Chapter 4 - Decisions

Artemis let out a light snort. It startled the helmsman of the U.S.S. Roseville. The bridge had been so quiet for the past two hours. A few of the standard Starfleet chirps here and there, but no real noise.

He turned to see Artemis sound asleep in the Captain's chair. He was curled up in one of those cute kitty-cat sleeping positions.

The helmsman raised an eyebrow. He and a few of the other crew people had been wondering what would happen if they tried something.

That something is scratching the boss cats behind the ears. Most cats loved that, but would these cats?

The helmsman brought up his instant messenger console on his terminal and sent a message over to the ops station.

'Watch my terminal for a second. I'm going to do it.' The message read. 

The Ops officer looked at the helm station with his mouth gaped wide open. He began to type a reply.

'Are you sure?'

The helmsman nodded and began to type.

'My cat at home loves it. Why won't he?'

The ops officer almost started to laugh.

'These aren't your normal cats. Good luck, see you at your execution.'

The helmsman just scowled at his shipmate.

He slid out of his seat and slinked to the command console. He sat down in the first officer's chair. 

He began to scratch.

Artemis's ears twitched a little bit. The helmsman smiled.

"Ensign," Artemis grumbled.

The helmsman lost his smile and stopped scratching. "Yes sir?"

"I like that." The white cat replied. "This is now your new job. Scratch behind my ears. Ops, get a new helmsman up here."

"Aye." The ops officer chuckled. The helmsman just sighed.

"Well hop to it, boy," Artemis ordered. "Chop, chop."

The helmsman closed his eyes and began to scratch.

Moments later the turbo lift door opened and Luna walked out. She walked down the ramp and stood looking at Artemis and his ear scratcher.

"What are you doing Ensign?" Luna asked.

"Um – Scratching him behind the ears."

Luna just shook her head. "Take your post." She commanded. The ensign gladly obliged. Luna then hopped up into the XO's seat. She took a paw and started to poke her furry comrade.

"Wake up."

Artemis grumbled and turned to face Luna. "What?"

"They were almost discovered. Again."

Artemis sat right up. "WHAT?"

Luna shook her head. "They are riding in their plasma exhaust to evade tachyon bursts. They got too close and set off a prox alarm.

"They managed to convince the Sisko that they were just a wayward Cardassian scout ship though."

Artemis was the one to shake his head this time. "I'm going to send that ship and her entire crew to do recon in the Gamma quadrant. Keep them out of my fur for a good fifty years."

Luna chuckled. "So what's the plan?"

"Simple," Artemis replied. "Get Lita, blow up the Sisko, and go get sir fry. Shouldn't take more than twenty minutes tops."

Luna sighed. "You really think we need to blow them up?"

Artemis rolls his eyes. "What else are we going to do? They know of our classified technology. They know of our cloaking devices. They know that someone who is supposed to be dead is working for us. How else do you suppose we make them not know these things?"

Luna frowned. She knew that there wasn't any other option. She was worried for Lita though. It had become obvious that Lita didn't want anything to do with Section 31 anymore. 

Yes, Luna was worried. You can't just walk away from Section 31. Especially not on bad terms.

JC had just gotten comfortable. He was in his underwear stretched out on his sofa with some soda and a pizza. He had 9 hours of Love Hina cued up on his computer. He was going to enjoy his day off.

<Nifty Star Trek doorbell sound>

"Mother fuck." JC grumbled. "Who is it?" He called out.

"Captain Saotome," Ranma called back from the other side of the door.

JC scurried up off the couch and to his closet to grab some clothes. "One second, Captain!" He called.

After managing to put on some pants and a t-shirt he went to the door and opened it.

"Captain, good to see you." JC nodded.

Ranma smiled. "May I?" He said, motioning into JC's quarters.

JC nodded. "Of course sir. It's a bit of a mess, though."

Ranma walked into the room and had a seat at JC's dining table. He motioned for JC to sit and join him. Ranma took notice of the pizza box and six-pack of Mt. Dew on the floor next to the couch.

"I apologize for disturbing you," Ranma said while looking at the Mt. Dew. "Do you mind if I steal one of those? I haven't had an Mt. Dew in months!"

JC started to stand. "Sure! – Let me-"

Ranma waved his hand at JC. "I'll get it."

JC sat back down as his captain grabbed two of the drinks and rejoined him at the table. He handed one to JC.

"I need your help, Lieutenant," Ranma stated very matter-of-factly. "We have a cloaked Section 31 ship following us. I need to find that ship."

JC raised an eyebrow. "Section 31? Well, a tachyon burst will let you know if there is a cloaked ship out there."

Ranma shook his head. "We've tried that. Nothing comes up on the sensors."

JC slid down in his seat slightly. "Well, there is no cloaking technology that isn't susceptible to a tachyon burst."

"Not even that experimental cloak that the ship you guys repaired had?"

JC shook his head. "Tachyon energy cannot be absorbed. That would be the only way to-" JC cut himself off, got up and ran to his dresser.

He pulled out a PADD and started to read it. 

"Plasma exhaust disrupts tachyons."

"Plasma exhaust?" Ranma pondered. "You mean they could be right up our ass?"

"Well – in a manner of speaking, yes. The plasma exhaust goes down from the impulse and warp manifolds at a 45-degree angle." JC flailed his arms in a feeble attempt to visually explain what he was talking about.

"Of course," Ranma said, finally realizing what that meant. "The ventral prox alarm."

"Captain?" JC asked.

"This cloaked ship set off our ventral proximity alarm earlier."

JC nodded. "They would have to be close. Plasma starts to dissipate at about 5500 meters. So they would have to be really close. I bet if we came to an emergency stop they would ram right into us. Granted that would more than likely destroy us, but you'd know they were there!"

Ranma laughed. He liked this kid.

"Do you know how to visually detect a cloaked ship?"

"You mean like out the window?"

Ranma nodded.

"Yeah, more or less. You have to pay real close attention though." JC stated.

Ranma stood. "Sorry to do this to you, but I need you on the bridge." He looked at JC's couch. "You can have tomorrow off, I promise. Report to Commander Aino in 20 minutes."

JC acknowledged the order as the captain left the room, slurping down his Mountain Dew, mumbling something along the lines of 'damn that's good. 

JC had heard about Section 31. He really wasn't expecting there to be a tomorrow to have off.

Twenty minutes later.

JC walked onto the bridge. He looked around. For the most part, it looked like business as usual. That was until he looked to the tactical station. There were Mousse, Mina, Ranma, Shampoo, and a couple of no-name tactical officers. There must be big doings afoot to have this many people pining over one station.

Mina looked up and over to the turbolift.

"Ah! Lt. Devall! Glad you could make it!" Mina smiled at him. JC walked over to where Mina was. She promptly leads him away from the tactical station and over to her ops station.

"Do you think a plasma explosion would be enough to destabilize a cloak?" Mina asked him.

JC thought about that for a minute. "Depends on how big."

"Big. Our plasma exhaust big." Shampoo called over to the pair.

"Maybe if you vented an extra 10 kilotons. That would do it. Just what's out there would make a pretty light show, and maybe scorch the paint on the bottom of the ship, but other than that, pointless." JC stated. "But, unless you close our exhaust valves prior to igniting it, well, we will also become quite destabilized."

Ranma nodded.

Mina pointed up to the viewscreen. "This is a real visual out of the aft ventral observation room. The camera is pointed at about a 40-degree angle to our ventral - between the nacelles and down. I've been watching it, but I'm not really sure what I am looking for."

JC stared at the screen for a moment. "Stars."

Mina raised an eyebrow.

"When the ship passes in front of our view of a star it will reappear in a different position. It's part of the reflecting of the light."

JC stared intently at the viewer for a good two minutes.

"There." He called out. "That star shifted downward about a degree or two."

"Are you positive?" Ranma asked, moving back into his chair.

"Yes sir," JC called back. He stood up and allowed Mina to take her seat back.

"Good. Shampoo begin."

Shampoo hit her communicator. "Shampoo to Engineering. Serena vent 10 kiloton plasma now."

"VENTED!" Serena's voice called out over the communicator.

"Close ducts!" Shampoo ordered.

"CLOSED!" Serena hollered.

"Mousse! Fire torpedo!" Shampoo ordered.


Mousse hit some buttons. "Torpedo away!"

The torpedo streaked from the aft launcher, but only went about 500 meters then detonated.

The explosion from the plasma was amazing. The Sisko was knocked for a loop. The shields glowed a fierce blue, as they absorbed a good deal of energy from the blast. The shock caused both nacelles to go from their healthy glowing blue to an offline black. The ship began to cartwheel away. Ryouga struggled to regain control of the ship while Mina worked on getting warp online, in case they had to make a break for it. 

JC came crashing to the floor. Shampoo managed to hold her position standing next to Mousse. Ranma almost fell out of his seat.

Ryouga regained yaw control of the ship. They were pointed away from the Minneapolis. Mousse punched up a different camera.

Outside the image of a ship could be seen phasing in and out.

"TARGETED!" Mousse screamed.

"FIRE!" Ranma ordered.

A brilliant red stream of lights flowed from the Sisko's phaser banks, striking the Minneapolis. Since her shields were down she took some pretty heavy damage to her forward dorsal torpedo launchers.

Once the Minneapolis' cloak was down completely, Ranma grinned. 

"Ryouga, bring us about. Mousse target their shields and weapons. Fire when ready."

Both officers complied. Ryouga swung the ship around so that the two ships were facing each other. Mousse grinned as he entered the commands.

Phaser blasts from the Sisko hit the Minneapolis' phaser banks, scorching them. Three torpedoes then streaked from the Sisko hitting each of the Minneapolis' primary shield generators.

"All targets hit. The blast caused minor damage to our shields."

Ranma nodded.

Mina spoke up. "The safety system kicked in and knocked warp offline, but it's coming back now."

Ranma acknowledged her as Mousse spoke up again.

"We're being hailed."

The bridge crew of the Minneapolis went flying in every which direction. Captain Giles included.

"WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?" Giles screamed.

The ops officer climbed back into her seat. "They discharged 10 kilotons of plasma then ignited it –" She cut herself off. "THEY'RE FIRING!"

The ship shook hard again. Crew people went flying once again. Panels exploded and steam ducts ruptured.

"SHIELDS!" Giles screamed.

The ops officer climbed back into her seat once again. "EPS RUPTURE! I HAVE TO BYPASS TO GET THE SHIELDS BACK ONLINE!"

The helmsman's eyes became all white. "They – they're coming about."

"Ballocks," Giles said as he realized he was face to face with the most heavily armed ship in the Federation.

The turbolift opened and Darien and Chronister came onto the bridge. Darien was the first to speak.


Chronister, mouth wide open, just pointed to the viewer as the phaser blasts from the Sisko approached the Minneapolis.

Once again people and machinery were thrown askew. Darien was slammed against a wall, smacking his head. He hits the deck and doesn't move. Chronister slaps his communicator and calls for medical assistance.

The torpedoes looked to be the last thing that the Minneapolis captain would ever see. They slammed into the ship with a tremendous explosion.

Giles was somewhat relieved when he realized that he wasn't dead yet. He looked to his ops officer. "Shields?"

She simply shook her head. "They took out the primary shield generators. The secondary won't be working till we get the EPS grid repaired. The cloak overloaded them with the first shot."

"Can we cloak?" Chronister yelled. Darien was beginning to come to.

"No." She called back. "The cloak is fried."

"To hell with the cloak, return fire!" Darien called, stumbling to his feet.

"NO!" Giles yelled. "DO NOT FIRE ON THAT SHIP."

The ops officer looked at her captain, then back to Darien. "Sir – they did fire on us first."

Giles glared at his Ops officer. It was at this time that two security officers entered the bridge from the forward turbolift.

"I am your captain, not him. You bloody fire on that ship and you will be spending what remaining time we have left in the brig."

Darien stood and starts to walk, but stumbles slightly. "RETURN FIRE!"

The ops officer sighs and starts to hit some buttons. She almost looks disappointed when nothing happens.

"I locked out her station." The helmsman states.

Giles pats him on the shoulder. "Crewman, take her to the brig."

Darien now begins to run down the bridge. "FIRE ON THAT SHIP!"

Darien charges right for the captain. He's stopped by a phaser blast to the back. Giles looks to the back of the bridge where he sees Staff.

"Take him to his quarters and lock him in." Staff tells one of the security officers. He complies while the other takes the ops officer off.

Staff now has his weapon pointed at Chronister. "So. What's it to be?"

Chronister motions for him to put his weapon down. "I have no interest in seeing the Sisko destroyed."

Staff lowers his weapon as four more security officers arrive on the bridge. "Keep an eye on him. Let him move around, just watch him." Staff orders. The security officers acknowledge the order.

Staff walks down and takes a seat at the ops station. "Order?"

Giles sits back down in his chair. "Hail them."

"On screen." Ranma orders.

Captain Giles appears on the screen. Behind him, he can see that the bridge is a mess of parts of the wall and other miscellaneous parts the fall off during an attack.

"Nice to see you, Captain Saotome." Giles smiled.

Ranma turned to Raye who turned to Mina who turned to Ryouga who turned to Shampoo who turned to Mousse.

Mousse simply shrugged.

"Yeah, likewise," Ranma grumbled. "What's the deal?"

"I'm going to be blunt with you," Giles stated. "We're a Starfleet Intelligence ship employed by Section 31. We're on a mission, which you actually didn't have any part in. Until the mishap in engineering that is."

"Right, right," Ranma noted. "Your so-called overload from the so-called nebula because of the nonexistent scout ship?"

Giles laughed. "I am not usually the liar. I just fly people around. I'm not very good at it, am I?"

Ranma shook his head. "No sir."

Raye stood up and walked toward the viewscreen. "May I?" She asked.

Ranma nodded.

"Where's Darien?" Raye asked.

Giles raised an eyebrow. "And who might you be, young lady?"

"Raye. Lt. Commander Raye Hino." She meekly replied.

"Ace! I've heard of you. CB had quite the thing for you. I can see why, too. You are very pretty. I certainly wouldn't have picked career over a bird-like you."

A tear came to Raye's eye. "Where is he?"

"He's currently being held in his quarters. He attempted a cute little mutiny just a moment ago. As a matter of fact, if it hadn't been for my security team you folks wouldn't even exist anymore."

"We targeted and destroyed your weapons!" Mousse cried out.

Giles shook his head. "Our conventional weapons. We have more. You did though do a good job of taking out our shields. Bravo! Once your tour of duty is up on the Sisko, Lieutenant, I may have to recruit you for myself!"

Mousse grinned.

"So why are we still here?" Ranma asked, somewhat dryly and upset that all of this is being taken so lightly.

Giles pointed to his communicator. "You see this, Captain? You have one also. It states that we are Starfleet Officers. I'm not against you, Captain. You were justified in your attack. You didn't know that this was a Starfleet ship cloaked and sitting in your plasma exhaust.

"Unfortunately I am responsible for the situation you are in right now."

"Situation? You mean you and me?" Ranma asked.

"No, sir, I am afraid that the trouble you are in is much worse. Currently, there is another Section 31 ship warping this way right now. Onboard is the head of Section 31. They plan on getting something off of this ship, destroying it and my crew, your ship, crew, and probably anything else within 10 light-years.

"I am going to help defend you against this ship."

"We do a good job against you!" Shampoo said. "Why think we need help?"

"You won't catch them by surprise. They won't make an attempt to hide when they get here."

"So what can we do to defend ourselves?" Ranma asked.

"You need to use a rotating shield frequency. Their weapons are Borg in origin."

Ranma looks to JC who is standing off in the corner. "Go to engineering and let Serena know."

JC just nods as he runs off the bridge.

"When will they be here?" Ranma asked.

Giles just shrugs. "Beats me. I think they are coming from Earth. If that's the case we have just over three hours. But the cats never tell us where they are coming from nor when they will be here."

"Cats?" Both Mina and Raye asked.

"Yeah. Can you believe it? The head of the most terrifying force in the Federation is a couple of cats."

Raye and Mina could only stare at each other.

"We will hail you again once our shields are repaired, Captain Saotome," Giles noted.

Ranma nodded. "Sisko out."

Just prior to the transmission ended a person walked across the back of the bridge.

"THAT GIRL!" Shampoo screamed.