The U.S.S. Columbia slowly moved across the sky about a trillion kilometers from the opening of the wormhole. They had a good system of patrolling worked out with the Steamrunner class U.S.S. Sarasota.
When a ship came through the wormhole, the Saratoga would scan it. If it contained anything that should not be entering Dominion Space, then the Columbia would do a quick, short-range warp and land practically on top of the target ship.
Two other ships, The U.S.S. Jacksonville and the U.S.S. Spock, both Intrepid class, were within five minutes in case they needed back up.
Part of the Alpha Occupational Authority’s job was to make sure that items that could allow the Dominion to rebuild their fleet did not make it that far.
This is why Stephen Mitchell, the Captain of the Columbia, was concerned when the ship the Nerima met near F-21AD vanished off long-range sensors.
It could have been an accident with the explosives that the Nerima was carrying. But if that were the case, why didn’t she signal a distress call?
Had they been attacked? Again, Mitchell did not put much weight into that theory as a distress call should have been issued. Plus, no other ships had appeared on long-range sensors. Who would have attacked them?
The most disturbing thought was that it was a ship capable of cloaking that the Nerima had met up with. Mitchell knew of no mining corporations that had cloaking technology. It seemed rather pointless to cloak a mining ship.
“What the hell is going on over there?” Mitchell grumbled to himself.
The answer was not available to him now though. The Columbia could not leave her assigned patrol to investigate. They had requested the U.S.S. Defiant to come from DS9 to assist, but she was still fifteen or so minutes out.
The two Intrepid-class ships were of no help either. They both were required to stay in their assigned areas.
So, Mitchell could do nothing but stare at the long-range sensor display on the ship's main viewer.
After right about fifteen minutes, the event horizon on the wormhole opened, and the U.S.S. Defiant emerged. She immediately hailed the Columbia.
“Yes Captain, how can we be of assistance?” The unnamed female voice on the Defiant’s end of the communication asked.
“F-21AD. I need you to head over there and investigate the disappearance of a ship. There were two and now there is one.”
“Sure thing, sir,” she replied. “What do you want to do with the one ship?”
Mitchell pondered this for a moment.
“Detain it but be careful. It may still be carrying several thousand tons of hydroxide sulfate. If it explodes near you not even that little workhorse of a battleship you have will make it out in one piece.”
“Understood. Anything specific we are looking for?”
Mitchell narrowed his gaze at the long-range sensor display.
“A cloaked ship.”
“Roger that, Defiant out.”
The communication closed and the Defiant turned to face her destination. Right as the Defiant streaked off towards F-21AD the sensor display began to chirp.
“They’ve gone to warp!” The tactical officer exclaimed.
“God damn it,” Mitchell groaned. “Headed this way?”
The tactical officer nodded as Mitchell returned to the Captain’s chair.
“Helm, get us in front of the event horizon.”
The helm officer began to comply as Mitchell turned to his weapons officer.
“Hail the Sarasota, have them take a position below the event horizon. Tell them NOT to fire.” Mitchell turned back towards the screen. “Unless I give the word.”
“Aye,” the tactical officer complied.
Mitchell shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “Red alert. Shields to full. Arm phasers and quantum torpedoes.”
The red alert klaxons sounded, and the shields hummed to life as the sleek dull silver ship streaked across the sky for a couple of seconds, stopping within a few thousand kilometers of the wormhole.
The Sarasota also followed her orders and took a position about fifteen hundred kilometers below the Columbia.
“Hail DS9. Stop inbound traffic,” Mitchell ordered.
The tactical officer complied and responded.
“Done sir. The Defiant is now hailing us. They want to know if we want them to come back.”
“No,” Mitchell answered. “Tell them to continue to their destination and see if they can find any clues of what happened to the second ship.”
“ETA one minute,” the operations officer chimed in.
The two intrepid class assault ships warped in moments later. One appeared on Columbia’s main viewer.
“Where do you want us?” the senior officer on the Spock asked.
“Take up positions at 1-4-3 mark 2-3 and 0-8-2 mark 2-3,” Mitchell ordered. “Do not engage the ship without my authorization.”
“Roger that,” he replied. The viewscreen returned to the view of the empty starfield.
“Thirty seconds,” Ops stated.
Mitchell nodded and waited. Watching for the ship to appear in his sights.
Mitchell continued to watch.
There she was.
On the bridge of the Nerima, T’Sol was in total shock. He pulls out his communicator.
“Vor’Gal, they’ve got the wormhole blockaded.”
“RAM THEM!” Vor’Gal screamed back.
“What are you nuts?” T’Sol replied calmly. “This is a transport ship. We will be ripped to shreds. At least until the hydroxide goes off. Then what’s left will be blown to bits.”
“Fine,” Vor’Gal groaned. “We’ll do it. Just hold your course.”
“Okay,” T’Sol replied, closing his communicator.
The Nerima was about 100,000 kilometers from the bigger Columbia blocking the entrance to the wormhole. He sighed and throttled up the cargo ship to full impulse.
On Vor’Gal’s ship, the bridge crew began to brace for impact.
“When you hit him, try to steer away from the wormhole. That ship MUST get through.”
The helmsman nods as he lays the preverbal pedal to the metal.
“They’re going to ram us?” Mitchell questioned as he stood. The ship was still about thirty seconds from contact but was barreling right towards them.
“They’ll be ripped apart,” the tactical officer stated, just as, if not more confused, than Mitchell.
“Forward shields to-“ Mitchell began to say but was interrupted by a frantic operations officer.
“PROXIMITY ALARM – FORWARD –“ he couldn’t finish.
The cloaked Vulcan vessel rammed full impulse into the bow of the Columbia. The cloak began to fail as the two ships exchanged paint. If sound could travel through space, it would have made a shrill, worse than fingernails on a chalk board, screech. Pieces of metal from both ships went flying in every direction, with the Columbia taking most of the damage. The Ek’Skil, Vor’Gal’s ship, driving her nose into the top of the Columbia.
The thrusters on the nose of the Ek’Skil fired, pushing the front of the larger ship down and into the Columbia.
Crew members on the Columbia went flying. Sparks began to shoot from displays and the lights began to flutter. Mitchell was thrown to the deck. The helm officer was knocked out of his seat. The operations officer managed to hold on despite being tossed around like a rag doll. He tried like hell to read what his display was telling him.
“SECOND VESSEL! LOSING CLOAK! TWICE THE MASS OF US!”
Mitchell tried to pull himself upright, but the shaking of the ship was extraordinarily strong. The inertia stabilizers could not handle the load the Ek’Skil ship was putting on the Columbia. On the bridge, they could hear the metal supports in the hull beginning to bend and break.
“LOCK PHASERS!” Mitchell screamed.
“I CAN’T GET A LOCK!” the tactical officer replied after pulling himself back up to his station.
“BEST GUESS!” Mitchell yelled back. He turned to the helmsman who had gotten back into his seat. “PUSH BACK! KEEP THAT WORMHOLE BLOCKED!”
The helmsman tried to comply, but the larger ship was overpowering the Columbia.
“Structural integrity down to 30 percent!” Ops called out. “The outer hull is beginning to buckle!”
The tactical officer had begun to shoot at the partially cloaked ship, making one or two hits, but missing for the most part.
The two intrepid class ships swooped in and began to fire at the Vulcan vessel but were unable to get locks. They were guessing as well, but it was not working; neither ship wanting to fire torpedoes in fear of hitting the Columbia.
The Vulcan ship was managing to hold her cloak, for the most part, keeping the four Starfleet ships from getting a lock. Her shields continued to hold keeping the damage from the few shots that did hit from doing any damage. The Ek’Skil continued to push on, her impulse engines at full power, her navigational thrusters firing with ease, shoving the Columbia farther and farther away from the wormhole.
The Saratoga also blindly fired at the partially visible ship, both phasers, and torpedoes, but was unsuccessful at hitting her. Some torpedoes zipped by the Nerima, missing it by meters.
“TEN PERCENT!” Ops screamed. “IF WE DON’T BACK AWAY, WE’RE GOING TO BREACH!”
“Mother fuck!” Mitchell swore. “FULL REVERSE!”
Helm complied and the severely damaged Columbia began to back away quickly, a horrible crunching sound echoing through the ship as the front end of the Ek’Skil was pulled from her hull.
With the pressure on the shields no longer there, the Ek’Skil regained her cloak right as the Nerima shot into the wormhole. Just prior to the event horizon closing a brilliant flash of light was seen.
“PURSUIT COURSE!” Mitchell angrily ordered.
“No good sir,” the helmsman whimpered. “We toasted nearly every single plasma relay. Warp and impulse engines are out.”
“SHIT!” Mitchell yelled, slamming his fist into his armrest. “Send one of the support ships.”
The tactical officer relayed his Captain’s orders to the intrepid class ships. Both shot off towards the event horizon of the wormhole.
But it did not open.
“What the hell?” Mitchell asked no one in particular.
“If I am reading this right,” a rattled operations officer states, “they detonated some of the hydroxide sulfate in the wormhole, destabilizing it.”
“Permanently?” Mitchell gasped. The last thing he wanted was to spend the next hundred or so years flying home in a crippled ship.
“I don’t think so,” he replied. “There have been worse explosions than that in the wormhole.”
“Damn it,” Mitchell cursed. He rarely swore but he was pissed.
The wormhole suddenly opened for the two support ships. Both proceeded in and after the Nerima and the mystery ship.
“Well, that’s a relief,” Ops mused.
Mitchell grunted an agreement. “Damage report?”
Ops took a moment to check his terminal. “Multiple injuries, most of them minor but some serious. No word on any fatalities. Our engines are offline. Shields are dead. Major outer hull damage on the bow, but we do not appear to have any inner hull breaches. We’ll have to have a D-A-T to go out there and see exactly how bad it is.”
“Can we return to DS9?”
Ops shook his head. “I wouldn’t risk the turbulent nature of the wormhole till we assess how bad the hull damage is. Especially without shields.”
Mitchell nods and slinks into his seat. “Did you get a scan of that cloaked ship?”
Ops shook his head again. “A partial one when her cloak was fluctuating, but nothing solid.”
‘Shit.’ Mitchell thought. “Get me Starfleet.”
On the Alpha side of the wormhole, several small Bajoran assault ships were poised, facing the event horizon. Waiting for whatever it was to emerge.
Then it did. The cargo ship shot from the wormhole like a bullet. It then began to align itself for warp.
On the Nerima, T’Sol ignored repeated orders from the fighters to stand down. He ignored orders from DS9 to stand down. He almost ignored his communicator, but a bellowing Vor’Gal changed his mind.
“What?” He dryly replied while setting the ship's course.
“You’re not going straight there, right?”
T’Sol rolled his eyes. “I’m plotting the course you gave me. Don’t worry.”
“Okay,” Vor’Gal replied. “Meet you at checkpoint delta.”
“Right,” T’Sol stated, closing his communicator.
“Again – TCIC Nerima – Stand down or prepare to be fired upon.”
T’Sol just chuckled as the ship shot off.
Nabiki and Kasumi, tied together on the floor just watched with concern as the stars begin to streak by through the window.
One Bajoran fighter is nearly hit as the Nerima shoots off into the distance. Within a few seconds the wormhole opens again, and the U.S.S. Spock and the U.S.S. Jacksonville come out.
Onboard the Jacksonville the Captain looks over the sensor data.
“Two warp signatures,” he states.
His ops officer looks up to him.
“Yes sir. One from the cloaked ship and one from the cargo ship, but the trails have been masked to both look like Klingon signatures.”
“So, we don’t know which ship is which then?” The captain asks.
“No,” Ops replies dryly. He looks to another panel. “The Spock is hailing us.”
“On screen,” the captain orders as he turns to face his counterpart onboard the Spock.
“Well?” He asks.
The Jacksonville’s captain sighs. “I guess we take one trail, you take the other.”
The other captain nods. “We have pursuit authorization?”
The Jacksonville captain shrugs. “I wasn’t told not to.”
“Good enough,” the Spock captain states just before ending the communication. The Spock quickly does an about-face and darts off in the direction of one trail.
“Follow the other trail,” the Jacksonville captain orders his helm officer. He complies and the Jacksonville shoots off in the opposite direction.
“How are we supposed to stop him without shooting him?” Sergeant Anthony Schaefer whispered into his headset.
Kio groaned. She was not sure herself. The last six attempts ended in the death of the hostages, her team, or both.
She was tired. Tired and pissed off. She wasn’t angry with Rei screaming at her. No, she was angry with herself. Angry because she could not complete the relatively simple task that she had been assigned.
She has done hostage rescue before. She was part of a Federation peace-keeping team assigned to a planet that had just ended a 176-year civil war. Hostages were taken all the time there and all the time her team had stormed in and rescued them.
It was a simple task.
Kio turned and looked at Anthony. She then looked up at the entrance to the room with the hostage-taker and the three hostages. She sighed.
“Mike?” Kio whispers.
Sergeant Michael Simpson quietly responds.
“Do you have a line on him at all?”
“Yes, the problem is though if I drop him, he’s going to let go of that detonator. And the minute he releases pressure on it the bomb will go off.”
Kio shakes her head and looks at Anthony.
“I don’t know what to do.”
Anthony looks away and leans against a wall. “Kobayashi Maru Two.”
Kio scowled at Anthony. She did not care for that. A no-win scenario. Her brain began to kick into overdrive. She was trained that there was no such thing as a no-win scenario. She knew there was a way out of this. She just did not know what it was.
Or did she?
“Tony, what’s the frequency of the detonator?”
Anthony pulls out his tricorder and scans.
“Five point three six gigahertz.”
“So, it’s transmitting now?”
Anthony nods, understanding what Kio was planning.
“If I set the tricorder to transmit at the same frequency as the detonator, there will be no interruption when he releases it.”
Anthony follows Kio’s unstated orders and readies the tricorder. Once that is complete, he nods to Kio.
“Okay, Mike. On my mark…” Kio inhales deeply and prepares to storm the room.
A few seconds pass.
The sound of a phaser firing is heard along with a muffled scream. Kio kicks the door open and rushes into the room, her phaser rifle drawn. She spies a man in the corner drawing his gun. She fires. The man drops.
The man with the bomb falls to the ground; the detonator falling from his grasp. Kio closes her eyes as it hits the ground.
Kio looks to the detonator as it hits the ground and bounces once. It rolls around on the ground for a moment before becoming perfectly still.
The relief in Kio’s exhale could be heard for miles.
Kio immediately returns her attention to the hostages and begins to attend to them as Anthony moves in to diffuse the bomb.
Michael moves in as well, keeping guard while the two others complete their tasks.
Once the hostages are free another man, dressed mostly the same as the assault team, albeit without the weapons and protective gear, walks in.
He’s all smiles. “About damn time.”
The trio stands at attention as Lieutenant Clay Dowis greets them. The holographic hostages run from the scene, flailing their arms, and screaming bloody murder. Dowis eyes them worriedly for a moment but then returns his gaze to his troops.
The enlisted officers relax their stances a bit as the Lieutenant addresses them.
“I am glad you figured out that not all things are resolved by moving in and shooting everything.” Dowis motions for the group to follow him. They do and exit the building.
Once out into an open area, Dowis continues.
“A tactical advantage is obtained not through superior numbers, or overwhelming firepower, but through smarter thinking,” Dowis taps his temple and resumes his speech.
“Chief Yuki, this is especially important for you to understand, as the leader of this team. I was worried when you said that you didn’t think you would be able to figure out what to do.
“That kind of negative thinking is what will give the enemy the advantage, regardless of how badly we outnumber them.”
“Yes sir,” Kio acknowledges.
“Sergeants Simpson and Schaefer, you’re dismissed,” Dowis orders.
Mike and Anthony simultaneously reply with “Yes sir” and walk out of the holodeck. Kio continues to stand in front of Lieutenant Dowis.
“End program,” Dowis orders the computer. It chirps and complies, returning the room to a grey and black grid. Dowis returns his attention to Kio.
“What made you think of that, Chief?”
“Sir, I was considering having Sergeant Simpson shoot the transmitter, but realized that it would still terminate the link with the bomb, detonating it. That’s when it hit me, sir.”
Dowis nods. “Right. Your mind was thinking of a solution that involved weapons. You demonstrated the ability to think of other tactical solutions, which is good, but it wasn’t your first choice. That’s bad.”
“Yes sir,” Kio answers.
“We’re not infantry. It’s not about shooting first, asking questions later,” the Lieutenant continued. “We’re a special tactics team. Sometimes shooting everything is the right answer, sometimes not. You need to remember the sometimes not, and act on those instincts.”
Kio nods. “Yes sir. I understand and will do my best, sir.”
Dowis nods back, walks over to Kio, and places a hand on her shoulder. He smiles. “Dismissed.”
Kio returns a forced smile and walks out of the holodeck. Once out, and the doors are closed, she loses the smile. She turns to the wall next to her and punches it.
Kio groans to herself and checks her watch. 02:54. Kio heads down the corridor to the turbolift, hitting the call button once she reaches it. The lift immediately opens and Kio steps in.
“Deck B.” She orders the lift towards her quarters, not wanting to even bother returning her gear to the locker rooms.
The lift quickly jets up one deck to B deck. The doors open and she walks down the dimly lit hallway and to her quarters.
Kio opens the door. Her quarters were small. Not as small as the other enlistee’s quarters, but small.
Kio removes her weapons and sets them on the table. She then removes the protective vest and throws it to the floor. She looks at it for a minute before moving into her bathroom.
Kio unzips the black jumpsuit she is wearing and steps out of it. She takes a moment to look at herself in the mirror.
Kio is a young Japanese woman, twenty-seven years old. She is a bit taller than Ranma as a girl, about 153 centimeters. Her complexion, tan, but not too dark. Her grandmother was Caucasian so the lightness in her skin shows. Kio’s hair is medium length, reaching to the middle of her back. She keeps it in a tightly braided ponytail, not too dissimilar to Ranma when she is working.
Kio is well fit. She has been in Starfleet for nine years – all in the Land Defense Forces; Starfleet’s version of the army. For the last three, she had been assigned to a special peace-keeping operation in a division comparable to the Army Rangers of our time.
Kio wasn’t exactly ‘stacked’, but she didn’t complain. Her breasts were just the right size for her small frame. She had often joked that having bigger breasts would have gotten her killed as the ability to hug the ground was important in infantry operations.
Kio walked into the small bedroom alcove of her quarters. Her quarters didn’t have rooms, per se, except for a bathroom, and was more like a small studio apartment. On a nightstand near her bed was a picture of a man. The man in the picture was dressed in a green Starfleet Land Defense Force uniform. In the frame, next to the picture was a patch showing his assignment to Vulcan. Below that was his communicator and a medal. Next to that in a sealed glass box was a wedding ring.
Kio spent a moment looking at the picture, some moisture coming to her eyes.
“I still think you overestimated me,” She said to the picture. The picture simply looked back at her with the same smug grin that he always had when he had his picture taken. The grin Kio constantly scolded him for.
But tonight, she forgave him for that grin. It was all she had left.
Kio sighed, wiped the tears from her eyes, and moved back into the main area of her quarters. She stepped over and left her jumpsuit on the floor, not caring that seem to make her room appear to be in disarray. Kio moves over to her dresser and finds a pair of gym shorts. She quickly pulls them on and locates a black t-shirt with the Starfleet logo on the breast and in big white letters on the back, NSO.
She found it a bit weird that an allegedly secret task force would have branded clothing, but right now that wasn’t important.
Kio puts the contradiction of a shirt on then finds her gym shoes and puts them on. She walks over to her corner desk and grabs her standard uniform communicator. She places that over the logo on her shirt. She then moves to the door. Before stepping to the sensor that would open the dark, grey doors she pauses. She turns and looks at the medal of valor certificate and medal hanging on her wall.
“For outstanding leadership.”
Kio scoffs at herself and heads out the door and back to the turbolift.
Once there she orders the lift to take her to deck 16, down to the main gym. She disliked the gym given to the NSO team. It was too small for her liking. Plus, she knew at this time of night the other gym would be empty.
The ride seemed to take forever. The lift not only had to advance 19 decks downward, but it had to navigate horizontally quite a way. It did manage to reach its destination uninterrupted though, which could not have made Kio happier. Of all nights where she did not want to have to converse with someone, tonight was the night.
Kio jogs down the corridor to the gym. She walks in and as she hoped, it was empty. Kio heads straight for the half-kilometer track and begins to run.
Kio keeps running until the clock in the gym reads 05:00.
In Tokyo, Genma lay sleeping in his bed. His wife, Nodoka snuggled up next to him.
Both were sleeping quietly. It was 23:14 and both had just gone to bed about a half-hour ago. Both had quickly drifted off to sleep and were in deep REM.
The sleep would not last long though. Genma’s communicator began to chirp.
Genma stirred slightly yet continued to sleep. Nodoka woke up though and began to shake her husband.
“Husband. Wake up.”
“Muhhh,” Genma mumbled.
The communicator chirped again.
“Husband,” Nodoka said, more sternly. “Wake up.”
“Muhhhhhhhh,” He mumbled once again.
Before the communicator could chirp again a blue glow began to appear in the Saotome’s bedroom.
“GENMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” A squeaky voice screeched.
Genma was completely awake now. As a matter of fact, he was up and backed into the corner. Happosai had a way of getting Genma up that his wife could not match.
“M-M-M-Master!” Genma stammered. “Err – I mean Admiral. What’s up?”
“ME!!!!!!” Happosai bellowed. “Get dressed. We have work.”
Genma groaned. “But it’s nighttime!”
“Oh,” Happosai quietly said. “You’d rather wait till it was light out?”
“Yeah,” Genma meekly nodded.
“No problem,” Happosai stated. He reached into his mini-Starfleet uniform and pulled out a ball. He lit the fuse and threw it at Genma.
“HAPPO FIRE BURST!!!!!!!” He screams.
The room exploded in a flash of light that somehow only managed to toast Genma.
“How’s that?” Happosai smirked.
Genma, burnt to a crisp just nodded. “Just got to get dressed,” he stated before collapsing to the ground.
“SNORT!” Ranma, well, snorts as he turns slightly in bed.
The sleep emitted noise was loud enough to wake up Akane. She sits up and groggily looks at her husband.
“Gurble farp,” He mumbles. Akane raises an eyebrow.
“No, Shampoo… Don’t touch that…” He mumbles slightly more coherently; unfortunately for him.
Akane promptly pulls her hammer from wherever it is that she keeps it and clocks Ranma right upside the head. She then shoves him to the floor.
“WHAT’D YOU DO THAT FOR?” Ranma bellows from the Sisko’s deck while rubbing the welt that was protruding from the top of his head.
Akane turns over and faces the opposite way, towards the window.
“Dreaming about Shampoo, huh? Well, you can dream all you want from the couch,” She explains, drifting off to sleep.
“Shampoo?” Ranma attempts to recollect. He remembers Shampoo being in one of his dreams, but he did not think it was anything he should be walloped over.
He looks down.
Or was it?
Ranma decides that he would make sure Akane was deep in REM before moving back into the bed. He pulls himself to his feet and moves out into the couple’s living room.
Ranma eyes the clock.
Would be time for him to get up shortly anyway, Ranma thinks to himself.
Ranma figures it would be best to get a jump on things, so he heads to the bathroom, doing all his business and grooming, and walks back out.
He quickly puts on his uniform when his communicator begins to chirp.
“Sorry to bother you, sir,” a bridge officer on the other end apologizes, “but we have a priority one message for you from Starfleet.”
“Patch it through to my quarters please,” Ranma asks.
The bridge officer complies and within a few seconds, Genma appears on the screen.
Genma looks like he had just gotten up himself. But that isn’t what was bothering Ranma. It was the look of concern that is rarely seen on the old man.
“Hey pop,” Ranma acknowledges. “What gets you up so early?”
Genma inhales deeply and begins.
“We have a situation, son,” Genma takes a sip of coffee and continues. “A cargo ship carrying seventy-three thousand metric tons of hydroxide sulfate was reported going on a delivery into the delta quadrant. It was scheduled to drop off the shipment to a mining corporation at F-21AD. Instead, the ship returned to the wormhole, fully loaded and with five more people on board than it did when it came in.
“The ship ignored a Federation blockade at the wormhole and proceeded through.” Genma pauses just long enough to take another sip. “With the help of a cloaked ship that critically damaged the U.S.S. Columbia.
“Both ships then bypassed DS9 traffic control and multiple Bajoran fighters. Based on the plasma trails, they warped off in two different directions, one that puts them on a heading towards Earth. The other towards Klingon space.
“Two ships plotted pursuit courses. One has not caught up with the cargo ship. The other may be right on the ass of the cloaked ship but would never know.
“The U.S.S. Defiant went to F-21AD to investigate. They found that there was no mining taking place on F-21AD. They also located a Ferengi’s body floating in space, identified to be the pilot of the cargo ship.”
Genma takes another sip and finishes.
“Ranma, it’s imperative that this ship does NOT reach Earth loaded with that kind of explosives. Neither pursuit ship would be able to withstand the explosion that would result from the destruction of the cargo ship. They have been instructed not to engage.”
Ranma nods. “Okay. What’s the ship's top speed?”
Ranma nods again. “No sweat, pop. We can easily catch up to them and stop them.”
Genma takes another sip before clearing his throat.
“There is a complication.”
Ranma raises an eyebrow.
“The ship is owned by Tendo Intersystem Commerce. And according to their offices, Nabiki and Kasumi are on board.”
Ranma’s heart dropped. He remembered the email. They would be delayed for business. What kind of business did they have with all those explosives on board? That did not matter now. What did matter is that his job got a lot harder in more ways than one.
“Does Ambassador Tendo know?” Ranma softly asked.
“Nothing is confirmed yet,” Genma responded. “But they have a three-hour head start on you, and we aren’t certain that they are heading for Earth. But if they are…” Genma trails off. His son nods.
Genma shook his head. “I don’t really think you do. A quarter of the explosives on there could destroy a city the size of Tokyo. The whole batch could almost destroy an entire continent.”
Genma took a deep breath.
“Do what you can to get the-“ Genma paused, thought for the word, and then continued. “-innocents on that ship back. But your primary mission is to stop it.”
“You also need to understand that if that ship does enter Klingon space, they won’t attempt a rescue first. They will simply destroy it.”
Ranma nodded again.
“Admiral Larson will be contacting you later as we get more information. As soon as you can get underway, set a course back for here,” Genma stated as he terminated the transmission.
Ranma sighed and walked back into his bedroom. He looked at his wife. She was beautiful to him regardless of the odd positions she slept in.
He knew most of the beauty came from within.
He knew the death of her sisters would kill that beauty.
He knew he could not let that happen.
Ranma kissed Akane and walked out of his quarters and headed towards the turbolift. He hits his communicator.
“Saotome to bridge.”
“Awake the senior officers and have them come to the bridge immediately. Also, begin priority undocking procedures. We’re leaving as soon as possible.”
Ranma groaned as he hit the call button for the turbolift. The lift arrived quickly, and he stepped on board.
The lift complied and quickly shot upwards the one deck. Ranma could hear the ship starting to come to life. The computer core was loading up to full power. The engines were turning on. The navigational systems were coming online along with the sensors.
No more peace and quiet for now.
Ryouga and Minako were sound asleep in Minako’s bed. Ryouga with his left arm wrapped around Minako snuggled close to her.
The sudden chirping of Minako’s communicator woke her quickly though. She normally was a deep sleeper, but she had become trained to the sound of her communicator. It was like the shrillest of alarm clocks.
Minako slightly grumbled as she pulled away from Ryouga. Ryouga, still asleep, noticed her moving and pulled himself over to where she had moved to.
Minako smiled at that, as she clumsily grabbed her communicator from the dresser top.
“Aino here,” She groggily acknowledged.
“Commander, you are needed on the bridge immediately,” a voice told her.
“What’s wrong?” She asked, slightly more awake.
“I don’t have details. The captain is just ordering all senior officers to the bridge.”
“Okay. Don’t bother calling Lt. Hibiki. I’ll get him.”
“Oooooooooo!” The voice taunted.
“Oh shut up,” Minako groused. The voice simply chuckled as she terminated the communication. Minako slides her feet off the bed and sits up. The closer she got to being completely awake, the more she noticed the sounds.
Sounds she had not heard in a couple of weeks.
The sounds of the ship.
Minako looks out the windows across her bed. She notices a blue glow coming from aft.
“We’re departing,” She acknowledges to herself.
Minako turns to Ryouga and begins to shake him.
“Ryouga. Wake up.”
Ryouga grumbles. “It’s not seven o’clock.”
Minako rolls her eyes, grabs a glass of water sitting atop her dresser, and pours it on Ryouga.
“BWEEEEEEEEEEE!” A very awake P-Chan screams. Minako chuckles but then turns serious.
“Something is going on. They need us on the bridge right away.”
Ryouga looks at Minako and nods. The little piggy then jumps from the bed and heads into the bathroom.
“BWEEEEEEEEE!” Ryouga hollers again.
Minako stands and walks into the bathroom. She laughs at Ryouga’s sudden remembrance that there aren’t water showers in the future for the most part.
Minako walks back out and to her replicator.
“Water, eighteen degrees.”
The replicator complies and the water appears. Minako takes it and douses P-Chan with it. Soon, Ryouga stands before her.
“You know, simply shaking me would have sufficed,” Ryouga explains.
Minako smiles. Ryouga laughs.
“What?” Minako asks.
“Oh, I just can’t be mad at you when you’re naked,” Ryouga grins.
Minako blushes. “That’s fine. Just stop pointing at me.”
Ryouga looks at his hands. “I’m not point-“ Ryouga’s face turns red.
Minako chuckles and begins to walk away.
“Hurry up. We need to get going.”
“Come on Rei!” a handsome young man calls to Rei as she sits up on her beach towel.
Rei nods and stands. She takes a moment to take in the scenery. It is a beautiful summer day. The sand on the beach is beautifully white. The water is an awesome shade of blue. Not as blue as the sky though with not a cloud in sight.
Rei begins to run across the beach towards her gentleman caller. He playfully motions for her to join him near the water. She runs up to him and embraces him. They hug for a moment.
“I’m so happy,” he tells her.
Rei smiles and looks at him. “I am too.”
“I love you, Rei Hino,” he says to her, peering deep into her dark brown eyes.
“I love you too – uh…” Rei is unsure of the man’s name.
“My name isn’t important. What is important is that I want to make love to you, here on the beach,” he informs her.
Rei nods. “Yeah, that sounds cool.”
The pair slink to the sand, still embraced. They begin to kiss. Passionately and deeply. They roll a bit back and forth in the sand as the man runs his hands up and down Rei’s tanned, toned body.
The man reaches around and unties Rei’s top, allowing it to slide off her.
He begins to kiss her neck. Rei moans with pleasure as he moves his kisses and nibbles downward and downward.
The man firmly grabs Rei’s breast and moves his lips down to her nipple.
Suddenly, a bird flies in and lands next to the pair.
“CHIRP CHIRP,” the bird screeches.
“A bird?” The man gags. “Well, I’m turned off now.”
The man stands and walks away, leaving a topless Rei to sit there and look at the bird.
“CHIRP CHIRP,” the bird once again screeches.
Something about the bird concerned Rei. This was not a normal bird chirp. It was more - computerized - than it should be.
“Damn bird, shut up!” Rei orders.
“I’LL CHIRP YOU!”
Rei dives and attacks the bird.
Rei groans as she hits the floor of her quarters.
Her communicator chirps a fifth time.
“Shit!” She murmurs, pulling herself to her knees and grabbing the communicator.
“Commander, I am sorry to bother you, but you are needed on the bridge immediately,” the voice tells her.
Rei almost starts to question the voice, but she then notices the ship is making more noise than it should, considering they were docked.
“On my way,” she responds, ending the communication.
Rei quickly grabs her Starfleet uniform and puts it on over the gym shorts, t-shirt combo she had been sleeping in. She knew there would be plenty of time for a shower later.
She quickly runs a brush through her hair and pulls it back into the ponytail she wore it in when she did not have the time to groom it properly. She then grabs her communicator and heads to the turbolift.
Shampoo’s quarters were dark. She had been keeping the blinds on her window closed as it just so happened her quarters were near one of the Sisko’s running lights.
While this light was not activated, its green glow was forever etched into her mind. She hated it. She kept her windows blocked off out of habit and wasn’t going to change just because they were docked.
There was a light in her quarters though. A purple ‘night-light’ that she left on to make sure she did not trip over anything in a rush to get up quickly.
A sudden rattle awoke Shampoo from her slumber. She was a light sleeper. Amazon life trains you to be as such.
She rubs her eyes and slowly sits up. She looks over to her clock.
Shampoo sighs and begins to lie back down. She does not go on duty till 08:00. No point in getting up this early.
Before her head can return to the pillow, she hears another rumble.
Shampoo’s hearing was superb. It was rumored that she could hear an alignment variance in the plasma injectors. No one doubted the rumor since no one quite knew what a variance sounded like. It wasn’t the most studied field in Federation Engineering Science.
Shampoo slides out of bed and walks over towards her dresser.
“Lights, thirty percent.” She orders.
The room lights turn on, albeit dimly. The lighting accentuating Shampoo’s perfect Amazon body. The bra and panty set Shampoo wore left little to the imagination. The lighting gave her body a very sensual feel to it. Shampoo pauses for a moment in front of her mirror and acknowledges this.
“How Ranma choose Akane over this?” She asks herself. She sighs, shrugs, and moves to her dresser, and picks up her communicator.
She prepares to activate it and call the bridge when it chirps at her.
“Commander, I’m sorry to bother you but the Captain wants all the senior officers on the bridge immediately,” the voice informs her.
“On the way.”
Shampoo walks to her closest. “Lights full.”
The lights went to their full illumination, causing Shampoo’s irises to constrict slightly. The sudden jolt of light gave her somewhat of a headache. Mostly because of the small hangover she had.
Shampoo quickly dresses herself and heads out into the hallway and towards the turbolift.
“…So, then the idiot gets plastered and tells this girl, ‘I love you’!” Gosnell explains.
Makoto, who is sitting at the bar of the lounge nursing a Mountain Dew stares at him bug-eyed.
“AT HER WEDDING?” She exclaims.
Gosnell turns his attention from the glasses he was washing to Makoto.
“Uh-huh. Right in front of her new husband no less.”
Makoto chuckles. “That must have been a sight.”
Gosnell nods. “Yup. I think he was lucky that he did not get his ass kicked. Not only from the husband, but from the girl!”
Makoto nods. “Yeah, but I am sure the embarrassment of getting drunk and confessing your love at the woman you love’s wedding was punishment enough.”
Gosnell agrees and returns to his dishes. Makoto takes in another sip.
“Whatever happened to this guy anyway?” Makoto ponders.
“Last I heard he was working for the Federation Press Corps as a photographer. Does some writing on the side,” Gosnell explains.
Makoto nods and continues to nurse her drink. Makoto was always up with the crack of dawn. She usually spent the morning time before her shift chatting with Gosnell as he got the lounge ready for the 06:00 breakfast rush.
Makoto stands and walks over to the window. She looks out at the former Cardassian station floating above the ship. She followed the docking mooring down and to the front of the Sisko where it was attached to an airlock.
“Damn what an ugly station,” Makoto says, sticking her tongue out in disgust. Gosnell looks up and nods in agreement.
“I’ve never been a fan of Cardassian architecture,” he acknowledges.
Makoto was about to turn around and walk away when the ship started to hum. She suddenly notices a blue glow reflecting off the brown mooring. She takes a closer look.
“The deflector dish has been turned on.”
There is no answer because Gosnell had walked away for a moment. It didn’t matter. He knows about as much as a cat does when it comes to the operations of the ship.
Makoto’s communicator chirps.
“Gosnell,” Makoto answers.
“WHAT?” Gosnell calls from across the room.
“NOT YOU!” She yells back.
Gosnell groans and resumes his work. The voice on the other end explains the situation.
“Commander, sorry to bother you but you are needed on the bridge immediately.”
“Are we leaving?” Makoto asks as she begins to head for the door.
“I don’t have any details, Commander, but I do believe so.”
“On my way,” Makoto acknowledges. She turns to Gosnell as she walks out the door.
“Gotta work. See ya later babe!”
Gosnell pokes his head up from where he was scraping gum from underneath one of the tables.
“Bye!” he calls after her.
Usagi was DEAD asleep in her quarters. Her communicator had chirped about fifty times before her doorbell rang.
She continued to sleep.
Knocking on the door is heard. Less knocking, more pounding. An officer with quarters near hers sticks his head out his door.
“Quiet!” He scolds the two security officers sent to fetch Usagi.
The security guards just wave him back into his quarters and pound again.
“Commander Tsukino! Are you okay in there?”
No answer. The second guard speaks up.
“You need to answer us, or we will have to force entry!”
The first guard hits his communicator.
“Vall to security. Please release the lock on officer’s quarters 4-061,” he instructs.
“Aye,” a security officer’s voice responds.
The door chirps and the lock releases. The guards draw their weapons, not knowing what they might find on the inside. The second guard hits the release button, and the door opens.
They cautiously take a step in.
“Lights!” One guard whispered. The lights in the rooms go on. Everything seems to be in order. The guards need to make sure though and quickly slink to a closet. They open the door and clear it.
The guards quickly move to a small hallway between the living area and Usagi’s bedroom. They notice nothing out of the ordinary.
They look and see Usagi sleeping soundly in her bed.
“Is she dead?” guard two asks.
Guard one walks over and pokes her.
“Muhhhhhhhh…” Usagi blubbers.
Guard one rolls his eyes and holsters his weapon. Guard two follows suit.
The first guard begins to shake Usagi.
“Commander, please wake up.”
Usagi starts to come too. She rolls over towards where the guard is. She opens her eyes slightly.
“Hi,” she sleepily murmurs.
Usagi then starts to doze off again, but it doesn’t last long.
Usagi’s eyes go wide open.
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” Usagi screams at the top of her lungs, causing both guards to dive for cover.
“BURGLARS!” She screams again. She quickly tries to hop out of bed but simply trips on her blanket and her own feet, landing face down, butt up on the floor next to her bed, the top of her bunny pajamas falling over her head.
The first guard quickly stands and moves over to Usagi.
“No, ma’am. We’re with ships security. You weren’t answering your communicator, so they sent us down here to make sure you were okay.”
Usagi’s eyes move to the officer’s boots.
“Security, eh?” She asks.
“Yes ma’am.” The second guard replies.
“Well then,” Usagi says, remaining where she is. “Job well done. I will be okay now.”
The security guards look at each other. The first guard speaks.
“You are needed on the bridge as soon as possible.”
“Understood,” Usagi grunts. The guards turn and walk out of her quarters.
Usagi does a roll to the side and places herself right side up again. She looks to her clock.
“Why would they be calling this early?” she pondered as she stood and moved towards her closet.