“MY DARLING SHAMPOO!” Mousse bawled.
Ranma groaned. “Okay then, Mina, can you get me a damage report?”
Mina checked out her terminal. “Main power out on all decks, backup power out on decks 6 to 14, hull breaches on decks 4, 5, and 17, emergency force fields are in place and stable. Weapons are offline. Shields, both navigational and defensive are offline. Warp engines are offline. Impulse power at ten percent –“ Her panel chirped at her. “Nix that. Impulse power offline.”
“Any good news?” Ranma asked, not really wanting an answer.
“Ah – um – no. Wait, yes. Sort of. The Kuno ship is still retreating. I think. Long-range sensors and communications are-“
“Offline?” Ranma guessed. Mina nodded. “Okay, first things first. Get engines, shields, and weapons back online. We need to go get Akane and the others.”
“Aye.” Mina acknowledged.
Ryouga starts mumbling to himself.
“What was that, Ensign?” Ranma glared.
“I was just commenting to myself that I bet they don’t even notice the scratch I made,” Ryouga commented, never taking his eyes off the starfield on the viewer.
Ranma shakes his head and walks over to his ready room.
Ranma rubs his face.
“Door hydraulics offline!” Mina calls out.
Ranma rolls his eyes as he pries the door open.
He walks over to his desk. He looks outside the window and notices the planet seems to be rotating in an odd direction. He then realizes that the planet is just fine. The Sisko seems to be doing cartwheels.
“Cool.” Ranma acknowledged. He walks back over to the door. “Hey, Mina. You might wanna put stabilizing the ship’s yaw on the top of your list before we spin into a star or something.”
“You know, I thought I felt something. Navigational thrusters are offline.” Mina grumbles in acknowledgment.
Ranma pulls his doors closed and sits down at his desk. He puts his head down. “Damn Akane.”
Cool plagiarized Star Trek doorbell sound here.
“Come in” Ranma calls.
“Doors don’t work!” He could hear Mina yell. The person on the other side pries the doors open and walks in.
“Gosnell.” Ranma acknowledges.
Gosnell rubs his face and slides the doors closed. He sets a glass on Ranma’s desk. “Thought you might be thirsty.”
Ranma sniffs it, then downs it. He screams. “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!”
Gosnell grins. “Vodka. Straight up. My old Captain loved it.”
Ranma grins. “Thanks. Hey, I'm sorry I yelled at you earlier.”
Gosnell shrugs. “It was my bad.”
The two sit in silence for a few minutes. Ranma, totally lost in thought.
Damn Akane. If she hadn’t been here she wouldn’t have gotten captured. I can just imagine what her father is going to do to me once he finds out. Ranma notices that his glass is full again. He slams it and resumes his thoughts. Stupid pops giving me this assignment.
A shudder goes through the ship. His communicator chirps.
“Captain, Commander Anio here. Ships yaw stabilized. Also, I fixed the doors.”
“Good work Commander. Saotome out.” He looks at Gosnell. “So, what’s on your mind?”
Gosnell smiles. “I was just about to ask you the same thing.”
“You were not.”
“Okay, so I wasn’t. But you can talk to me if you’d like. I know that you aren’t good at expressing your emotions, but it’s not good for you to bottle them all up inside. I sense turmoil in your life.”
Ranma sighs. “Is it that obvious?”
The bartender clears his throat. “We can’t talk here though. Come with me.”
Gosnell gets up and walks to the door.
The door slides open. Gosnell glares at Mina, rubbing his face.
“It opened, didn’t it?”
“Why are we going to the holodeck?” Ranma grumbled. He was starting to feel the vodka.
“I’m going to take you somewhere that will make talking to me a lot easier,” Gosnell replied. Once at the holodeck he hit some buttons. “Computer. Run Gosnell 71 Alpha.”
The computer chirped in compliance and the doors opened.
“Denny’s?” Ranma asked.
“Nothing loosens a tongue like Denny’s.” Gosnell grinned as they had a seat in a booth. A waitress gives them a couple of glasses of what appears to be water. Ranma sips his.
“More vodka?” Ranma asked. “Who did this previous captain of your work for? Exxon?”
“No. Was just easier for him to not deal with things. He was a good man. Not sure what happened to him.”
“So, what’s bothering you?”
“Akane was captured.”
“Ah. So I assume that our next order of business is to rescue her?” Gosnell asked, between sips of his glass.
“Yeah. Damn her. I always have to rescue her. She’s too stupid to know what’s good for her and just stay at home.”
“Is that really it?”
Ranma looks up from his menu. “What do you mean?”
“The only reason you are rescuing her? Is it because she’s too stupid to do things on her own?”
Ranma had never really heard his own words repeated back to him. Well, not from an independent third party. They sounded – cruel.
Ranma shook his head and stared at his menu. “Well – She’s not stupid. She’s just too stubborn to let me protect her.”
“Is that your job?”
Ranma makes eye contact with Gosnell and becomes somewhat defensive. “Of course.”
“Because her father will kill me if I don’t.”
“That’s why? No other reason?”
“Other reason?” Ranma didn’t like feeling weak. Ranma knew there was another reason but he couldn’t admit it.
“You love her?”
“WHAT? NO!” Ranma yelled and slammed the rest of his vodka. He immediately started flailing his arms at the waitress for a refill.
Gosnell rolls his eyes. “You do. You’re too defensive about it not to.”
Ranma’s eyes returned to his menu. “I like her,” Ranma admitted.
“You ever tell her that?”
Ranma thought back to all of the times that he had ALMOST admitted to her that he cared about her. “No.”
Ranma let out a sigh. “She doesn’t feel the same for me.”
“You know that for a fact?”
“Well, she’s always yelling at me, hitting me, for various reasons, most of which aren’t even my fault.”
“Like in 10-Forward?”
Ranma nodded. He was glad Gosnell was finally seeing his point. “Yeah. So I think it’s obvious she doesn’t have any feelings for me.”
Gosnell sighed. “I understand. Just like you yell at her and call her stupid and you don’t have any feelings for her.”
Ranma stared blankly at the booth Gosnell was getting up from. He patted Ranma on the back. “I’m going to go see if I can help get the weapons online. Think about it, Captain. I had to see a good thing go bad.”
Ranma completely ignored the smack and the grumbling Gosnell. He was right. Whenever it came up she got completely defensive about her feelings for him. Just like he did when the subject came up. Only she did more so than him.
A lot more than him.
“OH MY GOD, SHE LOVES ME!” Ranma yelled out, catching the attention of the holographic patrons.
Ranma slides out of his booth and runs to the doors.
What Ranma said next was inaudible, which is probably for the best considering the story is already borderline adult.
“Daddy – My ass is sore.” George Kuno called.
The principal turned from the panel he was working on only to be confronted by his adopted son’s bare ass.
“EEK!” The principal called out, shoving George out of the way. “Don’t ever point that at me again. If your ass hurts go regenerate, otherwise help fix the ship.”
George turned, pulled up his drawers, and looked at his father. “What do you want me to do?”
The principal looked at his command console. “Find da otha kiekie and bring dem up here. I have a new plan.”
“Yes sir.” George walked off, moving somewhat gingerly.
The principal went back to work on his panel. “Damn that Saotome. How many times is he going to ruin my life?”
The memories of Ranma advising him to spend more time with his family continued to run through his head. The time when the principal was hiding from Tatewaki and Ranma pointing out his hiding place fueling his anger.
Sure, the principal was eccentric. A little insane, especially when it came to rules. But he was a kitten compared to the insanity levels that were Kodachi and Tatewaki. Then, once again upon Ranma’s advice, he adopts a new child. Who’d have known that he adopted the anti-Christ?
“What’s an anti-Christ?” George asks, scaring the hell out of the principal.
“Uh-Guy who is like you.”
“I see father.”
“It’s all good son! No worries!”
George smiled and nodded. He loved getting approval. He knew he was the favorite kiekie.
Behind George were Kodachi and Tatewaki. They both appeared to have been fighting with each other.
The principal can only sigh. “Have my kiekie been fightin’?”
“I shan't tell a lie.” Tachi started. “This wench insulted the pig-tailed girl and Akane Tendo. I know it was my duty, the Blue Thunder of the alpha quadrant, Tatewaki Kuno, to defend their honor, even against my own sister!” Kuno then began his usual nutball laugh.
“Father!” Kodachi protested. “I was defending the honor of my darling Ranma Saotome! He called him an evil sorcerer!”
“He is! He has stolen the pig-tailed girl and Akane Tendo from me!” Kuno rebutted.
“Shaddup both of you.” The principal said, dropping his accent for just a moment. “I need de kiekie to help da fixin’ of da ship! That way we can capture the pigtailed girl and Akane Tendo for you my son and Ranma for you my daughter.”
“And Shampoo’s eyes for me, pa?” George inquired.
“Yeah. Shampoo’s eyes for my evilest keikei.”
George smiled. He then heard something in the back of his head. “DAD! I’m picking up a transmission!”
Ranma stormed onto the bridge. “STATUS”
Mina turned to reply. “Impulse power back up. Shields are at 30 percent. Main power has been restored on all decks. Still no warp, weapons, or long-range sensors.”
Damn. Ranma thought. “What about the bird of prey’s plasma trail?”
Mina shook her head. “It’s been too long to get an accurate reading. For what it’s worth though they couldn’t have gotten too far. The cloak won’t work above warp 5 without leaving major ionization trails.”
“Making the cloak pointless. So where’s the farthest they could be right now?”
Mina checked her console. “Four light-years in each direction.”
Great. Only take us a few decades to search that at impulse. Ranma grumbled. “Get sensors back online A-S-A-P.”
“Aye.” Mina went back to work.
Ranma sat down in his new chair that an engineering crew just reinstalled for him. He didn’t really like sitting in it. After seeing the last one explode he got a little paranoid.
“Captain?” Ryouga murmured.
“Ranma, I think I may have found Akane.”
Ranma got up and scampered to Ryouga’s panel. “What? How?”
“I was practicing pushing the buttons when I accidentally got a communications sub-system online. I found this transmission.”
Ranma checked out the screen.
15 A 217 N 22.
“Coordinates?” Ranma asked Ryouga.
“No. Akane’s serial number.”
OH MY GOD, SHE’S CLEVER! Ranma’s brain yelled. Ranma smacked his head to try to get the voice to shut up. The vodka was making it hard enough to think.
“Mina! Can you trace this?” Ryouga demanded. Mina looked up to Ranma, who just acknowledged his approval of the unauthorized order.
“Yes – CAPTIAN – I can. One second.” She shoots Ryouga a dirty look. Ryouga returns a look of his own.
“Found them,” Mina replied. “They are traveling at warp 3 towards – Earth?”
What the hell are they doing? Ranma asked himself. “Set an intercept course. Best possible speed. Once warp is online do it.”
Ryouga grunted an acknowledgment and the ship took off, surprisingly in the correct direction.
Ryouga started to chuckle to himself. I’ll save you Akane! Ranma won’t!
Ryouga began to cackle out loud. Mina and Ranma looked at him, but he was completely oblivious.
My ass still hurts though!
Akane almost enjoyed the fact that the other two were out cold. It was so quiet. Just the sounds of the ship. That and her father's soft sobbing from the cell next to her, but she had gotten used to that over the years.
What really amazed her that for once Ranma’s dad was useful.
“Is everyone over there okay?” Genma called over to Akane’s cell once the guard had stepped outside.
“More or less,” Akane noted. “Shampoo and Commander Hino are out cold.”
“Hrm,” Genma grumbled. “Do you have any ideas?”
Akane sat back. “Maybe if one of us still had their communicators.”
Genma began to dig through his pockets. “I have one.”
Akane ran to the corner of the cell. “How?”
Genma smiled. “I hide an extra one in the lining of my clothes!”
Akane scowled. “Get kidnapped often?”
Genma frowned. “More often than you’d think.”
Akane began to put her plan to work. One problem though.
“How do you get the communicator to me?”
Genma looked around the cell. He noticed there was an air duct on the wall that bordered Akane’s cell. “Is there an air duct at the top of the adjoining wall on your side?”
Akane looked. Sure enough, there was.
“Yeah.” She replied.
Genma shook Soun. “I need you to give me a boost.”
Soun shook his head. “You’re almost 300 pounds. Nuts to that.”
Genma rolls his eyes. “Fine, I’ll give you a boost. Stick this through the air duct.”
Soun gets up and allows Genma to boost him up. He sticks the communicator into the duct. Unfortunately, the airflow sucks it up into the ductwork.
A slight clang is heard. Then another. Then a third. Finally, the communicator comes flopping out of an air duct on the other side of the cell.
Akane just shrugged and picked it up. “Got it.”
“You make your daddy proud, Akane.” Soun bawled.
“I will dad.”
BACK TO THE TIME, WE LEFT OFF, PLUS THE TIME IT TOOK YOU TO READ THE LAST BIT, PLUS THE TIME IT TOOK YOU TO READ THIS HEADER.
Akane had managed to pull most of the wires out of the wall that she needed. She now more than ever enjoyed the simplicity of Klingon engineering. They didn’t care how it worked, or about millions upon millions of wires. Everything ran through a central pipe through the center of the ship.
Neat how the brig was right against the pipe. Klingons never have had good judgment when it came to things like that.
Akane used a hair clip from Shampoo’s hair to act as a jumper. The communicator chirped to life.
“Admiral, I can’t send a voice message. This transmission is too likely to be picked up anyway. What’s something that Ranma should be able to recognize?” Akane asked.
“Send your phone number.”
Akane shook her head. “After they added the last new area code my number is 71 digits long. That’s too much.”
Akane went to scratch her neck. Then she realized it.
The dark-haired girl pulls her dog tags out of her shirt. She smiles. Then frowns. “He’d better be looking.”
Akane began to tap out the message in Federation Morse code. She knew Ranma probably didn’t remember it, but the Sisko’s computer will convert it to text.
On the bridge, an officer was sitting at a panel half asleep. He didn’t notice the slight power increase in the communications array.
Be’Yach was sitting in the captain’s chair. She also was half asleep. She decided to let Brian and Lita get the information from the blonde girl. Her crying was making the quarter Klingon’s ears hurt.
Be’Yach let out one of those damned ‘almost asleep’ snorts. You know, the kind that gets you in trouble in English class. It startled the communications officer. He sat straight up and glared at his console.
“What the hell?” He mumbled to himself.
This awoke Be’Yach. “What?”
Be’Yach just grumbled. “Probably just Brian. What’s the transmission?”
“I don’t know. It’s in Morse code.”
Be’Yach awoke completely now. “He doesn’t know Morse code! Get someone who can decode that!”
“Yes ma’am.” The officer yelled as he ran from the room.
Back in the interrogation room, Lita had sat Serena in the chair. She didn’t restrain her or strip her as she did to Shampoo. Lita frowned at her old friend.
“Serena – I, we need information from you.”
Serena just shook her head. “Raye was right. I’m a lame brain. I won’t be able to help you.”
Lita exhaled deeply. “You are not a lame brain. You’re smart and you can accomplish a lot. Now, just tell us what we need to know so we can let you and the others go.”
Serena closed her eyes. “I won’t betray my oath. Besides, I know you won’t kill us.”
Brian walked up to Serena and put his gun in her face. “This is getting annoying. I don’t know you people, and I won’t hesitate to kill you. Now give me the shield frequencies to the multi-phasic shield around the Federation’s Lunar Latinum deposits!”
Lita started to protest but Brian pointed his finger at her.
“We can stop all this with this one haul. I’m tired of nearly being killed. I just want my money and my beer and to relax!” Brian said to Lita, without turning.
He stared wide-eyed at Serena. “Please. The frequencies.”
Serena begins to sob. She could tell that he didn’t want to kill her, but he would.
“Please,” Lita said, trying her best to hold back tears.
Serena opened her eyes to look right up the barrel of the Glock Phaser.
“4 – 2 – 9 –“ Serena’s cut off by the intercom.
“BRIAN!” Be’Yach’s voice screamed. “KUNO SHIP ON INTERCEPT! GOSNELL CLASS ON INTERCEPT! PRISONERS TRANSMITTING DISTRESS CALL!”
Brian holsters his sidearm. “Fuck.” He storms off leaving Lita alone with Serena.
“Why?” Serena asks.
Lita can no longer hold back her tears. “You know how I never fit in. Once the Federation banned crime-fighting groups, there was nothing for me to do.
"I tried to get in with Starfleet Intelligence, but they said I didn’t pass my background check! I spent ten goddamned days filling out that 78-page form! What else could I do? The captain gave me a place to live, a job where I am good at what I do. A place where I finally felt I belonged.”
“YOU’RE A PIRATE!”
Lita shook her head. “It’s not always like this. What’s the rest of the frequency?”
Serena shook her head. “Go to hell.”
Lita exhaled deeply again. She turned and walked out, locking the door behind her.
Brian comes storming into the cell area and notices the wall panel pulled off. “Lower the force field.” He orders.
Brian walks in and points his weapon at Akane. “There’s no stun setting on this, for your information.” He shoots the communicator.
Suddenly Shampoo who is still lying on the floor sweeps out Brian’s legs. He falls and Akane pounces on him, getting his weapon. The lackey that was with Brian moves in but is taken out by Raye who was also playing possum on the floor.
Akane and Raye step out, weapons in hand. Shampoo just continues to stand in the cell.
“What’s wrong?” Raye yells.
“Shampoo no fighting naked.” Shampoo replies, reminding them that she is still in her underwear.
Akane removes her jacket and tosses it to Shampoo. She also pulls the pants off of Brian.
“Better than nothing.” Shampoo acknowledges.
Raye tosses Shampoo a rifle that she finds on the table. Shampoo walks out and raises the force shield to the cell. Akane walks over to her father’s cell.
“Dad, Admiral Saotome. Wait about 2 minutes and then head for the nearest escape pod.”
They acknowledge her and step to the edge of the cell.
Genma looks worried. Shampoo and Raye have that ‘need revenge, kill, kill, kill’ look on their faces. “What are you three going to do?” Soun asks.
“Pay bitch back.” Shampoo grumbles.
Raye and Akane look at Shampoo, who is glowing a very bright purple aura.
The three women step up to the door of the detention area. It opens and the two guards outside, assuming it’s their boss, stand at attention.
“At Ease.” Raye snickers shooting both of them.
“Nice.” Akane smiles.
“With a cool dry wit like that, I could be an action hero.” Raye grins back. “We need to find Serena.”
Akane nods. Shampoo looks at the two for the first time. “You two go to bridge. Shampoo retrieve friend.”
“I don’t think we should split –“ Raye is cut off.
“Shampoo in charge. Go. Shampoo take care of klutz girl.”
Raye didn’t like it, but Shampoo was the commanding officer. She nodded and she and Akane went off towards the bridge.
“WARP ONLINE!” Mina screams from across the bridge. “We can get 7.5.”
Ranma shook his head. The three Mina’s were very pretty. “Gud nuff. Go P-Chan!”
Ryouga turned around. “DON’T CALL ME THAT!”
“Sorry Charlotte!” Ranma giggled.
Ryouga can only growl as he engages the engines.
Mina walks up and sits in the XO seat next to Ranma. She leans over to him.
“Begging the captain’s pardon, but you’re drunk sir.”
Ranma turns to her. “Yeah. Gosnell. Drink. Denny’s.”
Mina only sighed. Gosnell was very sexy, but he had horrible timing. “Computer, activate bridge E-M-H.”
The balding EMH appeared on the bridge.
“Please state the nature of the medical emergency.”
“The Captain’s drunk.” She pointed to Ranma who was starting to melt out of his chair.
“I’m a doctor, not his mother.” The EMH smugly replied.
“You not my mudder?” Ranma mumbles.
“Can’t you give him something?” Mina queried.
The EMH scratches his head. He pulls out his medkit from under a table, loads a medical hypospray, and injects Ranma. “This will work.”
Ranma looks at the EMH. He smiles. Then frowns. Ranma grabs his mouth and bolts for the bathroom. The EMH can only smile.
“When he returns make him drink about 4 liters of water. He’ll be fine momentarily then.”
“Thanks,” Mina says, still looking off in the direction the captain ran. “Computer, end E-M-H.”
The holographic doctor vanishes. Mina walks over to the replicator and gets the water ready for Ranma. He returns shortly.
“How do you feel?” Mina asks.
“Better than the crewman who was taking a piss back there,” Ranma replies as he slams back into his chair. Mina hands him his water.
Ranma looks at it suspiciously. “What’s this?”
“Water,” Mina promises.
Ranma sips it. Sure enough. He chugs it and starts on his second one.
“Shit.” Ryouga mumbles.
“What?” Ranma whimpers. “You didn’t get us lost again, did you?”
Ryouga scowls. “No, I didn’t get us lost again. The transmission ended.”
“E-T-A to their last known position?” Ranma asked.
“Seven minutes,” Mina replied.
“Mousse. Do you think you can pull yourself together for a little bit?” Ranma asked the young man sobbing behind him.
“Good. When we are in position I want you to ignite a tachyon charge.” Ranma smiled. Mousse smiled too. He knew what Ranma was up to.
“There for causing their plasma trail to ignite!” Mousse understood.
Ranma nodded. Ryouga spun around.
“YOU CAD! You could kill Akane like that!”
Ranma shook his head. “The bird of prey isn’t going to explode because of a little exhaust fire. Trust me.”
Ryouga didn’t like it, but he decided to go along with it for the time being. The only way he could rescue Akane is if he found her first, and Ranma’s seemed to be the only plan they had for the time being.
“ALAS! THE BEAUTIFUL AND BUSTFUL AKANE TENDO WANTS ME! SHE LEFT ME SUCH A WONDERFUL LOVE MESSAGE!” Kuno yelled as he bounded from one side of the cube to the next. Kodachi could do nothing but glower.
“Brother dear, Akane Tendo told me that she would like you better WITHOUT YOUR HEAD!” Kodachi snapped her ribbon at Kuno.
“Ouch,” George said as the ribbon wrapped around his wrist. He yanked the other end of the ribbon out of Kodachi’s hand and put it in his pocket. “Father says the keikei shouldn’t fight, so I will make sure the keikei don’t fight.”
Kodachi cocked her head at George. “You’re awfully smug for someone who was adopted.”
George gasps. “Adopted? Not I!”
Kuno walked over to George. “You didn’t know?”
George just shakes his head. “It can’t be true.”
“You can’t tell? You don’t look anything like us!” Kodachi pointed out.
“What do you mean?” George asks.
“You’re black for one,” Kuno replies.
George turns to Kuno. “Oh, so now the black man isn’t good enough to be your brother?”
Kuno shakes his head. “That’s not what I meant.”
George shakes the tears out of his eyes. “I HATE YOU BOTH!” He runs from the room as the principal runs in.
“WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING?” He screams.
Kodachi laughs. “We made George cry!”
Kuno laughs as well. “Obviously not a true Kuno.”
“Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.” The principal mumbles to himself as he watches the self-destructive thoughts of George Kuno go through his mind.
The principal looks at his two children. “You bozos on ya own! I’m getting back to de islands while da getting’s good!”
The principal runs off to his escape pod and ejects.
Kuno looks to his sister. “You know how to fly this thing?”
Kodachi responds with a negative headshake.
“Guess we’ll have to apologize to George.”
Kodachi responds with a positive headshake.
“No need,” George grumbles as he walks back in.
Kodachi moves behind her original brother. “You’re not mad at us?” She asks.
George shakes his head. “We have an objective to complete. We won’t let – father down.”
The elder two Kunos nod and they get to work chasing down the signal from Akane.
Outside, in a small sphere-shaped escape pod –
“And dey wonder why I’m so crazy.” Principal Kuno says, rocking back and forth.
Akane sent a quick hand signal to Raye letting her know that there are three crewmen standing by the door to the bridge of the Klingon ship. Raye nods and slinks around a corner as Akane creeps forward.
“So, have you seen the latest episode of Survivor: East St. Louis?” The tallest crewman asked the other two.
“I have,” Akane called. The crewmen turn to her.
“Who got voted off this week?” Another crewman asked.
Akane scratches her head. “I think it was V’Talk.”
The crewmen all groan. “They always pick on the Vulcan.”
Akane nods in agreement before remembering that she needs to shoot these people. She draws her phaser and takes two of them out. The other dodges the blast and begins to go for his phaser, but is quickly taken down by Raye, who was just around the corner.
The two girls walk to the bridge. The doors don’t open. Akane hits the release button. Nothing.
“What’s the deal?” Akane whispers.
“You need an access code.” Be’Yach grins. Standing next to her are 10 crewmen, all with phaser rifles. “Lower your weapons.”
Akane and Raye comply. The crewmen take Akane and Raye back into custody.
“Bragh!” Genma-panda yells from farther down the corridor.
Be’Yach takes a step back, but smiles. “The captain may be afraid of you, but I’m not.”
Genma whips out a sign. ‘Look who I have.’
Soun appears, dragging Brian.
‘If you want him back, release us.’
Brian is about to go nuts. The panda is scaring the hell out of him.
Be’Yach groans. “I don’t have time for this. Shoot them all.”
The lackeys comply and quickly incapacitate Genma, Soun, Akane, and Raye.
Brian gets up and runs behind Be’Yach. “Put the panda in an escape pod. The ambassador too. They are too much of a liability. Where’s the one who can’t talk right?”
Be’Yach shrugs. All the lackeys look at each other.
“MORONS!” Brian screams. “FIND THEM!”
The lackeys start to take off. Brian shoots one of them. “FORGETTING SOMETHING?” He points to Akane and company. The remaining lackeys grab them and head off.
Brian just turns to Be’Yach. “Who hired these yay-hoos?”
Be’Yach meekly looks away. “You said no more than 10 dollars an hour. You get what you pay for.”
Brian curses his own cheapness. “No worries. Once we get the Latium we can retire.”
Be’Yach grins. “Did you get the frequency?”
Brian shakes his head. “Part of it. But I know the Federation. There are only six possible combinations of the rest frequency. We don’t have to de-cloak to lower their shields. What’s the ETA of the Starfleet ship and the Kuno ship?”
Be’Yach opens the bridge door and walks in. She checks a panel. “30 minutes.”
Brian takes his seat on the bridge. “Excellent. Once the Latium is on board we can offload the prisoners and get the hell out of federation space.”
Be’Yach hops on Brian’s lap. “What about the crew and Lita?”
Brian sighs. “Send the crew down with the prisoners. Lita wants to stay with us.”
Be’Yach doesn’t really care for that. She knows how the captain flirts with her.
“I know what you’re thinking.” Brian smiled as he dug something out of his pocket. “No worries, however. You are the only one I love.”
Shampoo’s unfamiliarity with the layout of Klingon Bird-Of-Preys was becoming obvious to her when she noticed she passed the same plasma conduit. She was getting pretty pissed. She cursed to herself as the turbolift door opened. She hides in a crevice. Lita walks out of the turbolift.
As she walked down the corridor she stops. Lita can tell when she is being watched. She starts to go for her phaser when she feels cold metal on the back of her head.
“Where is Serena?” Shampoo asked. “Bitch no want to try nothing. Throw your gun across the room.”
Lita complied. “She’s in the brig.”
Shampoo shoves the phaser harder into the back of Lita’s head. “No lie to Shampoo. Where is she?”
Lita remains silent.
“Is it worth dying for? Especially since Federation move deposits from the lunar lock up?”
“What?” Lita groaned.
“Take me to girl. NOW!” Shampoo yelled.
Lita turns back toward the turbo lift with Shampoo inches behind her. They get into it.
“Deck three,” Lita commands. The lift goes in motion. “What do you mean the moved the deposits?”
Shampoo chuckled. “You stupid? They move deposits. New place much safer.”
The turbolift doors open. Lita and Shampoo walk out and down the hall. They get near the interrogation room. There is a guard posted outside.
“Tell him to leave.” Shampoo ordered.
Lita inhaled deeply. “Crewman – you’re dismissed.”
The crewman can’t see where Lita is, but since he recognized her voice, he walks off in the opposite direction.
Shampoo forces Lita over to the door. “Open it.”
Lita punches in her access code into the door. It slides open. Serena is just sitting in the chair crying.
“Commander!” Shampoo yelled. “Get over here.”
Serena looks up and sees Shampoo with Lita. She hops off the chair and runs to the door, taking a good, hard look at Lita before exiting.
“You okay?” Shampoo asked.
Serena only nods. Shampoo pulls Lita back out and faces her toward the turbo lift.
Lita decides that she has to try and get away from Shampoo and tell Brian of what she has learned. Going to Earth with six Starfleet prisoners would not be good, especially if they weren’t able to get anything out of it.
As they are walking down the hall, Lita fakes tripping. As she moves forward she causes Shampoo to start to lose her balance. As she does, Lita turns around and punches her. The impact causes Shampoo’s grip on the phaser to loosen. It bounces to the floor. Before Lita can get to it, Shampoo grabs Lita’s ankles and trips her completely. She falls, but in the opposite direction of the phaser.
Shampoo turns and goes for the phaser but Lita manages to get a grip on Shampoo’s legs. The phaser had bounced just outside Shampoo’s reach.
“Serena!” Shampoo calls.
Serena runs over and grabs the phaser. She points it at Lita, who has grabbed Shampoo by the neck and pulls her to her feet. With her other hand, Lita pulls a knife from one of the cargo pockets on her pants and holds it to Shampoo’s neck.
“Even though I know you won’t shoot me, Serena, be advised I will slit this whore’s neck as I fall.” Lita grins. “Put the phaser down, and neither of you will be hurt.”
Serena is shaking. She joined Starfleet engineering so that she wouldn’t be put in any positions like this anymore. What was she to do? She didn’t want Shampoo to die, but she didn’t want to kill Lita either. Where’s one of those goddamned roses when I need one? She thought.
Unfortunately for her, the decision was made for her.
The Sisko shook madly. Warp 9.97 was not an approved speed. However, the fact the Kuno ship found and forced the pirate ship to de-cloak added extra emergency to the situation.
The Kuno’s were pummeling the ship. Her shields would be compromised in minutes and the ship could be destroyed shortly thereafter. Ranma didn’t figure that Kuno would destroy the ship till after he got Akane on board, but there was still his father and the others.
“Ranma?” Mousse called out.
“There is an escape pod about 9,000 kilometers aft of the bird of prey. It’s got one panda and one human on board.”
“WHAT?” Ranma ran up there and verified Mousse’s readings. “Is it safe?”
Mina checked her console. “For now.”
Ranma shook his head. “We will have to come back for it.”
Seconds later the Sisko dropped out of warp. “MOUSSE! Order the Kuno’s to cease fire.”
Mousse shook his head. “They aren’t responding.”
“THEY’RE COMING ABOUT!” Mina yelled.
“ALL WEAPONS FIRE!” Ranma shouted.
The following barrage of fire seems to last forever. In reality, it only lasted a few seconds.
The Kuno ship let loose everything it had in the way of firepower. Its cutting beam. Its torpedoes. Its phasers.
The Sisko’s shields glowed a bright blue as they were stressed to their maximum.
Blue and red orbs projected themselves from the Sisko. Volley after volley of photon torpedoes slammed into the Kuno ship. Not nearly as effective this time as they were the last time. Before his departure, the principal had made the necessary corrections to the shield emitters.
“SHIELDS FAILING!” Mousse screamed.
Ranma stared blankly at the viewscreen as 15 Kuno torpedoes headed towards the Sisko, and 30 headed towards the Kuno ship.
And then it was over. Elapsed time - 24 seconds.