Captain’s log: Stardate 60004.8. It’s been a little over three days since the battle with the Kuno’s and the retrieval of our captured comrades. I’ve given Raye, Serena, and Mina the last couple of days off to come to terms with the loss of their friends. They have all returned to duty now. We are going to hold a memorial service for her and the 13 other crewmen of the pirate vessel. Enemies or not they deserve a proper funeral.
My XO says she will be ready for duty tomorrow. I hope she is. Maybe the lack of chairs will get my dad off the bridge. I keep telling him there are lots of places he can play games with Ambassador Tendo, but he says he likes being on the bridge.
As for repairs, we have done about as much as we can do here in space. We’re en route to Earth and to the San Francisco shipyards for more major repairs. I have my wayward helmsman in a spacesuit swabbing the decks. Don’t know what he’s swabbing off, but that will keep him out of my hair for a few days.
Ranma looked up from his computer. He was pretty tired. He hasn’t slept much in the last few days.
Tired or not, he always loved hearing about himself on the news. He was a glory hound. He’d never admit that to anyone, but hey. Who doesn’t like to be mentioned on the news? Except when it was bad news. He decided to see what information was on the Federation News Service.
He hit some buttons and a man appeared on the screen.
“-the space dock repair team said the damage would have been much worse if they would have accidentally fired a quantum torpedo. Current estimates put repairs to be completed in about six weeks. The captain of the ship in question, Captain Ranma Saotome, has refused to be interviewed.”
Ranma slapped his head. “D’oh!”
“In economic news, the Latium deposits on the Vulcan moon F’Knox was robbed about 6 hours ago. Sources say that a cloaked ship lowered the shields from orbit, transported the Latium to their ship, and beamed down their entire crew.
“Interrogators have 2 suspects. Brian Treeman and Be’Yach, both from Earth.”
The screen showed pictures of both Be’Yach and Brian. Ranma, having never seen either of them, thought nothing of it.
“They are piloting a 34-year-old surplus Klingon Bird of Prey. They are cloaked but are only traveling at impulse. Investigators say that they have several starships searching for them, but without a warp trail they may be impossible to find.
“For the Federation News Service, this is Jim Grimes.”
The transmission ended. Thanks to the description of the ship he knew who the thieves were.
“Saotome to Mousse.” Ranma called.
“Yes sir?” Mousse replied.
“Send the Starfleet team investigating the Latium heist the reports from the captured officers. Let them know that we’re sorry we can’t be of any more help.”
“Aye, sir.” Mousse replied, closing the connection.
Ranma checked the time. 17:50. The memorial service was planned for 18:00. He knew he had to be there to support the three who lost their friend.
Ranma didn’t understand how someone who could do what she did to Shampoo could be a friend to people as nice as Serena, Mina, and Raye. Ranma did know that people are not always as they seem. He’s also learned that situations aren’t always as they appear.
Ranma stood and walked out onto the bridge. He noticed Shampoo was there, sitting in her chair. He smiled at her. “Nice to see you back on the bridge, Shampoo.”
Shampoo sent back an attempt to smile, but she was still sore and tired. Ranma understood that she had pride so he wasn’t going to point out an obvious weakness.
He took a look at the view screen expecting to see stars. Instead, he saw a ship start to de-cloak.
“MOUSSE! SHEILDS!” Ranma screamed.
Shampoo stood. They expected to see the pirate ship.
They did not expect to see what they saw.
Right in front of them sat a Defiant-class ship. Ranma turned to Mousse, but he stopped him before Ranma could even start.
“They’re hailing us.” Mousse told him.
“On screen,” Ranma said.
The man who appeared on the screen wasn’t someone Ranma was familiar with. He did notice that he bore the rank of admiral.
“Sorry to startle you, Captain.” The admiral said.
“Not at all.” Ranma lied. “What can we do for you?”
“I’m Admiral Ed LeBlanc with Starfleet Intelligence. I understand you have the bodies of some of those killed in the clash with the pirates. Is this correct?”
Ranma nodded. Why would Starfleet Intelligence be investigating a theft? Sure it was a lot of money, but the Federation has A LOT more where that came from. They are in possession of the 10 biggest Latium nebulas in the quadrant.
“Is one of them a female named Lita Kino?” The admiral asked.
Ranma looked to Mina who looked back at him just as confused.
“Yes sir,” Ranma replied.
“Good. We will be transporting her body to our ship.”
“May I ask why, Admiral?” Ranma pondered already knowing the answer.
“You may ask.” The admiral mused. “However I have been ordered not to say anything. You know how it goes. Need to know and no one needs to know. To be honest I don’t even know. Lately, I have just been S-I’s transport bitch.”
Ranma laughed with the Admiral. “Mousse, lower the shields and order the transporter chief to transport.”
“No need Captain. We have her now. Thank you. And as you may know, when doing dealing with S-I, this never happened.”
“What never happened?” Ranma grinned.
“Thank you, Captain. See you around.” The Admiral grinned.
The screen went back to the exterior shot as the ship re-cloaked.
“I hope not,” Ranma mumbled. Seeing S-I around too often wasn’t a good thing. It’s kind of like too many police in your vicinity. Sure, you aren’t doing anything wrong, but still.
The aft turbolift opened and Serena and Raye walked onto the bridge.
“Why was Lita transported off the ship?” Raye fumed.
Mina stood up. “S-I wanted her.”
“What? Why?” Serena bellowed.
Mina just shrugged. Ranma walked to the back of the bridge. “Who knows why S-I does anything they do. I am sure they have their reasons. Ours is not to question why ours is but to do and die.”
Ranma turned to Shampoo. “I’m willing to assume that you have no interest in being apart of the memorial service?”
Shampoo just crossed her arms. “No interest is an understatement.”
Ranma understood. “Very well. You have the bridge.”
Shampoo nodded her acknowledgment as she moved to the captain’s chair.
Ranma walked past the two female officers and into the lift. The doors closed.
The service was scheduled to happen on deck 17, where the torpedo launchers were. The caskets were to be launched into space.
The lift stopped on deck 10. The doors opened and Gosnell stepped in.
“Going to the service?” Ranma asked.
Gosnell nodded. “I knew her. She and I were – close.”
Ranma put his hand on his old friend’s shoulder. “I’m sorry. She’s not there anymore though?”
“What?” Gosnell asked.
“Starfleet sent someone to take her body.”
Gosnell shook his head. “Why?”
“I don’t know,” Ranma replied. “They just said they needed her body.”
The doors opened deck 17 and the two walked out.
“I don’t believe she did what they say she did. I don’t believe she could possibly have been involved in criminal activity.” Gosnell paused. “Well, maybe a little bit, but she would never hurt anyone.”
Ranma shook his head. “Shampoo was almost killed. Akane said that if she hadn’t gotten treatment when she did she would have been dead.”
Gosnell sighed. “It’s just not her.”
Ranma stayed silent. It was obvious that his friend was hurting and he didn’t want to make it any worse.
“So,” Gosnell spoke up. “Did you tell her?”
“Tell who what?”
“You know.” Gosnell grinned.
“WHAT?! NO!! I –“ Ranma cut himself off. He’s hardly spoken two words to Akane since she got back. Well, outside of official business that is.
“Tsk, Tsk Captain. I would think that this last mission would have made you realize that you may not always have a chance. Don’t blunder like me and not say anything.”
Ranma realized why Gosnell was so adamant about him telling Akane his feelings. Could it be that Lita was the one that Gosnell didn’t tell his feeling to?
Gosnell answered that question for him.
“Maybe that’s what happened. Maybe she just thought that no one loved her?” Gosnell didn’t really want that question answered.
“Gozz –“ Ranma said, stopping Gosnell. “If a person has a good heart, they have a good heart. That can’t change.”
Gosnell started walking again without Ranma. “Something sure as hell did.”
10 DAYS LATER – LOCATION UNKNOWN
The room is very brightly lit. Not what you’d expect from a Starfleet Intelligence room at all. It was a sickbay.
Admiral LeBlanc had just arrived. He just had Lita’s body transported down. The door slid open.
“Don’t turn around.” A prissy female voice said.
“Yes ma’am.” The admiral replied.
“Where was she?” A raspy male voice asked.
“She was serving as the XO of the pirate ship that raided the Latium deposits.”
A third voice spoke up. “I need to examine her. If she’s been in stasis we can save her. When she was blown out the breech she was flash frozen.”
“What about the implant?” The male voice asked.
“It’s obviously dysfunctional. She wasn’t supposed to try and kill Starfleet Officers.” The third voice replied. The man walked into the room. He was in a biohazard suit.
The two others were still in the doorway. They could tell the admiral was becoming uneasy.
“I think I should leave before I hear more than I want to.”
“Fine.” The female said. “You did a good job. I want you to keep an eye on the Sisko though. Her friends are on board and I don’t want them to do anything to compromise the mission.”
“Any more than it has already been.” The male finished. “Last time we get anything from the Dominion.”
The admiral moved his position a little. “What if they start investigating on their own?”
“It won’t happen.” The male said. “Their captain is very by the book. He will keep them in line.”
The admiral nods. “LeBlanc to Roseville. Beam me up.”
The admiral vanished in the usual pretty transporter effect.
The male and the female hop onto the exam table.
“Don’t worry, Lita.” The female said. “You’ll be fine.”
Lita’s body let out a breath. She then started to breathe again. Her eyes opened.
“What happened?” She whimpered.
“I’ll explain it all later.” The male replied.
“Is the implant out?” The female asked.
The medical tech nodded. “Yes ma’am.”
“Her memories?” The male asked.
“Damn.” The female said. “Poor child is going to have to deal with the guilt of what she did to her friends.”
The male nodded. “It will be a while before she’ll be ready for another mission.”
The female agreed. “I’m going to stay with her. Get a hold of that useless Vorta and get our money back.”
“Gotcha.” The male replied as he hopped down and left the room.
The tech turned to the table. “I managed to repair most of the damaged parts of her brain. She still may have some aggressive tendencies. More than before the implant at least.
“What – what did I do?” Lita asked the female.
The female shook her head. “It wasn’t you. You remember the photographic memory implant we gave you?”
Lita tried to nod, but she was still pretty weak.
“For whatever reason, it fused with the part of your brain that controls your ethics and anger. It killed those parts. We then lost contact with you. The rest is, well history.”
“My friends-“ Lita began to cry.
“They’re fine, Lita. CB is with the Roseville and is going to keep an eye on them and may make contact with them if necessary.”
“I tried to kill Raye!” Lita remembers, crying even more heavily.
The female sighed. “I know it will take you a while to understand this, but it wasn’t you. It was the implant.”
Lita just closed her eyes and continued to cry. The female turned to the tech.
“Make sure she gets some food. And when she’s okay to return to her quarters let me and A know.”
“Yes ma’am.” The tech replied.
The female hoped off the table and walked out the door. Before the door closed she turned, took one last look at Lita, and shook her head.
“For the Federation.” She told herself. “All for the protection of the Federation.”
She walked off. She only wished that she could honestly believe that it was worth all that they were doing.
Things were changing. Maybe the term ‘all costs’ needed to be removed from section 31 of the Federation Charter. It’d be a shame if the people dedicated to its protection actually destroyed what they were protecting.