Captain's Log: Stardate 60101.4. The USS Sisko has been assigned to patrol an area of disputed space near the Federation/Cardassian border. It should be relatively uneventful. Thanks to the toll from the Dominion War, the Cardassians don't have the military power right now to invade an uninhabited planet, much less any inside Federation space.

Things here on the Sisko are finally back to normal. After spending almost 6 weeks in dry dock being repaired we are finally out in space again. I for one couldn't be happier. I took the time to visit San Francisco with Akane and Gosnell. We stopped by Starfleet headquarters and said hello to Rear Admiral Happosai. He splashed me with cold water and felt me up, tried to feel up Akane, and was happy he found a drinking buddy in reference to Gosnell. That's all well and good, as long as he doesn't invite him aboard for a slumber party.

Ranma sipped his coffee and just stared at his computer. His logs have been incredibly boring lately, but he didn't think it would get so bad that he would start to include his vacation into the official log.

<Nifty Star Trek door chirp here>

"Come in," Ranma called.

His door slid open and Akane walked in.

"Hi!" Ranma smiled.

"You scare the hell out of me lately, Ranma," Akane stated, rather bluntly, as she sat in the seat across from Ranma.

"What? Why?"

Akane leaned back and pulled out a cigarette. "Do you mind?"

Ranma shook his head.

"Tendo to Security. Please disable the fire alarm in the captain's ready room." Akane stated.

"Yes ma'am." Mousse's voice replied.

"So I scare you?" Ranma handed Akane a lighter he had picked up in California.

"Mmm-hmm." Akane puffed.

"I suppose I'm the reason you smoke so much, huh?"

Akane sat up. "Yes. You are."


Akane took in a deep drag and leaned back again. "You're being nice to me."

Ranma chuckled. "And that's scary?"

Akane nodded. "What's the deal? I mean you were never really MEAN to me." 

Akane thought back for a second as she took another drag. "Well, you were sometimes. But most of the time you and I were pretty damned indifferent to each other."

Ranma spun in his chair and faced his window. "Things change."

"Such as?"

"Let's just say…" Ranma said as he spun back around. "Let's just say I realize that I shouldn't take you for granted.

"The last mission made me realize that you really never know what you have until it's gone."

Akane could just stare at Ranma. "I've had to have been kidnapped fifty times beforehand and you just NOW realized that?"

Ranma grew a half-smile. "You'd be the first to note how thick-headed I can be."

Akane laughed. "Well, you are."

Ranma nodded. "I've never really gotten to tell you this."

Akane almost slid out of her seat. Is he going to say it?

"Akane. I care about you. A lot. I'm sorry I've never told you before. I just – well you know."

Akane shook her head. He WAS going to say it and it was going to be on her terms. "No, I don't know."

Ranma groaned. This was a lot easier when he practiced on the EMH. The EMH even seemed a little less awkward even though he was male.

"I'm not good at expressing my feelings. You should understand. You are the same way."

Akane nodded in silent agreement.

"So." Ranma paused. The words were on the tip of his tongue. He knew what he wanted to say. He had the words. He had rehearsed this moment for the last six weeks. What the hell was wrong with him?

Ranma knew that if he didn't say he'd seem even more stupid than he would if he did say it. He knew she felt the same way about him. Gosnell and he had gone over it hundreds of times.

Ranma would rather Akane say it first, but he knew it wasn't her way. He was going to have to be a man. He was going to have to be the one who says it first. He would have this day.

"Akane –" Ranma started. "I lo-"

His communicator chirped.

"Saotome here," Ranma replied almost a little too anxiously.

"Nihao Ranma! Ship getting distress call! Explosion in dilithium matrix! Ship need help! We closest!"

"Set a course. I'm on my way." Ranma replied.

He looked to Akane who was fuming. "Excuse me."

Ranma darted out of the ready room.

Akane just sat there. "Shampoo. It's ALWAYS Shampoo!"

Akane got up and went around to the other side of the desk. She started punching things into Ranma's computer.

"Computer, request medical information system. How can the CMO relieve a bridge officer from duty and have her confined somewhere?"

The computer began to spit information up onto the display. Akane at first just grinned. She then began to laugh. Then, much to her own surprise and chagrin, she burst into full Kuno style cackle.

She stopped, cleared her throat, and walked out of the ready room.

Once on the bridge, she took a look around. Sitting at his helm station was Ryouga.

Once he noticed that Akane was looking at him he blushed and gave her one of those ‘I'm a little wimp who won't tell you I love you because I turn into the little pig you've been sleeping with and loving it even more since you started to sleep naked' waves. Akane waved back oblivious to Ryouga's embarrassment. What else was new though?

Next to Ryouga at the Operations station, she made note of Lt. Commander Mina Aino. She's cute. Akane thought. But Ranma doesn't really care for blondes so I am good there. I think.

Swinging back a little, to the captain's left was Lt. Commander Raye Hino. 

Akane thought she was pretty and she didn't really trust her after the incident in 10-Forward, but she seemed more interested in Ranma's girl half than anything else. Akane chose not to worry. The likelihood of Ranma getting wet onboard was slim to none.

As Akane checked out the next station her stomach growled. Shampoo bugged her THAT much. Also could have been the 3 chili cheese dogs she had for lunch, but she was content on blaming it on Shampoo.

Behind the captain's chair was the tactical station where Mousse was stationed. Surprisingly he's been pretty good at that station. Once Ranma duct-taped his glasses around his head that is. At first, Ranma got a little bit too carried away with it and put the duct tape over his nose and eyes. 

Akane had gotten pretty good are resuscitating people though, so all was good.

On the back wall of the bridge, there were several other miscellaneous stations staffed by people whose names were not really important. Akane figured that if they didn't say anything they weren't important enough to have names.

Akane noted that Ranma was standing in the middle of the bridge. He appeared to be chatting with someone on the main viewer. She assumed that it was the captain of the distressed ship. They appeared to be discussing what was wrong with his ship. 

"-you could let us borrow a couple of engineers and some dilithium we should be able to get underway to a starbase within a couple of hours." The man on the viewer finished.

"No problem," Ranma replied. "Glad to help. We should be there within the hour. Were there any serious injuries?"

"Eh, some plasma burns. But we have a medical staff. They just didn't bother giving us any engineers." He replied.

Ranma nodded but was confused. "What kind of mission are you on that you have more medical staff than engineers?"

The man appeared to be looking at someone on the starboard side of the bridge. He then turned back to Ranma.

"The nature of our mission is classified. We picked up what appeared to be a Cardassian patrol ship within 10 light-years, so we moved into the nebula to avoid detection. We should have figured that a super-neutrino nebula wouldn't be good for us."

Ranma laughed with the captain. "No. Usually isn't." Ranma let a couple of more chuckles out then continued. "As I said, we will be there within the hour with any assistance you might need."

"Thanks again, Captain Saotome. Minneapolis out."

The screen went back to the starfield at warp effect. Akane looked over to Ranma.

"Walk to engineering with me?" Ranma asked her.

Akane nodded. As she walked toward the turbolift she could feel Shampoo's eyes burning a hole in the back of her neck.

The lift opened and the two got in. As she turned around she could verify that Shampoo was staring at her. 

As the door closed Akane left something for Shampoo to remember her by.

A finger.

You know which one.

The lift began its way down. Ranma smiled at Akane. "That wasn't very nice."

Akane grinned back. "I'm not very nice. You should know that by now."

Ranma couldn't disagree with that.

The two rode the lift for a while in silence till Akane decided to ask a question.

"Don't you think that there is a whole hell of a lot of classified doings going on lately?"

Ranma hadn't really thought about it, but she was right. Two incidents of anything normally wouldn't be counted as suspicious, but when it's classified then it reeks of Starfleet Intelligence. Even classified, most information about missions is allowed to be given to a ship's captain, especially those coming to assist the classified ship.

However, when S-I is involved no one knows anything, and if they do it's usually useless information that you could get from the Federation News Service.

"You're right," Ranma responded. "I sure as hell hope we're not getting ourselves caught in the middle of something."

The doors of the lift slid open and Akane and Ranma found themselves in engineering. Ranma grinned when he saw his Chief Engineer giving a speech to her crew.

He lost his grin though when he got into earshot.

"-and the girl said ‘that's not my belly button!" All of the crew that didn't notice the captain laughed. The ones who did just stood there, trying to slowly back away.

Serena noticed the ones who weren't laughing. "What's wrong guys? Don't you get it? It wasn't her belly button it was her-"

"Commander." Ranma interrupted.

Serena spun around. She nearly screamed when she saw it was Ranma. 

"Captain! Hi!" She said with a smile.

The slacker engineers who were listening to Serena's joke all scrambled like cockroaches after the lights have been turned on. Serena frowned at her lack of backup.

Akane just shook her head. Ranma decided to let it go.

"Commander, I need you to assemble an engineering team of you and three people to beam over to a ship and fix a burnt-out dilithium matrix."

Serena looked confused. "Do what in the who now?"

Akane turned away so her snicker wouldn't be noticeable to Serena.

"Just assemble a team and report to transporter room one in 45 minutes please," Ranma instructed.

"Yes sir." Serena smiled.

Ranma and Akane proceeded to leave engineering as Serena made a pretty feeble attempt to bark orders.

"She's cute," Akane said.

"Eh. I don't care much for blondes." Ranma replied.

Akane smiled and let out a silent "Yes!"












You get the point…

Space. Final frontier. Shampoo XO of starship Sisko. Starship mission: to go where no one go before, to kill Akane Tendo, and to have Ranma all to Shampoo - HEY, THAT'S NOT HOW IT GOES! - WO AI NI!!!