San Francisco was dark. Not just because it was night, but because only a third of the city remained after the Breen assault during the war.
There were the occasional running lights of a shuttlecraft or other aircraft, but for the most part, what light there was emanated from what was once Oakland and San Jose.
Starfleet Command and the Federation Council had already rebuilt their buildings, overlooking the bay. From there you could see the reconstruction efforts on the Golden Gate Bridge; a bridge that had survived over five hundred years of earthquakes ranging from minor to the 10.1 that flattened Los Angeles in 2214, only to be destroyed by a photon torpedo.
India Basin Shoreline Park is where Brett Alexander was waiting. Nothing in this area had been rebuilt yet, so it was one place he could be sure that they would not be disturbed.
As Brett waited, he looked out over the San Francisco Bay. Memories of his daughter flooded back into him. The memories sat and boiled in his stomach, generating more and more anger.
Brett turned quickly as a blue light began to appear behind him. He saw his good friend, Admiral Jack Hanson, fully materialize.
“Jack, thanks for coming,” Brett said as he shook the Admiral’s hand.
“Anytime my friend. What’s wrong?”
Brett paused for a moment.
Admiral Hanson’s stomach dropped.
“My God, Brett. I’m so sorry.”
Jack walked over and put his arm around his friend.
“Jack, I need your help.”
Jack nodded. “Anything you need.”
“Have you ever heard of Fulnahuric Oxide?” Brett asked.
“Yeah. It’s a stimulant that is used to, well simulate an-“
“I’ve read what it simulates,” Brett interrupted. “Katsy overdosed on it.”
“Where did she get it? It’s illegal here.”
“Right. But not so in Anjarian space. She was on Yan where she bought it, got drunk, and overdosed on it.
“And since THEY say it’s okay, they won’t do anything about it. They say it’s safe,” Brett turned away from Jack so that he wouldn’t see the tears that were starting to form in his eyes.
“If it’s so god damned safe, my daughter wouldn’t be dead.”
“What do you need from me?”
Brett cleared his throat, wiped his eyes, and turned back to Jack. He pulled a PADD out of his coat pocket and handed it to his old friend.
“Because fulnahuric gas is so rare, there is only one place in the sector that FOX is made. On a planet called Chidori Three. The only thing in the system is a FOX manufacturing plant.
“Chidori is not in Federation space, but it’s not in Anjarian space either.”
“You want this plant destroyed.”
“Yeah,” Brett acknowledged. “But it’s a little more complicated than that.
“I’ve already brought this up to the Council and they won’t authorize an assault. That is why I need YOU to do it. No one can know about this. And no one can know of Federation involvement.”
Jack looked at the PADD for a minute.
“Well, that rules out an aerial bombardment because they have planetary defenses that will not only log but destroy a Federation ship. It looks like we will have to send ground forces down in shuttles.”
Brett nodded. “I’ve arranged for you to pick up three Kal class Romulan shuttles from another friend of mine. They’re equipped with cloaking devices.”
Jack shook his head.
“That will be helpful, but the only ship I am in command of with enough security people is the Saint Paul. And even though it has the numbers, they aren’t trained for a land assault.”
“Jack, please,” Brett pleaded. “I don’t know anyone in the LDF, so any request to them would have to go through official channels.”
Jack sighed. He knew this wasn’t a good idea, but he wasn’t going to ignore his friend in a time of need.
“Okay,” Jack finally agreed. “I’ll have the Saint Paul come and pick me up-“
“Us,” Brett interrupted.
“Us?” Jack asked.
“Yes. I need to come too. I need to – I need to see the people who killed my little girl.”
Jack nodded even though he knew THIS was an even worse idea.
“It’s going to take them three hours to get here, I will contact you then,” Jack told his friend.
Brett nodded and called for transport back to his residence.
Zack Young, head of the Federation Council’s committee investigating the actions of the U.S.S. Sisko stood at the end of a hallway in Starfleet Command.
He stood there, nodding to passing Starfleet officers, waiting.
He had been waiting for over an hour.
“I apologize for my tardiness,” a voice called out to him.
Young turned to see a Vulcan in the dress clothes of the Vulcan High Command walking towards him.
“You know, Salek, it’s not logical to keep me waiting,” Young smirked.
“The high command wanted to discuss our treaty with the Golems, in lengthy detail,” Salek replied as the pair began to walk down the hallway.
“Have you spoken with her yet?” Salek asked.
“No,” Young replied. “I wanted to wait for you. I figured that if she shouted me down, you could put some logic into her head.”
The two men walked in silence until they reached an office. They looked at the label on the door.
*Judge Advocate General – Central Office*
Salek nodded to Young, and the pair stepped into the office.
The office was almost entirely empty. The JAG officers got to work a 09:00 to 17:00 day, unlike most Starfleet people. The only ones, who were still in their offices, were ones that were working on cases.
This included Captain Gwen Sanchez.
Young and Salek walked over to her office area. Her doors were closed, but they could see her through the large window that looked out into the lobby area of the JAG office.
<Insert nifty Star Trek doorbell here>
Captain Sanchez looked up from her reading and saw the pair standing outside of her office.
“Come in,” she called.
The doors opened and the pair walked in. Young went to the chair across from Gwen and sat down, but Salek chose to stand and look at the massive pile of PADDs and legal books all over the Captain’s office.
“Good evening Captain,” Young smiled.
“Good evening, Councilman. What can I do for you?” Gwen stated back, still reading a PADD.
“I understand that you have been assigned as the JAG for Commander Ranma Saotome. Is that correct?”
Gwen looked up for a moment.
“I am acting as the judge for his court-martial, yes.”
Young nodded. “Okay good. Now, Captain, you do understand the importance behind this trial, right?”
Gwen set her PADD down and eyed Young for a moment.
“I understand that if Commander Saotome is found guilty he will be sent to a military prison for five years on each count.”
Young shook his head. “That’s not what I mean.”
“What do you mean then, Councilman?”
Salek walked over and sat down next to Young.
“What he means is that my people would find it very insulting if the man who murdered six of our people were to walk free.”
“Who are you?” Gwen asked.
“My apologies,” Salek answered, giving Captain Sanchez a smile, or at least the closest thing that Vulcans consider a smile. “My name is Salek, and I am a member of the Vulcan High Command.”
“Well,” Gwen stated. “First off, he’s not charged with murder, he’s charged with negligent manslaughter.”
Gwen picked up a different PADD and began to read that.
“And secondly, if the prosecutor proves to me that he is guilty of that, then I will rule accordingly.”
“Captain,” Young continued. “I don’t think you understand at all the seriousness-“
Gwen slammed the PADD on her desk and stood. “NO COUNCILMAN!” she yelled, “I don’t think YOU understand. This is a court of law, not some kangaroo court designed to put a pretty face on the imprisonment of an innocent man.”
Gwen looked at Salek.
“With all due respect, I don’t care who the hell you are. I will rule on the evidence and that is all.”
Gwen sat back down and started to go over her PADD again.
“Now if you don’t mind, I have work to do. Please leave my office.”
Young and Salek stood.
“I hope you know, Captain,” Salek explained as they walked out of her office. “There will be more and more problems if this deed goes unpunished.”
Gwen simply ignored the Vulcan as her office doors slid shut behind them.
The pair walked out of the lobby and back into the hallway. Outside they ran into a familiar face.
“Well hello, Admiral,” Young smiled. “What are you doing here?”
Admiral Scott Larson stopped and looked at the pair.
“I work here. What are you doing here?”
“We’re just making sure that everything is on track for the court-martial.”
Young and Salek walked off, leaving the Admiral to ponder what was going on.
“What the hell are those two up to?”
The Centaur class U.S.S. Saint Paul dropped to impulse near Earth’s moon. On her bridge, the Saint Paul’s captain, Captain Phillip McNamara paced.
McNamara had been told to pick up the Admiral and a Federation Council member. He was also told not to tell anyone what he was doing, and why he was doing it.
McNamara did NOT like secrets. Keeping them or having them kept from him.
“Orbital traffic control is contacting us,” the Saint Paul’s communications officer stated.
“On speaker,” McNamara stated.
The communications officer complied and the speakers on the bridge chirped.
“This is Earth Orbital Traffic Control. Confirm identification please,” a faceless man on the other end of the transmission said.
“This is Captain Phillip McNamara of the Federation Starship, the U.S.S. Saint Paul. NCC 20331.”
“Roger, you’ve been cleared by Starfleet Command to take orbit over San Francisco at 3,000 kilometers.”
“Thank you. Saint Paul out.”
Phillip looked to the helmsman who was already programming the orbit parameters into the computer.
“We’re a little early. Let me know when the Admiral contacts us,” Phillip ordered as he walked off into his ready room.
“Aye,” the communications officer replied.
Admiral Larson was not one to let a question go unanswered. He had spent some time wandering the halls of Starfleet Command pondering the encounter with Councilman Young and Salek.
Millions of thoughts of conspiracies rattled around in his head. It was driving him nuts.
Larson took the turbolift down to the fourth level and walked into the JAG office and over to Captain Sanchez’s office.
<Insert nifty Star Trek doorbell here>
Sanchez looked up and groaned. She was getting quite tired of being interrupted. She motioned for Larson to come into her office.
“Good evening, Captain,” Larson stated.
Sanchez never looked up from her reading.
“I suppose that you are here to remind me of the importance of this case and to make sure I rule favorably, right?”
Larson raised an eyebrow.
Sanchez looked up at the Admiral.
“Your friends already came in and informed me that this should simply be a trial for formalities and that Commander Saotome was guilty.”
“Did they?” Larson grumbled.
Sanchez set down the PADD.
“So, you’re not here to tell me how to do my job?”
“Captain, the only thing I have to tell you is that it’s offensive that you think those two are my friends.”
“I simply saw them outside your office and wanted to find out what they were up to.”
Sanchez stood and walked over to her replicator.
“Would you like some coffee, Admiral?” She asked.
“Please,” Larson nodded.
Sanchez ordered a couple of coffees and walked back over to her desk. She handed Larson a cup and kept a cup for herself.
The tall brunette sighed, took a drink of her coffee, and began to speak.
“They were trying to tell me to find Commander Saotome guilty, regardless of the evidence. They explained to me that the Vulcans would find it highly offensive if he were to ‘get away with the murder of six Vulcans’.”
Larson took a sip of his coffee and sighed.
“I figured as much.”
“I told them that I would rule on the evidence and asked them to leave,” Sanchez explained.
Larson nodded. “I doubt that they are finished trying to weave their little conspiracy.”
Larson quickly finished his coffee.
“Who is the prosecutor?”
Sanchez picked up a PADD and glanced at it.
“Lieutenant Commander Aioy Orayyo.”
Larson smiled and stood. “Thank you for the coffee, Captain.”
Sanchez smiled back as the elder man walked to the doors of her office.
“Admiral,” she called.
Larson halted and turned back to Sanchez.
“I *will* rule on the evidence, regardless of how it comes out.”
Larson smiled at her and began to walk out the door.
“That’s all I’d ask of you,” he stated as her doors slid shut.
As soon as Larson was out of the JAG office, he hit his communicator.
“Larson to security.”
“Security, Ensign Vorhes here,” a cute female voice replied.
“Ensign, locate Councilman Young and the Vulcan High Command Officer Salek please,” Larson stated as he began to walk briskly down the hallway.
“They are both at the JAG Prosecutors office. Would you like me to contact them for you?”
“No,” Larson replied, ending the conversation, as he began to run down the hallway.
“So, you do understand how important a guilty verdict is, right Commander?” Young asked the young man sitting across from him.
Orayyo looked up and nodded.
“It’s going to be a tough case though. Nothing really shows any negligence,” he replied.
“Would you like to see pictures of the dead?” Salek asked.
Orayyo shook his head. “That won’t be necessary, sir.”
“Good,” Young smiled. “Everything and anything must be done to assure a conviction. If Commander Saotome were to walk free, well let’s just say it could seriously scar the relationship between the Vulcans and the Federation.”
“Last I checked the Vulcans were part of the Federation, Councilman,” Larson stated from the doorway.
Young, Salek, and Orayyo all turned to see a very sweaty Admiral Larson standing there with a truly angry look on his face.
“Well, Admiral. We’re just seeing you all over the place tonight,” Young smiled.
“I know what you are doing, and it’s not going to work,” Larson growled as he walked into the room, towering over Young.
“Doing? I’m just discussing the case with the people involved,” Young said grinning just a little bit less.
“Bullshit Young. You are trying to intimidate the JAG officers to rule in your favor.
“Well, I can tell you something, you won’t be intimidating the defense attorney. Would you like to know why COUNCILMAN?” Larson growled.
Young completely lost the smile from his face.
“Because I am defending Ranma Saotome.”
“You can’t do that,” Salek stated.
“Yes, I can,” Larson replied, turning to the Vulcan. “Starfleet Uniform Code of Justice, section seven, subsection nine. ‘An accused can either be assigned a JAG officer of the arbitrating parties’ choice, a JAG officer of the accused’s choice, or a flag officer of the accused’s choice.’”
Larson pointed to the admiral’s rank on his collar.
“And I can say with 100 percent certainty that Commander Saotome will NOT turn down my offer.”
Salek stood, moved past the Admiral, and walked to the door.
“The court-martial is in 36 hours. I wish you luck in becoming a lawyer by then,” Salek nodded to Orayyo and then turned to Young.
“Are you coming?”
Young looked up to Larson, then scurried towards the door and followed Salek out. Larson turned to Orayyo.
“Sir, I’m just doing my job,” Orayyo stated, afraid of the wrath he may be about to receive. He was pleasantly surprised when Larson just grinned and walked towards the door.
“That’s all I ask,” Larson stated as he walked outside.
“Captain, Admiral Hanson and Councilman Alexander are requesting to be beamed aboard,” a voice spoke over McNamara’s communicator.
McNamara lifted his head up and out of his arms. He looked at his computer display.
“09:14,” he stated out loud. “If they were going to wait till morning, I wish they would have told me.”
McNamara stood, wiped some of the sleep drool from the side of his mouth, and checked his hair. He hit his communicator as he adjusted his uniform and walked towards the door.
“Beam them aboard,” he ordered.
The doors to the Captain’s ready room slid open and McNamara walked out. He looked around at the day shift bridge crew. The XO, Commander Sarah Earl looked at her captain.
“Did you sleep in there?” she asked.
McNamara simply nodded as he took his seat.
“I was under the impression they were coming on board as soon as we got here.”
Sarah nodded. “If you want to go take a nap or something…”
McNamara shook his head. “I want to find out what this is about.”
The operations officer looked at his panel and then turned to the CONN.
“They are on board.”
McNamara nodded. “Have them come to the bridge please.”
“Yes sir,” Ops replied.
Sarah looked at McNamara. “What do you think they are up to?”
The older man sighed and looked at the viewscreen. The view of Earth was spectacular. He always loved coming back here.
The Saint Paul was part of the 22nd Expletory Fleet. Her primary job was the most important to the Federation. So important that it was in Starfleet’s mission statement.
‘To seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.’
That is what the Saint Paul did. She flew around in uncharted space looking for new civilizations to contact.
McNamara did not want to take anything away from the more military ships in Starfleet as they had a purpose, but Starfleet had always been about exploring. Not fighting. McNamara was a true explorer.
Being this close to home was nice, but he did not want to have to stay long.
“Phil?” Sarah asked.
“I’m sorry,” McNamara smiled at his junior officer. “I haven’t a clue, but I doubt it’s anything good.”
Sarah nodded as the turbolift doors on the rear of the bridge opened. Both Sarah and McNamara turned to see Admiral Hanson and Brett walk onto the bridge.
“Admiral,” McNamara smiled.
“Good morning, Captain,” The Admiral replied as he walked with Brett towards McNamara’s ready room.
“Can we speak in here?”
McNamara nodded. He motioned for Sarah to follow him.
“Just you, Captain,” Hanson stated.
“Sir, she’s my executive officer,” McNamara protested.
Hanson just sighed and motioned for the two to follow him into the ready room.
Once inside, Hanson took a seat behind McNamara’s desk. Both the captain and his XO sat down on the couch on one side of the room as Alexander seated himself on the corner of McNamara’s desk.
“The only people who are to know of the details of this mission are the four of us and certain security personal. Is that understood?” Hanson instructed.
“Yes sir,” Both Sarah and McNamara stated in unison.
“We are going on a covert operation to destroy a facility that produces the drug FOX. We will approach the system and then send covert shuttles down with ground forces. Once the forces have gotten inside the facility, they will activate target enhancers which will allow this ship to execute an aerial bombardment from outside of their sensor range.
“This is a classified mission and the only people with operational knowledge will be those directly involved.”
Hanson looked to Brett who began to talk.
“We will be stopping by a Ferengi trading post where we will pick up three Kel class shuttles that have the ability to cloak,” Brett handed McNamara a PADD with the location of the trading post.
“Are there any questions?” Hanson asked.
“Yeah,” McNamara nodded as he handed the PADD to Sarah. “Where will we be picking up the ground forces from?”
“The ground forces will be comprised of the Saint Paul’s security detail,” Hanson stated.
“What?” Sarah asked. Hanson turned to her but was interrupted by McNamara before he had a chance to say anything.
“Sir, we don’t have a marine complement. Our security people are all defensive personal with straight ship-board training.”
Hanson stood and walked over to McNamara.
“They will have to work. This ship will have to work. If you have a problem with it, I will happily take command of this ship,” Hanson stated very softly.
McNamara resisted the urge to speak his mind some more.
Hanson stood and walked over to McNamara’s desk, once again seating himself in the Captain’s chair. He hit his communicator.
“Admiral Hanson to Commander Montasori.”
“Go ahead, sir,” The voice on the other end replied.
“Can you please come into the Captain’s ready room.”
Hanson looked to McNamara.
“We leave immediately.”
McNamara stood. “Yes sir,” he stated as he walked out the door. Sarah quickly stood and followed the Captain out as a young Japanese man walked into the room.
“You wanted to speak with me, Admiral?”
<Nifty Star Trek computer chirping noise here>
Ranma snored softly as he pulled himself closer to Akane. Akane, who was also snoring softly twitched a little as the computer chirped once again.
<Nifty Star Trek computer chirping noise here>
Akane opened one eye.
<Nifty Star Trek computer chirping noise here>
She opened the other and began to nudge Ranma.
“Ranma, the computer is beeping.”
“Muh fa moma buh…” He mumbled.
<Nifty Star Trek computer chirping noise here>
Akane began to sit up. Her movement shook Ranma completely to consciousness.
<Nifty Star Trek computer chirping noise here>
“Ugh,” he groaned. Ranma slid out of the bed and looked out the front window.
Through the window, he could see Earth approaching slowly.
“OH SHIT!” he yelled. Ranma ran to the front of the ship as Akane looked to a chronometer on the rear wall of the sleeping quarters.
“Oh, 09:55,” she chuckled. “We sure did sleep for a long time.”
Ranma grinned. He hit the control panel and the chirping noise stopped.
“This is the U.S.S. Satii, Runabout Class, assigned to the U.S.S. Benjamin Sisko,” Ranma stated.
“Good morning, Satii. This is Orbital Traffic Control. Please state your destination.”
“San Francisco, Starfleet Headquarters,” Ranma replied.
“Roger.” The voice stated. “Please switch to visual communication mode.”
Ranma looked at Akane, and then down at himself. The pair was both naked as the day God made them.
“Um, any reason why?” Ranma asked.
“New security procedures,” The voice replied. “Please switch to visual communication mode.”
“AKANE!” Ranma screamed. Akane, who was already trying to put her own clothes on, tossed Ranma his uniform jacket.
“What about my pants?” Ranma asked.
“They can’t see that!” Akane stated as she fell over, tripping over her own pants. She eventually gives up and simply crawls into the bed and hides under the covers.
Ranma quickly puts on the jacket, zips it up, and switches mode. On the other end, the young traffic controller looks at him oddly.
“What was with the delay?”
Ranma chuckled nervously. “What delay?”
The traffic controller raised an eyebrow.
“Anyone else on board with you?”
Ranma nodded. “Just my wife, but she’s still sleeping.”
The traffic controller tilts his head to the right, trying to see around Ranma. Ranma also tilts in that direction.
“Okay, well sir,” the traffic controller states, turning his attention to his computers. “You are clear for approach and landing in San Francisco.”
“Thank you!” Ranma smiled, ending the conversation. He stood and walked back to where Akane was.
She poked her head from underneath the blanket. “You’re kinda sexy dressed like that.”
Ranma grinned. “I always knew you were a sucker for a guy in half a uniform.”
Ranma pounced on top of his wife and began to kiss her passionately.
<Nifty Star Trek computer chirping noise here>
“WHAT THE HELL?” Ranma grumbled as he stood and walked back to the communications console.
On the viewer, Admiral Larson appeared.
“Good morning, Ranma.”
“Good morning, Admiral,” Ranma grinned. “What can I do for you?”
The Admiral looked at Ranma for a moment before speaking.
“Ahem… Well… Uh… The first thing you can do for me is put on some pants.”
Ranma looked down and realized he was standing. He quickly shut off the visual display and grabbed his boxers and uniform pants. He looked to Akane who was finishing dressing herself and giggling.
“I’m glad you find this humorous,” Ranma grumbled.
Akane just smiled as Ranma walked back over to the console and reengaged the communication.
“I’m sorry, Admiral. I just woke up,” Ranma explained.
“Well, no reason to say sorry.” The Admiral uncomfortably stated. “Anyway, I need to meet you as soon as you get here.”
“Well, we should be landing within the hour,” Ranma said.
“Good. Please come to my office as soon as you do.”
“Yes sir,” Ranma stated.
The communication ended.
“I wonder what that was all about,” Akane pondered as she walked up to the front of the Runabout and sat down in the co-pilot’s seat.
“I don’t know,” Ranma stated as he began to pilot the shuttle into the Earth’s atmosphere. “But I am more than certain that showing a flag officer my manhood didn’t help matters any.”
Akane just laughed out loud as Ranma blushed as red as the shields as they dove towards the planet’s surface.
Gosnell looked up at the clock on the wall above the entrance to the Sisko Lounge.
Gosnell smiled and flipped on all the lights. He then stood behind the bar and waited for the normal stream of breakfast eaters to begin wandering in.
The doors remained shut.
Gosnell scratched his head.
“Where is everyone?”
Usually, there were at least twenty or so people who came in as soon as the lounge opened. However, over the last few weeks, the numbers had been dwindling.
He wasn’t quite sure why though. He was sure it wasn’t anything he did. Even though the Captain had cut his staff down to three, he still managed to give everyone rather good service.
Gosnell whimpered slightly as he poured himself a drink.
The doors finally slid open, and Makoto walked in.
“Oh, thank heavens,” Gosnell cried.
“What?” Makoto asked.
Gosnell pointed to the lounge area. “You’re my first customer!”
Makoto groaned and had a seat at the bar.
“That’s because the Captain has all first shift people doing mandatory exercises from 06:00 – 07:00. By the time they are done, usually everyone has to go on shift.”
Gosnell scratched his goatee. “I guess I am going to have to start opening earlier.”
Gosnell quickly filled up her glass with her morning Mountain Dew.
“So, how are you here, then?” he asked.
“There was a security alarm in the armory that I had to check on. After I was done, I came here.”
Makoto rolled up her sleeve and showed Gosnell her muscle.
“I don’t need any damned jumping jacks.”
Gosnell smiled. “Yeah, I know how physically fit you are.”
Makoto grinned and leaned over to give her husband a kiss. As she did that the doors hissed open, and Usagi came in.
“Hi lovers!” she giggled.
Makoto finished her kiss and grinned at Usagi.
“How’d you get out of exercises?” Makoto asked.
“Well, after I tripped on my hair and knocked over about seven engineers, they asked me if I’d leave and wouldn’t come back. So, I didn’t!” She smiled.
Gosnell grinned. “Would you like your usual?”
“Please!” Usagi bubbled back.
Gosnell nodded and went to fix Usagi’s daily bowl of Lucky Charms.
“So, Gosnell,” Usagi called out to him. “How come you don’t wear your Starfleet uniform anymore?”
Gosnell continued to fix her breakfast. “The Captain said only Starfleet officers get the privilege of wearing that uniform. So, she took it away from me and makes me wear these civilian clothes.” He stated as he placed the cereal bowl in front of the blonde engineer.
“Too bad,” Usagi giggled as she started to eat. “You looked really cute in it!”
Gosnell blushed as he went back to work while other people began strolling into the lounge.
<Insert nifty Star Trek doorbell here>
Admiral Larson looked up from his paperwork and saw Ranma and Akane standing outside of his office door.
“Come in, Ranma,” he called.
Ranma and Akane walked inside of the Admiral’s office and sat down at Larson’s desk. Larson smiled at Akane.
“Good morning Commander.”
Akane smiled back. “Good morning Admiral.”
“I trust the two of you had a pleasant flight. I apologize for making you have to take a Runabout, but I was unable to get another ship to cover the Sisko’s patrol area.”
Ranma smiled. “It’s okay. It was kind of nice to spend the time alone together. We haven’t gotten to do that much lately.”
Larson coughed, remembering the state of dress that Ranma had answered his hail in.
Noticing the Admiral’s uncomfortableness, Ranma quickly cleared his throat.
“You wanted to talk to me about something, sir?”
“Ah, yes,” Larson stated. “I would like you to allow me to be your defense counsel.”
Ranma pondered this for a moment.
“I’d be honored, sir. But won’t this be considered a conflict of interest?”
“I might have been if you were still Captain,” Larson explained. “But I have checked the regulations six or seven times and every way I look at it, I can act as your lawyer,” Larson explained. “I have also gotten the okay from the JAG.”
Larson stood and walked to his wall. He pointed to a paper hanging in a wooden frame.
“If you are worried about my credentials, I did graduate from Starfleet’s top law school.”
Ranma shook his head. “Your experience alone would be enough for me to accept your officer, but I will be honest in saying I am confused why you’re offering.”
Larson quickly walked to his wall and hit a button that tinted the windows and sealed his door.
“Councilman Young and Salek have been going around trying to intimidate the JAG officers into convicting you regardless of the evidence.
“I figure that as long as I am defending you, at least your defense attorney won’t be intimidated,” Larson stated.
“WHY?” Akane yipped. “What the hell does everyone have against Ranma?”
“The Vulcans are not pleased. Not necessarily with Commander Saotome, but at the events that unfolded,” Larson explained.
“I’d be ‘displeased’ too,” Ranma said. “Six people dead.”
Larson shook his head. “I’m not talking about that.”
The look of confusion on Ranma’s face was only matched by that on Akane’s.
“Vor’Gal was a former High Command officer. He was a Vulcan priest.” Larson stated as he handed a PADD to Ranma.
“None of this information is publicly available. I had to dig for it.”
Ranma perused the PADD for a moment.
“What does that have to do with me?”
Larson sat back down in his chair.
“The Vulcans may be on the verge of a civil war. There are three primary factions now. The faction, which includes the military, that wants to keep the status quo. A faction who wants the Vulcans to secede from the Federation which includes some members of the high command, and a group that wants the Vulcan’s to stop repressing their emotions. Vor’Gal is part of both latter factions.
“As far as I can tell, Salek and a number of other high ranking Vulcan officials are afraid that if it becomes public knowledge that a terrorist group managed to get THAT close to Vulcan the populace will agree with the military that Vulcan needs the Federation to assist in its security.
“They also feel that if they show that an emotional human launched a torpedo at a small village, they will prove emotions are bad and gain public support for a military strike on the third faction.”
Larson took a sip of some coffee and continued.
“The majority of the population of Vulcan thinks the Federation is good for Vulcan. But a rogue Federation officer firing on a defenseless village might change that.”
Akane shook her head. “It’s a conspiracy right out of some bad piece of fiction.”
Ranma and Larson both nodded in agreement.
“So, if I am found not guilty, what happens?” Ranma asked.
“Presumably, Salek and his cronies will come up with some other story,” Larson explained.
“So, the truth will never come out about Vor’Gal?” Akane asked.
“Allowing the truth out, to steal a Vulcan phrase, wouldn’t be logical. No matter what happens one of the factions opposing the high command will gain support. The best they can hope for then is to come up with some story and keep the status quo.”
Ranma rubbed his temples as the complicated story made his brain hurt. He could not imagine how he became the centerpiece in some Vulcan power struggle.
Ranma looked up at the Admiral. “Do you think we can win?”
“You don’t think I’m guilty, do you?” Ranma asked.
Larson leaned forward in his chair. “Ranma, I think you made mistakes. Profoundly serious mistakes. Mistakes that could have cost the lives of your entire crew.”
Larson leaned back and continued.
“I however don’t think that firing that torpedo was one of them. You did what you had to do.
“When you put on that uniform you take on tremendous responsibility. That responsibility sometimes means you have to decide who lives and who dies.”
Ranma wasn’t sure if he was particularly comforted by that statement. Larson could see this.
“If I didn’t think you were innocent, I wouldn’t be defending you.”
“The court-martial starts tomorrow morning at 08:00. Try and enjoy your day today because tomorrow is going to be long and hard,” Larson ordered.
“Yes sir,” Ranma said as he and Akane stood up. Ranma shook the Admiral’s hand and headed towards the door.
“Oh, and Commander?”
Both Ranma and Akane turned back to Larson.
“You need to believe you’re innocent as well for this to work.”
Ranma nodded and he and his wife left Larson’s office.
Gosnell smiled. There were several people in the lounge now. More than he had expected.
He was quite puzzled though that a lot of the senior staff was in the lounge. Captain Walker was not one to allow the bridge crew to go and have a break, especially at the beginning of their shift.
Makoto eyed her husband. She could see that his little brain was moving at a mile a minute.
“What are you thinking?” she asked him.
Gosnell looked to her.
“What are you doing here? You left for work and then came back. What’s the dilly-o?”
“Dilly-o?” Makoto asked.
Shampoo walked up and sat down next to Makoto. “Nihao!”
Gosnell smiled at her. “Good morning Commander. Long time no see.”
Shampoo nodded. “Iced tea, please.”
“Coming right up.”
Gosnell walked off to prepare her drink. Makoto looked to Shampoo. While the pair worked well together Makoto felt apprehension in talking to Shampoo off duty.
She could still remember what she had done to Shampoo aboard the pirate ship.
And she was sure that Shampoo could remember it as well.
“How are you doing, Commander?” Makoto finally asked.
Shampoo turned to Makoto and smiled.
“Doing well, thank you. How is you?”
Makoto smiled back. “I’m good.”
Shampoo continued to smile as Gosnell brought her drink back.
“Thank you!” Shampoo beamed.
Shampoo began to walk away, but Makoto quickly grabbed her arm.
Shampoo turned and looked to Makoto.
“Uh-“ Makoto stammered.
“Yes?” Shampoo asked.
“I – I was just wondering when you were coming back to work.”
Shampoo thought about this for a moment.
“Next week, Shampoo thinks,” she scowled for a moment. “Shampoo have to wait for Akane to get back.”
“Oh, okay,” Makoto smiled.
“Bye bye!” Shampoo chirped as she walked to a table and had a seat with Lieutenant Amanda Janson, one of the Sisko’s tactical officers.
Makoto turned around and sighed.
“What’s wrong?” Gosnell asked her.
Makoto sighed again and turned so she could see Shampoo.
“I want to apologize to her. But I just can’t. I feel as if I’m responsible for what she’s gone through.”
“You didn’t do that to her.”
Makoto turned back towards Gosnell.
“I’m sure what I did didn’t help matters any.”
Gosnell patted Makoto on the head. She chuckled.
“I’m not a puppy.”
Gosnell grinned, and then remembered what he was asking before Shampoo showed up.
“Why are you here again?”
Makoto groaned. “The Captain decided today she wants everyone on rotating shifts. So now today I must work 15:00 – 23:00, then tomorrow 23:00 – 07:00.”
“I see,” Gosnell groaned. He didn’t care for that much. He enjoyed spending as much time with Makoto as possible and her new shift was going to make that a little difficult.
“Something else I noticed,” Gosnell said as he pointed to a table.
At the table Ryouga sat there, drinking away.
“So?” Makoto asked.
Gosnell then pointed to another table.
At this table, Minako was sitting there with Usagi and Rei.
“So?” Makoto once again questioned.
“Do you not notice that they aren’t sitting together?” Gosnell asked, shifting his points between Minako and Ryouga.
“Maybe they’re just –“ Makoto slapped both of Gosnell’s hands. “Quit pointing you dolt.”
Gosnell quickly retracted his arms before his hands could get slapped again.
“Maybe Minako just wanted to hang out with Rei and Usagi?”
Gosnell shook off that suggestion.
“No, because they used to sit together and invite Rei and Usagi to join them.”
Gosnell’s aura began to glow around him.
“There’s trouble brewing, and I am going to find out what it is and fix it.”
Gosnell began to laugh maniacally. Only Makoto walloping him with a menu got him to stop.
“How are you going to find out what’s wrong?” Makoto asked.
Gosnell just grinned at her.
“WHAT?” She shrieked. “Don’t bring me into this!”
“She’s your friend,” Gosnell retorted.
“Yeah, but it’s not my business.”
Gosnell began to whimper. “I see. You don’t care about your friend’s happiness. Oh well. Let her be miserable. Let her die alone curled up in a ball crying over what was and what could have been. Let her throw herself out an airlock-“
“OKAY! OKAY!” Makoto grumbled.
Makoto watched Minako stand and walk towards the bathroom.
“Go now!” Gosnell ordered. “Isn’t that where all you women chat about men?”
Makoto just looked at him for a moment and began to follow Minako into the ladies room.
“Some people call me the space cowboy, yeah; some call me the gangster of love; some people call me Maurice; ‘cause I speak of the pompitous of love…”
Gosnell’s singing was stopped as a glass come flying in his direction.
“SHUT UP!” Makoto yelled from across the room.