We’re alive. He grinned as he saw the fireball on the view screen that used to be the Kuno cube.
“Status,” Ranma stated.
Ranma stands up and looks around. The rear wall of the bridge was on fire. Mousse was unconscious on the floor. Mina was unconscious, laying across her console, and Ryouga was nowhere to be seen.
Ranma ran over and checked Mina’s vitals. She’s alive. He continued to the tactical station. He checked Mousse. He’s alive.
Mousse let out a groan. “We won?”
Ranma nodded. “I need to know how the pirate ship is.”
Mousse nods. He stands up and begins to check out his console.
Across the bridge, Mina lets out a groan. “Owch.”
“You okay, Commander?” Ranma called out.
“Yeah,” Mina says as she tries to get her panel to work.
Mousse shakes his head. “They are in bad shape. Multiple hull breaches – there are a few bodies floating out there – “ Mousse pauses. “I don’t think any of them are our crew.”
Ranma taps his communicator. “Transporter room – Are transporters online?”
“Aye, sir.” The transporter chief replies.
“Beam all the bodies that are outside of the pirate ship to sickbay.” Ranma turns to Mina. “You have the bridge. Mousse, get some security officers and come with me.”
Mousse hits his comm. badge and initiates the order to meet them in transporter room two. Then he and Ranma get into the turbolift and leave the bridge as replacement officers come onto the bridge.
MOMENTS EARLIER ON THE PIRATE SHIP
Lita looks around as several explosions rock the ship. Shampoo uses this distraction to apply a pressure point to Lita’s hand, causing her to drop the knife. Shampoo then does a really impressive spinning jump kick, sending Lita backward towards the turbolift.
Suddenly another explosion causes the ship to lurch violently. Shampoo falls forward and Serena drops the phaser she had. Lita also falls over.
Another explosion. This one takes out the wall behind Lita. Lita is blown out into open space. Shampoo and Serena also go flying towards the breech when the emergency force shield kicks in. The momentum carries Shampoo into the force shield. The electrical charge in the force shield causes her to get knocked back forward about 10 feet.
Serena runs over to Shampoo who acknowledges that she will be okay. Serena looks around for Lita.
“Lita?” Serena cries. “LITA!”
Shampoo shakes her head. She points to the breach. “She’s gone.”
Serena drops to her knees and cries.
Shampoo just stays on the floor, still reeling from what just about happened to her.
Be’Yach screams. It was an engagement ring that Brian just handed her.
“I love you too!” She squeaked, kissing him passionately. “This is the best day ever!”
Be’Yach’s attitude was immediately changed when she went flying off the chair after the first explosion hit.
Brian’s ship comes to a stop and the cloak disengages. Brian, who was also thrown to the floor attempts to stand up, but is sent back to the floor by another explosion.
“30 MINUTES MY ASS! SHIELDS!” He screamed to the crewman operating the console.
“THEY ARE UP, BUT NOT HOLDING!” He screamed back. “77%!” Another explosion. “54%!”
“RETURN FIRE!” Be’Yach yelled, crawling over to a handrail.
“Weapons offline.” The crewman replied.
Another one perked up. “Engines offline – Warp core overloading – breach in 45 seconds!”
“Shit!” Brian cried. “Eject the core.”
The engineering officer nods. “Ejected.”
Another explosion rocks the ship.
“Sheilds down.” The first crewman dryly states.
“We’re dead in the water.” Be’Yach whimpered, tightly holding onto the handrail with one hand and her ring with the other.
Two more explosions hit.
“HULL BREACH! DECK 3 SECTION A AND DECK 9 SECTION B!” A crew person screams.
Brian grabs Be’Yach and starts to pull her towards a door on the port side of the bridge. “ABANDON SHIP!”
The crew people on the bridge hit some buttons and take off. They didn’t need to be told twice.
“WAIT, SIR! A Starfleet ship has engaged the Kuno cube!” A crew person who, for some reason that isn’t really relevant, was still at his station noted.
Brian looks to Be’Yach. She nods to him. They return to their seats. “Start repairs.”
“Sir – there are bodies outside the breeches.”
Be’Yach pulls out her communicator. “Be’Yach to Lita – Status.”
“Be’Yach to Lita. Respond please.”
Brian bows his head.
“The Kuno ship has been destroyed!” A very happy crewman states.
Moments later, another one who isn’t nearly as happy pipes up. “Shit – We’re being boarded. Federation security team. 16 people.”
“SECURE THE BRIDGE!” Brian screams. He grabs a security guard running by. “Don’t let ANYONE through that door, do you understand me?”
The frightened officer nods.
“What do we do?” Be’Yach whispers.
Brian sighs. “Wait it out. Hope that they cut their losses, get their people, and leave.”
“What if some of the bodies outside the breaches are their crew?”
Brian puts his head in his hands. “Then we’re in a shit load of trouble. We need to get impulse back online.”
Be’Yach starts to walk off but Brian keeps his grip on her hand. “You stay. Someone else can do it.”
Ranma and seven security officers materialize on Deck 5 the deck where the brig is. It’s dark. The Kuno onslaught knocked out most of the power to the deck.
“Okay people. Be careful who you are shooting at. Our people may not still be in uniform.” Ranma orders. The officers acknowledge the order and follow Ranma.
“The brig is 50 meters down this corridor.” The lead security officer notes.
The group walks down the corridor. Two officers get in front of Ranma and hit the door release. It slides open and the team storms in.
The resistance they encounter is minimal. As a matter of fact, there wasn’t any. Both the officers who were guarding the brig were killed in the Kuno assault.
“AKANE!” Ranma called out.
“RANMA!” Akane replied. The group goes over to the cell where her voice is heard. The force shield is still active. Inside the cell are Akane and Raye.
“Where’s Shampoo and Serena?” Ranma asks.
“They took Serena to interrogate her and Shampoo went to rescue her,” Akane informs Ranma as one of the officers gets the force shield to drop.
Ranma grabs three of the 5 communicators he brought. He tosses them to each person. He then hits his own. “Saotome to Sisko – Three to beam directly to sickbay.”
“Aye, sir.” The transporter chief replied. “Also, sir, we’re got your father and the ambassador. They’re fine.”
“Thank you, Chief,” Ranma replied. “I’ll be back there in a few Akane.”
Akane smiled as the transporter beam grabs them. “I knew you’d come.”
Ranma smiles and mouths something to Akane as she disappears. He then turns to the rest of his team. “Time to find the others. Saotome to Mousse – Akane, and Raye have been rescued. Any luck?”
Between phaser shots, Mousse manages to get off a reply. “No sir. They have about twenty people guarding the door to the bridge. Transporting in can’t happen due to those damned Klingon transport inhibitors.”
“Do what you can,” Ranma replied. “We’re going to search for the others. Saotome out.”
“You heard him!” Mousse yells to his guards.
The guards continue their phaser assault of the pirates guarding the bridge, but fail to obtain any ground.
A federation security officer screams as he is hit with a phaser blast. The pirates have begun to get the upper hand, and are advancing on the security forces.
Mousse grumbles to himself. He hates to say what he is about to say. He turns to one of the officers.
“We need a better position. Fall back.”
The guard nods in agreement and motions for two of the officers to fire rapid-fire shots, enough to hold off the pirates while the others start to move back into the corridor.
Another officer screams as he is dropped. Mousse turns to him, and then Mousse gets hit in the arm. The second in command officers slaps his comm badge.
“Valdez to Saotome. Lt. Mousse has been hit, we’ve lost two of our team, request instructions.”
“Get out of there. Return to the Sisko.” Ranma’s voice orders.
“Aye, sir – Valdez to Sisko – Lock on to our coordinates and transport us directly to sickbay!”
An acknowledgment is heard and the security team vanishes. One of the pirates pulls out his communicator. “Captain – the assault on the bridge has been neutralized. They’ve left the ship.”
Brian looks to a lackey manning a station. “There are still seven Starfleet bastards on the ship.” The lackey informs him. “Plus two of the prisoners.”
“Is the cloak working yet?” Brian asked.
Be’Yach, who had scurried over to another station, answers. “Yeah.”
Brian shakes his head. “Transport ALL of the Starfleet personnel to their ship, engage the cloak and get us out of here, best possible speed in any freakin’ direction. Just get us out of here.”
Be’Yach nods to him. Brian walks over to a closet in the aft of the bridge and grabs a bottle. “Guess I picked the wrong day to stop drinking!”
Be’Yach calls out to Brian. “They’re gone, and we’re cloaked.”
Brian took a swig of his swill. “Roll call. Find out who’s missing and not responding.”
Be’Yach and a lackey work at their station for a couple of minutes.
“Brian – we’ve lost-“ Be’Yach shakes her head. “37 crewmen.”
Brian can only stare at Be’Yach. 37 are a lot on a ship like the Sisko with almost 500 crew, but it’s a tremendous loss on this ship. Brian only had 61 people, including him.
“It appears that 14 of them were blown out of hull breaches.” The lackey adds.
Brian just shakes his head. In the last major confrontation he was in, he lost one crewman. And even that was too much.
“Find out whose bodies are still on board. They deserve a funeral. We also should have a memorial for those blown out the breeches.”
Be’Yach nods and issues the order to the lackey. She then looks in her hand. She had been holding onto the ring so hard that the diamond cut her hand. She walks over to Brian and takes his hand.
“We’ll be alright.” She says.
Brian nods. He takes the ring from her hand. He gets out of his chair, gets on one knee, and slides the ring on her finger.
“Something needs to go right today.”
“Commander.” A bridge officer calls to Mina. “The away team and two others have been beamed back to the ship.”
Mina stands and looks to the screen as the bird of prey cloaks.
“Aino to Saotome. What’s your status?”
Ranma’s voice replies. “We’re fine. Who all was beamed aboard.”
Mina looks to the officer. “Commander Tsukino and Commander Shampoo were beamed into sickbay. Then I show you and the six members of the assault team were transported to a cargo bay.”
“Glad the other two are on board,” Ranma called out. “I’ll be in sickbay.”
“Aye, sir. The bird of prey cloaked. What do you want to be done.” Mina asked.
“We’re in no condition to chase them or get caught in another confrontation. Let them go.” Ranma replied.
“Aye, sir. Aino out.” Mina sat back down. She was still worried about Serena. Raye, though, was able to take care of herself.
Ranma walked in. Sickbay was very busy. There were massive injuries in the battles, but surprisingly only one Sisko crewmember lost their life.
Ranma was happy about that. He always felt overly bad for those who lost their lives in battle, even though he knew that sometimes that was part of the job.
What really got to him were the 14 bodies lying in the far end of sickbay. The bodies retrieved from the bird of prey’s hull breaches. Most of them were in plain clothes, but one was wearing a uniform. He almost thought it was one of his officers, but then he realized the uniform was a little different than Starfleet ones.
Ranma walked over to where Akane was examining Shampoo. Raye was standing next to Serena who was also being examined by a different medical tech.
“How is she?” Ranma asked Akane who seemed a little startled to hear his voice.
“Well, she’s been beaten and there are traces of electrical damage to her muscles. She is going to need to stay in here for a while, but I think she will be fine in the long run.”
Ranma nodded and smiled at her. “I’m glad you’re okay.”
Akane only smiled back and returned to her work.
“How are you, counselor?”
Raye shook her head. “Physically I am fine.”
Ranma didn’t know exactly what that meant.
“Her –“ Raye pointed to Lita’s body on an exam table being prepped to go into stasis. “We knew here. She was –“ Raye paused, choking back what seemed to be a tear. “a friend.”
Ranma put his hand on her shoulder. She gave him a forced smile.
Ranma walked over to where Serena was. She was very shaken up. Ranma looked down at her and smiled. She also was required to force a smile.
“How are you?” He asked her.
Serena shook her head. “Been better.”
Ranma nodded in understanding. “You knew her too?”
Serena nodded. “I don’t understand.”
Ranma tapped his comm. badge. “Saotome to Bridge – Commander Aino, can you come to sickbay?”
“Acknowledged.” Mina’s voice replied.
Ranma looked at Serena again and turned to Raye. “I’m sorry for your loss. As your captain I don’t expect you to return to duty for a couple of days. As your friend, I just want to say if you need anything, let me know.”
Raye and Serena both nod a thank you to Ranma. He then turns to Akane. “I’ll be on the bridge. Don’t be a stranger.”
Akane chuckled and nodded.
Ranma walked out of sickbay. He noticed Mina in the hallway. “They need a friend.” He informed her. She nodded and went in.
Mina smiled when she saw Raye. She jogged over to her and gave her a hug. She then gave Serena an even bigger one. Serena was crying. She looked to Raye who also almost looked like she was about to cry.
“What’s wrong?” Mina asked.
Raye simply pointed. Mina turned to the far side of sickbay.
“Oh my God.”
Tatewaki was not one for confined spaces. The cube was fine because it was enormous. The escape pod – not so good.
“I, Tatewaki Kuno, demand we get a bigger ship.” He grumbled.
“I, Kodachi – the black rose, concur.” Kodachi concurred.
George just rolled his eyes. “And where the hell do you suggest we get one?”
Tatewaki pointed to a sensor blip. “How about that one?”
George smacks Tatewaki. “THAT’S THE SHIP THAT JUST NEARLY KILLED US!”
Kodachi squeezed her way up to the main console. “How about that one?” She pointed.
George nearly blew a gasket. “THAT’S THE SAME SHIP! Don’t you idiots know anything about space travel?”
The elder Kuno’s looked at each other for a few seconds. “Daddy did all the steering.” Kodachi finally answered.
“You know that you could read his thoughts. All you had to do was pull his piloting memories up.” George explained.
Tatewaki looked at his sister who felt equally as stupid. Tacchi, in no hurry to admit he was a moron, looked back to George. “Yeah well if you are so good then why was our ship destroyed?”
George turned around and pounced on the Blue Thunder. “MORON BECAUSE YOU LOWERED THE SHIELDS TO BEAM AKANE TENDO AND THAT BLASTED PIG TAILED GIRL ON BOARD!”
“Don’t forget about my darling Ranma!” Kodachi helpfully added.
George looked up at his non-biological sister. “Idiots! Both of you! Idiots! You do know that the pig-tailed girl and Ranma Saotome are the same person, right?”
Kodachi looks to her brother who is becoming very blue from George choking him. “Nonsense.” She replies.
“YEAH-GAK!” Kuno gasps. George releases his grip on Tacchi’s neck. “It’s sorcery from the evil Ranma Saotome!”
George rolls his eyes. “Even I know this and I’m a new character!”
“SORCERY!” Kuno bellows.
“SILENCE BROTHER!” Kodachi yells, whipping out her rhythmic gymnastic tools.
Tacchi draws his bokken. “ON GUARD DEAR SISTER!”
George gets shoved to the deck as the two attack each other in this one-man escape pod. George begins to dig around for a phaser. He’s either going to kill them or himself. He’s not quite sure which yet.
Ranma steps out of the turbolift. He looks around the bridge. It’s in bad shape. There are wires hanging from the walls, steam shooting from some pointless steam duct, and a couple of exploded panels. Ralph Nader would have kittens if he knew how easily things exploded on a starship.
He looks to his chair.
Not a scratch.
“How nice.” Ranma grins as he sits down. “Ensign Hibiki – Set course for space dock. Warp 4.”
An ensign at the helm turns around. It’s not Ryouga though. She is wearing a bandana like Ryouga’s. Hopefully, she’s not a long-lost cousin.
Ranma laughs at his own joke when he realizes a missing crewman is not a laughing matter.
“I don’t know where Ensign Hibiki is sir. But warp is not working right now.” She replies.
Stupid warp. And damn that damn Ryouga. He’s probably down in sickbay drooling over Akane, Ranma thinks. “Computer – Where is Ensign Ryouga Hibiki?”
The computer replies. “Ensign Hibiki is not aboard the Sisko.”
“WHAT?” Ranma fumes. “Where the hell is he?”
“He transported off the Sisko at 23:19.” The computer replies.
20 minutes ago. “Where did he go?” Ranma asks.
“Ensign Hibiki transported to the Klingon vessel.” Says the computer.
“Wonderful,” Ranma growls. He turns around. At least Mousse was at his station. He notices that Mousse is blankly staring at the viewscreen though. Ranma understood. Even though he’d never admit it, he’d probably be just as distraught if Akane was the one who was nearly killed.
“Are you okay, Lt.?” Ranma asks.
Mousse just nods.
“Akane says she’s going to be okay.”
Mousse finds some comfort in that. Not much though.
“Can you figure out where the bird of prey went?” Ranma asks.
Mousse shakes his head. That’s a negative. “All sensors are down. Communications down, shields, weapons, you name it, it’s broke.”
“That moron. Hope he can fend for himself for a while.” Ranma angrily said, adjusting himself in his chair. It was going to be a long night.
MEANWHILE ON THE CRIPPLED BIRD OF PREY
“WHERE THE HELL AM I NOW?” Ryouga screamed.
The Klingon computer barked a reply. Again. “You are STILL on deck 8, section C.”
“WHERE’S AKANE?!” Ryouga yelled at it.
“There is STILL no Akane on board.” The computer dryly replied. It would seem this computer wasn’t anywhere as near as friendly as the Starfleet ones. And this one was getting really sick and tired of Ryouga. It seems only Ryouga could make an inanimate object like a computer become annoyed.
Ryouga was starting to realize that maybe this wasn’t one of the best ideas he had ever had. He had to be the one to rescue Akane though. If Ranma found her first it would be just one more battle against his archenemy that he had lost.
Ryouga came to the conclusion that another loss wouldn’t be acceptable. So while no one was looking, Ryouga set the ship on autopilot and snuck to the transporter room.
He then rigged it not to alert the crew of the bird of prey by transporting himself to the laundry room. It was weird because for whatever reason that was the only room on the ship without security sensors. It was certainly convenient for boarding discreetly though.
Unfortunately for Ryouga that just gave him farther to go from where he appeared to the brig. He knew that the brig was on deck 5, but he had no idea how to get there. He was pretty sure he’d seen this plasma conduit before.
Somehow he convinced himself that getting lost on this ship wasn’t his fault. He had concluded that every section of the ship looked alike. To top off his troubles the Klingon computers wouldn’t give him directions to sensitive locations, like the brig.
He also realized that the Sisko was LONG gone now. The shooting had stopped. The ship had re-cloaked and he couldn’t hear any more phaser fire. Could it be that the bastard just gave up and left without Akane?
“All I have to do is find a turbolift,” Ryouga told himself. He knew he had a problem though when he found out that none of the doors were labeled.
“Damned Klingons!” He cursed.
Suddenly he heard footsteps. Ryouga slinked into a shadow and waited. He would force this guy to tell him where Akane was.
The man walked past Ryouga. Ryouga pounced.
The man hit the ground with Ryouga on top of him. Ryouga pulled his phaser and held it to the back of the guy’s head.
“WHERE’S AKANE?!” Ryouga screamed.
The man slightly turned his head. It was Brian.
“AKANE! ONE OF THE PEOPLE YOU KIDNAPPED! THE LOVE OF MY LIFE! THAT’S WHO!” Ryouga screamed.
Brian got a look at him a little better. “STARFLEET! I thought we sent all of you yahoo’s back.”
Ryouga shifted a little. “WHAT?”
“I transported everyone back to your ship.”
“Yes, Akane too,” Brian replied.
“Oh.” Ryouga chuckled. “Can you take me back then?”
“Not with you sitting on top of me,” Brian replied.
Ryouga got off of him but kept his phaser trained on him. Brian shook his head.
“That’s not necessary. I just want out of this mess. I’m going to take you to a shuttle-bay. You can have a shuttlecraft. I can’t take you back there. They’ll blow me out of the sky!”
Ryouga nodded. “Take me to a shuttlecraft then. I’ll keep this out though.” He said, motioning towards the phaser.
“Whatever,” Brian replied, starting to walk towards a turbolift. “I’m wasted I could give a shit.”
The two stepped into the turbolift. Ryouga was even more pissed now that he realized he walked past that turbolift at least four times.
“How do I know that you really released her?” Ryouga growled.
Brian sighed. “Computer. How many Starfleet officers are on board now?”
The computer obliged. “One.”
Ryouga shoved the phaser back in Brian’s face. “I knew it! You do still have her.”
Brian rolled his eyes. “Were you born stupid or did you just grow that way? The one Starfleet officer is you.”
Ryouga had to acknowledge that the logic behind that was sound. Well, the part about him being the one Starfleet officer, not the part about him being stupid. He still wasn’t convinced though.
“No – I want you to take me up to the brig so I can see for myself.” Ryouga smiled at his own idea. He was so smart.
“Oh come on, man!” Brian complained. “I’m tired and I suspect I am going to begin puking at any moment.”
Ryouga poked Brian with the phaser. “No! Do as I say! Diddy MOW! DIDDY MOW I SAY!”
“Diddy mow?” Brian asked.
“I saw it in a movie.”
“Whatever.” Brian groaned. “Computer, change – Brig.”
The lift shifted in directions. After a short while, it stopped. The doors opened and three guards saw Ryouga and started to draw their weapons.
“No, no,” Brian called to them. “He just wants to see something then he’s leaving. Finish your fixing.”
The guards nodded and resumed their work. Brian took Ryouga into the cell area. “See. Empty.”
Ryouga took a look around. He walks back over to Brian.
“How do I know you don’t have her somewhere else?”
Brian let out an exasperated sigh. “Shit dude. Here, go wander the ship and let me know when you are ready to leave. I’m going to sleep.”
Ryouga knew that if he started wandering again it could be years before he got off this blasted rattrap. Ryouga calls to Brian as he starts to walk out of the brig.
“No, wait. I believe you. Take me to the shuttle bay.”
Brian motions for him to catch up. The two get back into the lift.
“Shuttle bay One.” Brian orders.
The lift complies.
Ryouga decides that he has another question for the pirate captain. “Why did you kidnap them?”
Brian groans. Talking made his head hurt. “I needed the frequencies for the metaphasic shielding at the lunar Latium depository.” Brian didn’t even realize that he just signed his own arrest warrant if this guy told on him.
Ryouga, not thinking replies. “492.225 gigahertz. But they moved the deposits to a Vulcan moon.”
Brian stands perfectly still. Screw the arrest warrant, this guy’s a dumbass! However, now Brian is very pissed off at himself. Could it have been that easy? All of this, the death, the torture, the damage, THE PANDA, and the answer came to him that easily? “Umm – is - is the frequency the same?”
“Yeah – metaphasic shields only work in the 492 gigahertz band,” Ryouga replies, not realizing how helpful he’s being. The fact that he is going to have to come up with something good to save his job is distracting him.
The lift doors open. They walk into the shuttle bay.
“You shouldn’t have any problem departing. Our warp core is gone so we are only moving at impulse. Your ship is that way somewhere.” Brian points to his left.
“Thanks.” Ryouga shoots the captain, boards the shuttle, and departs. Brian starts to stagger to his feet.
“Fuck. Three bottles of Jack and a phaser blast don’t mix well.” He notes to himself as he sprints to the bridge.
As he enters the lift he mumbles to himself. “I never take the right prisoners. See this is why I don’t take prisoners. It’s settled. No more prisoners, especially Starfleet prisoners. Talk about a pain in the ass!”
He whips out his communicator. “Brian to Be’Yach! You will never believe what just happened!”
ON THE SISKO A FEW HOURS LATER
“Captain!” Mousse called out.
Ranma turned to Mousse. Ranma hoped it was good news. He was already pissed that his dad had decided to play rank and take his chair. The XO seat wasn’t anywhere near as comfortable.
“Long-range sensors online. There is a Klingon shuttlecraft 2 light-years bearing 209 mark 002. It’s got one person on board with a Starfleet communicator. It’s just flying in circles.” Mousse replied.
“Hail the idiot,” Ranma ordered.
Mousse complied. Ryouga appeared on the screen. “Uh – Hi Ranma.”
Ranma shook his head. “What the hell are you doing?”
Ryouga looked at his panel and then back at Ranma. “Oh, just hanging around. You know how it goes.”
Mousse laughed. Ranma was about to scold him when he realized Genma was laughing too.
“Christ. Ryouga, go to a full stop. We’ll be there in a little bit to pick you up. Sisko out.”
The screen went back to the starfield. “Go to him,” Ranma ordered the helmsman. She obliged and the ship took off at low warp towards Ryouga.