’m planning on it,” Ryouga answered.

“No, Trills are here,” Minako sighed as Ranma’s voice began to play out over her communicator.

“Senior officers to the conference room.”

Ryouga leaned back and growled as Minako slowly climbed off him and began to put her clothes back on.

“God-damned Ranma.”

Minako was the last one to enter the conference room. Ranma shot her a quick nod and motioned towards the window.

“Commander Hino's teams are still in the process of debriefing with the Trills, but that should be complete shortly,” he explained. He then turned towards the conference room's main viewer and brought up a diagram of the area around The Badlands.

“Starfleet Command has ordered the U.S.S. Duran to go and investigate the sensor readings that Lt. Jansen noticed.”

“So,” Makoto spoke up, “they think there might be something to them?”

Ranma shrugged. “They aren't sure. There are no intelligence reports that would suggest that there are any Jem'Hadar forces inside of the Alpha Quadrant; at least none in any kind of threatening numbers. However, the idea of any here is a big enough issue to investigate.”

The room murmured in agreement.

“Once we have everyone back on board,” Ranma continued, “we will set a course to rendezvous with the Duran and provide them with any assistance they might need.”

Minako began to check her computer. “A little under twenty hours at maximum sustained warp.”

Ranma nodded. “The Duran will be there in five and will be conducting sensor sweeps and will be deploying a probe into The Badlands.”

“They won't be entering?” Makoto asked.

Ranma shook his head. “No, especially if there are the potential of Jem'Hadar warships in there. Their communications wouldn't be able to penetrate the plasma storms to send a distress call or anything.”

The room mumbled in understanding.

“Kaii to Saotome,” Ranma's comm badge chirped.


“The away teams are all back on board.”

Ranma nodded to Shampoo who quickly scampered off towards the bridge. He then turned to Minako. “See what you can do to tune our sensors to better compensate for the plasma in The Badlands.”

“You think we may have to enter?” she asked.

Ranma sighed. “I think we need to be prepared for that contingency.”

Minako nodded, stood, and headed towards the bridge. Ranma then turned to Makoto.

“Captain?” she asked.

Ranma walked next to Makoto and sat down next to her. “Before I joined the Sisko, there are only two times when I actually thought I might die.”

Makoto continued to look at Ranma as the ship began to move away from the planet and align itself to go to warp.

“Fighting the Borg and fighting the Jem'Hadar.”

Makoto nodded. “They don't really have any sense of purpose other than to fight, so for them to pointlessly throw themselves at an enemy in an attempt to kill him makes them quite deadly.”

Ranma nodded. “I don't worry about one ship, or even two...” Ranma trailed off.

Makoto again nodded as the ship shot off into warp. “I think we'll do just fine, assuming they don't have some kind of dreadnaught.”

Usagi, who had been sitting across the table from the pair, blinked.

“The Jem'Hadar have dreadnaughts?”

“I fucking hope not,” Ranma laughed. “Anyway, we have almost a day to get ready. It's Friday night, I think I am going to turn in early.”

“You're becoming a homebody,” Makoto laughed. “You and Akane should come out with Gosnell and I.”

“Where are you going?” Ranma asked, cautiously.

“Goz has this casino/nightclub/karaoke holodeck program he enjoys running.”

Ranma pondered this for a moment. “Yeah, why not.”

Makoto turned to Usagi. “You want to come?”

Usagi shook her head. “I think I have plans.”

“A date?” Makoto grinned.

Usagi shook her head. “No.”

“Shame,” Makoto smiled, standing with Ranma right behind her. The pair walked out of the room, leaving Usagi. Once she was sure she was alone, Usagi tapped her comm badge.

“Tsukino to Devall.”

“Go ahead.”

“Are you done working?”

“Yeah...” JC replied, a bit confused.

Usagi sat up a bit and inhaled. “Well, I was wondering... There's going to be stuff going on tomorrow and we'll end up being busy with work, so would you like to move up our evaluation-slash-anime event to this evening.”


Usagi quickly interrupted. “I mean if you don't have plans. If you do, it's cool. We can do it another weekend.”

“No, it's not that,” JC replied. “It's just that I was going to tidy up and everything.”

Usagi scoffed. “Please. My place is a mess. You don't need to do that for me.”

“Well, then sure.”

Usagi smiled. “Great, I am going to finish up and will be there at 19:00?”

“Okay, sounds good.”

Usagi grinned as she closed the communication and bounded out of the conference room and towards her quarters.

JC stood as the door chime rang. He set down his PADD and walked over to the door, deactivating the lock, and smiled as the doors slid open. “Commander.”

Usagi smiled back. The blonde-headed girl was wearing a white sweater and a pink dress that went to her knees. The dress, while not too tight, was not too loose either; what Usagi thought was just the right combination.

“Usagi, please,” she instructed her subordinate. “I brought some food if that’s alright.”

JC nodded and motioned for Usagi to come in. “I was going to replicate us something, but I wasn’t sure what you’d like,” JC explained.

“Well, this isn’t replicated,” Usagi smiled as she set the dish down on JC’s living room table. JC turned to her and stared blankly.

“You cooked that?”

Usagi was not sure whether to smirk or glower. “Yes. And I can assure you it’s quite good. It’s lasagna.”

“No kidding,” JC pondered, going to his replicator to get some plates.

Usagi removed the top from the dish as she continued to talk. “It was actually what I specialized in when I was at Starfleet Academy. Culinary.” Usagi sighed slightly as JC brought over the dishes. Usagi cut out a couple of pieces of the pasta dish and placed them on the plates while continuing her story.

“Of course, with the widespread use of replicators, there were very few places you could get a position as a cook,” she complained. “I really wanted to be on a starship, so they told me that I could be transferred into Starfleet Security. I got moved into Engineering shortly after that.”

JC blinked. “I had to get two master’s degrees to get this position and all you had to do was take a cooking course?”

Usagi glared at JC as the pair moved over to his sofa and sat down with their food.

“I didn’t ask for this position,” Usagi sighed. “And you and I both know I wasn’t qualified for it,” she admitted.

“Then how...” JC started.

Usagi looked to her feet as she spoke. “The Captain told me - after I asked him for what was probably the twentieth time - that it was out of spite against him.”

Usagi sighed and shook her head. “The admiral that put me here did it so that the Captain would fail.”

JC seemed perplexed and slightly outraged by what he was hearing. “A Starfleet admiral put people’s lives at risk for a personal rivalry?”

“Yup,” Usagi nodded. “I asked Captain Saotome if he wanted me to resign after you came on board so that you could take over,” she explained, turning to JC. JC returned the look, surprised at the new information he was learning. “He told me ‘no’ and said that the best way to get back at him would be to succeed.”

JC put his hand on Usagi’s shoulder. “Well, we’ve had no warp core breaches.”

Usagi smiled at JC. “I know it annoys the hell out of you guys when I am always underfoot, but it’s because I want to be better at being...” Usagi trailed off for a moment. “...better at being me.”

JC smiled and patted Usagi on the back. “Well, boss. I don’t think you can do any better job of being Usagi than you’re already doing.”

Usagi eyed JC. “I may be blonde, but I am well aware of when I am being insulted.”

JC grinned. “More of a ‘kind-hearted joke’,” he explained. “That said, any time you want to be ‘underfoot’, you go right ahead, and if anyone gives you any grief about it, I will deal with them.”

“You give me the most grief of all of them,” Usagi protested.

“To your face, yes.”

Usagi blinked.

“Shall we eat?” JC asked before he made Usagi angry.

Usagi nodded and the pair began to eat. JC paused after taking his first bite.

“Wow. This is great,” he said, forgetting to conceal the shock in his voice.

Usagi rolled her eyes, deciding that she would avoid confrontation. The pair ate in silence for a while before Usagi turned to JC again. “Do you like being here?”

JC paused mid-chew. “Hmm?” He mumbled.

“Do you like being here?” Usagi repeated.

JC swallowed the food that was in his mouth and nodded. “It’s a very nice ship.”

The look on Usagi’s face made it clear to JC that she wanted further explanation. JC took a drink of the water sitting on the table and continued, after making sure that he had chosen his words carefully.

“I have gotten to do a lot of things here that I necessarily wouldn’t have gotten to do on another ship,” he explained. “As well, I have been given,” he paused, moving his eyes away from Usagi, “added responsibility, that has helped me progress as an engineer.”

Usagi chuckled, causing JC to turn back towards her. “What?” He asked.

“I just think it’s funny how you were trying to be all ‘innocent’ when you made the ‘added responsibility’ remark,” Usagi grinned.

“Well...” JC stammered. “...I, wasn’t trying to be disrespectful.”

Usagi continued to smile. “I know. It’s cool. I’ve always appreciated how helpful you’ve been and how you’ve really stepped up and done what’s needed to be done.”

JC smiled. “It’s no problem,” he said before starting to eat again.

“If I tell you something, will you promise you won’t be angry at me?” Usagi asked.

JC turned to her and nodded as he continued to eat.

“I’ve not been entirely...” she paused, trying to think of the proper words. “...forthcoming, in your performance evaluations.”


Usagi, this time the one who could not make eye contact, lowered her head. “I never put in anything bad, and I always gave you positive reviews. But I never actually mentioned how you’ve gone above and beyond constantly. How much of an asset you are, and most of all...”

Usagi looked up to JC, who was looking back at her, sadly, knowing exactly where this was headed.

“...How you were ready to become a Chief Engineer yourself.

“It’s selfish, I know,” Usagi said quietly while twisting her hair between her fingers, “but I can’t handle engineering without you. And I was afraid, with the shortage of qualified officers that they have right now, if they knew there was a qualified C-E candidate out there, they would take you away.”

Usagi felt tears coming to her eyes. “I’m standing in the way of your career.”

Much to her surprise, JC started to laugh. Usagi blinked and began to wipe the tears out of her eyes as she stared at the giggling engineer in confusion.

“That explains that then,” JC chuckled.

“What?” Usagi sniffled.

JC resumed eating, explaining between bites. “My mentor, Dr. Jules Calder, said he was pretty disappointed in what a mediocre officer I had become.”

“Oh no,” Usagi whined.

JC laughed. “No, no. I told him that I was on the Sisko. Told him about the crash, saving the Federation, various other things that weren’t classified then told him about you and he more or less accepted that I was excelling just fine.”

Usagi sighed. “Well, that’s a reli- what do you mean ‘told him about me’?”

JC grinned. “Well, that I had a very pretty boss who sometimes forgot to put my awesomeness into my performance reviews.”

Usagi smirked. “Yeah, okay then.”

“Look, I’m not planning on retiring any time soon,” JC continued. “So, if I stick around here as second banana for a while longer, that’s fine.”

“I’m glad,” Usagi concluded as the pair resumed eating.


JC was starting to become concerned. Usagi was not laughing anywhere near as much as he was. Could it be that she did not like this anime? He made her provide him with a list of her favorite manga and made a point to avoid them, given that he had also learned how much of a manga purist she was.

It only seemed to be some of the ridiculously absurd stuff that was really making her laugh.

*Why do women have to be so damned complicated?* He thought to himself. *Warp cores are complicated as well, but at least with a warp core you know what all the parts do, and if one part isn’t working you know how to fix it.*

JC nearly fell off the couch laughing at the antics on the screen in front of the pair. When he was done wiping the tears out of his eyes, he looked over to see Usagi, still leaning up against a pillow, smiling in an almost forced sort of way.

“Computer, pause,” JC ordered. The video monitor paused, causing Usagi to turn to JC.

“What’s wrong?”

“Good question.”

“I don’t understand.”

JC moved over closer to Usagi and poked her in the arm. “This has got to be the funniest thing to have been produced in the last two hundred years and you’re sitting here, lumpier than my couch cushions,” JC protested. “What’s the deal?” he demanded to know, poking Usagi again.

Usagi swatted at JC’s hand. “There’s no deal.”

JC poked her again.

“Quit poking me!” she ordered.

“Tell me what’s wrong then,” JC counter ordered.

Usagi grabbed JC’s arm as he went in for another poke. She then grabbed his shirt and pulled him close to her. Usagi moved her face near his and closed her eyes.

She then suddenly felt a hand on her chest, though not in the way she might have expected, nor hoped. It was in the center of her chest, pushing her back.

Her lips, so close to his, never made contact. Her eyes opened as his face moved away, a rather dry – blank – expression painted on it.

He quickly pushed Usagi away and moved back to his end of the couch.

“I’m married, Commander,” JC dryly stated, dropping all sense of informality.

Usagi blinked, realizing what exactly she had just done.

“Even if I didn’t love my wife,” he continued, “it would be inappropriate for us to have a relationship, seeing as how you’re my supervisor.”

Usagi began to cry.


JC began to shift, uncomfortably. “I’m sorry, Commander.”

Usagi shook her head. “No, you didn’t do anything wrong,” she continued to cry. JC, not exactly sure what to do in these kinds of situations, moved back closer to her and patted her on the back.

“I’m such a moron!” Usagi wailed. “Why would I do that?”

JC started to get nervous. If his neighbors heard her, they might think he did something wrong and call security.

“No, no,” JC patted her some more. “It happens all the time.”

Usagi turned to JC and looked at him oddly as she bawled.

“Let me get you some tissues,” he said, realizing his own attempts to help were not helping at all.

Usagi nodded as JC went to his bathroom to obtain the tissues. By the time he came back, Usagi’s wailing had died down to a normal crying.

JC handed his boss the tissues. After she had blown her nose a couple of times, and her crying had subsided a bit, she turned to JC again.

“Please don’t hate me for this.”

JC shook his head. “I couldn’t hate you.”

“I’m just so lonely that I make such... stupid decisions,” Usagi continued.

“How can you be lonely?” JC blinked. “You have friends that came on board with you.”

Usagi scoffed. “Rei is too busy for me with her work, and I really question how much she likes me anyway.”


“Makoto is also very busy, and I see her rarely. Minako only wants to hang out with Ryouga now,” Usagi sighed. “Besides, that’s really not the kind of ‘lonely’ I was talking about.”

“Oh,” JC replied. “I’ve seen you with lots of different security guys.”

Usagi turned and glared at JC.

“Wow, that sounded far worse than I meant for it too.”

“Not that I had sex with any of them, but I am not talking about sex either. I mean more like...” Usagi trailed off.

“What we were doing,” JC concluded.

Usagi nodded. “I don’t know what came over me. I guess I thought if I wanted something bad enough, regardless of whether or not it could happen; regardless of whether or not it was a good idea, I should try and make it happen.”

“Carpe diem, eh?”

“I don’t speak Klingon, but I get the gist of what you’re saying.” Usagi retorted.

JC sighed, paused for a second, then grabbed Usagi, hugging her, much to her surprise. She, however, did not resist his embrace.

“Comm- Usagi, you have no idea how much I love my wife. So, this is literally how far things will go between us,” JC rubbed Usagi’s back as he continued to speak. “I very much would like to continue to watch anime with you, especially if you are going to continue to bring over yummy food.”

Usagi laughed as she rested her head up against JC’s chest.


“I am so embarrassed!” Akane scowled at Ranma as the pair entered the turbolift. Ranma looked to Akane and laughed slightly at her pouting as he untied his bow tie.


“Yes, really!” she said, turning to him. “I mean, all those people!”

Ranma laughed again causing Akane to glare at him. He scooted over towards her and softly pushed her up against the side of the lift while smiling.

“You are aware they are holograms, right?” Ranma asked, his hands moving up and down the Bajoran style, blue evening gown Akane was wearing. Akane pushed Ranma's hands away slightly, to show her annoyance with him, but didn't necessarily do it in a fashion that would encourage him to stop.

“Maybe so,” she acknowledged, looking to her husband. “But you're the idiot who managed to get kicked out of a holographic nightclub.” Akane paused momentarily as Ranma again laughed quietly. “A holographic nightclub on your own ship, no less.”

Ranma nodded as he brought his lips to Akane's ear. “Gosnell's singing IS terrible,” he whispered, making sure he blew on her ear as he spoke. Akane slipped down the wall a bit from the intense feeling that came over her from Ranma's taunting. The Captain took Akane's hand as the turbolift slid to a stop and guided her out into the corridor.

The pair barely made it back to their quarters.


“What?” Ranma asked the image of his father on the bridge's main viewer.

“The Duran is missing,” Genma repeated. “She disappeared off sensors, however, she did not send out a distress call, or any other indication that she was in trouble, or under attack.”

“Maybe Duran go into Badlands?” Shampoo hypothesized.

“Maybe,” Genma acknowledged. “However, they had orders not to, so we are working under the assumption that something bad has happened.”

“We're still eight hours away,” Ranma sighed.

“Can you speed up?”

Ranma looked to the engineering station. Usagi shook her head negatively. Ranma turned back to the viewer and exhaled. “Unfortunately, no.”

Genma groused. “Well, if I find anything out, I will let you know.”

“Thanks. We'll keep sweeping the area as well.”

Genma nodded and closed the communication. Ranma turned to operations; both Minako and Kaii knew exactly what was about to be asked and both had an answer already prepared.

“I still can't penetrate the plasma storms,” Minako sighed. “If I narrow the band anymore, we'll start to see degradation in both range and accuracy.”

“I have been watching the area like a hawk, sir. I've seen nothing on scan,” Kaii added.

“The Duran?” Ranma asked.

Kaii sighed. “In order not to miss even the smallest glitch, I had my sensors ignoring Starfleet signatures.”

“That's why we didn't notice it missing.”

“Sorry,” Kaii apologized.

Ranma shook his head. “No, it's fine, that's probably the smarter thing to do.” Ranma walked down to his chair, sat down, and turned to Shampoo. “The Duran was a Nova class ship. She can't just be destroyed by a single shot without a distress call being sent out.”

“What if they jamming communications?” Shampoo asked.

Ranma pondered this. “We may want to set up a make-shift relay point then before we approach their last known location.”

“I can have Lt. Devall prepare Nighthawk for deployment,” Kaii called out.

Ranma nodded. “Make it so.” The Sisko's captain returned his attention to the starfield in front of him. There was nothing to do now but wait.


“Approaching The Badlands,” Ikuhara reported.

“Red alert,” Ranma ordered.

The ship's lighting changed, darkening the bridge. Weapons, shields, and emergency systems came to full battle readiness. Marines and security personal began running through the corridors into strategic positions.

“Is Lt. Devall ready?” Shampoo asked?

“Yes,” Kaii replied.

“Launch Nighthawk,” Ranma ordered.

The modified Type-11 shuttlecraft departed the Sisko's aft shuttle bay and then quickly cloaked. The Sisko, meanwhile, began to push at full impulse towards the perimeter of The Badlands.

“Pretty,” Shampoo commented on the massive cloud of plasma tornadoes and lightning that filled the Sisko's main viewscreen.

Ranma shrugged indifferently. The last time he was assigned here he was chasing down Maquis. It was not really his favorite assignment in Starfleet and coming back to The Badlands wasn't on his list of 'places Ranma would like to visit' either.

“Sir,” Minako called out. “I am picking up ship debris 6,000 kilometers outside of the plasma cloud.”

Shampoo lowered her head as Ranma sighed. “Federation?”

Minako nodded. “Yes.”

“Move us towards it,” Ranma ordered. Ikuhara adjusted the ship's trajectory and the Sisko began to approach the wreckage.

“Captain, Commander Shampoo's theory on communication jamming appears to be right,” Makoto stated.

“Yeah, I've lost our link with Nighthawk,” Kaii added. “Working on reestablishing.”

“Yes, please do,” Ranma requested.

“Where jamming coming from?” Shampoo asked.

“I don't know,” Minako replied. “I think we're being sensor dampened as well, as I barely have the Duran's debris on scan as well.”

“What the hell is going on here?” Ranma asked himself quietly.

“I've reestablished a link with the shuttle,” Kaii stated.

“What happened to you guys?” JC's voice said.

“Are you still in position?” Ranma asked.

“No,” JC replied. “You disappeared off scan, so I came to investigate.”


Ranma blinked. “Get it back online, fast.”

“We're in range of the Duran wreckage,” Ikuhara reported.

Shampoo turned to Minako. “See if you can download any and all information from their computers.”

Minako nodded as both Amanda and Makoto start to yell out.

“We're being targeted!” Amanda called out.

“I am getting intermittent sensor hits of ships,” Makoto reported.

Ranma turned to the viewscreen as a Jem'Hadar fighter slowly phased into the screen. Then another, then another. Then a Jem'Hadar warship. Then another, and another.

Ranma turned to Ikuhara. “GET US OUT OF HERE.”

Ikuhara turned the ship around and began to move it at full impulse in the opposite direction of the approaching ships.

“So far, I have fifteen ships...” Makoto trailed off.

“Holy shit...” JC mumbled. “You have a lot more than that. There are at least twenty fighters chasing you.”

The Sisko shook hard as the first ships managed to land their opening salvos.


Shampoo looked to Usagi. “Commander?”

“It's the environment. We can't establish a warp bubble till we get away from here.”

“Dreadnaught!” JC squawked.

“Oh crap,” Ranma and Makoto both whimpered as the ship rocked again.

“I have a target lock on some of the fighters!” Jansen grinned.

“KILL THEM!” both Ranma and Shampoo yelled.

The aft phaser banks and torpedo launchers on the Sisko lit up and began to decimate any fighter that attempted to get to close to her. However, the larger ships still were smacking the Sisko around, hard.

“AFT SHIELDS AT 20 PERCENT!” Makoto called out.

“If that dreadnaught shoots us, we're done for,” Ranma whispered to Shampoo. Shampoo nodded, not really wanting to think about what that massive ship's weapons would do to them.

“I think they're backing off,” JC called out.

Indeed, the shaking of the Sisko stopped. Usagi hopped out of her seat and raised her hands in victory.


“Ikuhara, take us one light-year and hold us there. Lt. Devall, meet up with us when you can.”

“Aye,” both officers replied.

The Sisko shot off into warp.