A single tear rolled down Akane’s face and dropped onto the bed. Ranma had gotten up early to have breakfast with his father, so Akane was alone for the first time since they took this trip.
It was the first time she had been able to cry.
The tears began to flow more freely the more Akane’s mind went over what exactly was happening.
She knew this wasn’t going to be a good idea. She knew it from the very start. Even when they were still fighting, she knew that being on the same ship as him would be nothing but disaster.
She tried to talk to her father. She tried to get him to convince Genma that it would not work, and they should stop trying to make it work.
*Flashback – Stardate 59902.1 – California V; Federation Embassy*
“Dad, this is a mistake. A total mistake,” Akane complained.
Soun sighed, took a sip of his tea, and leaned closer to Akane.
“You know that this is for your own good. You two need to stay together to form a healthy, loving relationship,” he explained.
“Why don’t you let me decide what’s for my own good?” Akane protested.
“Do you not love Ranma?”
“WHAT?” Akane screamed, defensive as the first day she had met Ranma. “Of course not! He’s rude, he’s a jerk, and he’s a womanizer. He’s-“
“He’s saved you more times than I can count,” Soun interrupted. “He’s come to your defense in many situations. Even though he won’t say it, you and I can both see that he loves you.”
Akane groaned. She knew it. She knew that she loved him.
“It’s still a bad idea,” Akane stated.
“Please, Akane. Give it a year. If things don’t improve – if nothing changes – I will have you transferred here to take command of the embassy’s security.”
Akane sat there and looked at her father. She didn’t know if she wanted to be stuck on a planet playing rent-a-cop, but anything would be better than being stuck on a starship where she was miserable.
“Six months,” She countered.
Soun sighed and admitted defeat.
“Fine, six months.”
Soun reached out and took his youngest daughter’s hand.
“I really hope you understand that just because something is a mistake, it isn’t necessarily wrong.”
Akane held her father’s hand back and nodded.
It had been six months. She could get off the Sisko if she wanted. She could get out of this. But she knew that this would not stop her from hurting. She knew that would not take the guilt away. The guilt she felt for this all being her fault.
*“All because of you,” he stated as a tear came streaming down his face.
“Me?” Akane asked.
“I love you so much, Akane. All that matters to me is that you are safe. That I protect you from anything that might hurt you, physically and emotionally.”*
The memory from that conversation stuck in her head. Ranma did everything he did because of her. If she hadn’t been there, he wouldn’t have hesitated in destroying the cargo ship. He would have stopped the threat long before it got to Vulcan. No torpedoes would have hit the ground. No innocent Vulcans would have been killed and there would be no court-martial.
Akane cried out loud as she continued to think.
Did she love him enough to leave? If she were gone, he could concentrate on his career. His job. His life.
He could do what needed to be done without her being in the way.
She always felt that she was in the way. He had told her on many occasions that he could do things better if he didn’t have to keep protecting her.
But would leaving right now hurt him more? Ranma said he was happy that she came with him. He was happy to have someone who supported him. Someone who cared for him.
This would be the most important day in his life. She could not just abandon him – especially since this was all her fault.
Akane continued to cry. She did not know what to do. Leaving seemed like a mistake. Staying seemed like a mistake. No matter what, everything was a mistake.
*”Just because something is a mistake, that doesn’t make it wrong.”*
So, what was right? Neither option seemed right. How the hell do you choose between two options when they are both the wrong option?
Akane heard the door to their guest quarters slide open. She looked up at the clock and saw it read 06:39.
Akane sat up and quickly dried her face. She rushed into the bathroom before Ranma came in.
“Akane?” He called.
“I – I’m in here,” She responded, her voice still breaking a little bit.
Ranma noticed it.
“Are you alright?”
“Yes,” Akane lied. “How was breakfast with your father?”
Ranma groaned. “He stole my omelet.”
Akane forced a chuckle. “Nice to know some things don’t change.”
Ranma raised an eyebrow. He wasn’t quite sure what she meant by that, but he could tell that something wasn’t right.
However, trying to get Akane’s true feelings out was like trying to get fish sausage from a pit of hungry cats. Dangerous, and even if you succeeded, you’d probably have mental issues afterward.
Ranma sighed and began to change into his formal clothes as he heard the shower in the bathroom activate.
“Captain, we’re approaching the first coordinates you specified.” The helmsman of the U.S.S. Saint Paul stated.
“Slow to impulse,” McNamara ordered.
The Saint Paul dropped to a crawl as it approached a dreary-looking space station. Behind the station was a field of debris and ships. It looked more like a landfill than it did a trading post.
“We’re being hailed,” the communications officer informed the captain.
“On screen,” Brett stated, standing from his seat.
The communications officer looked to McNamara who simply nodded a frustrated nod.
On the screen, an old Ferengi appeared. He seemed to be more interested in something that he was reading than he was in the Saint Paul.
“State your business,” he grumbled without looking up.
“Vark. It’s Brett.”
The old Ferengi, Vark, looked up and grinned a toothy grin at Brett.
“Councilman,” Vark stated. “What a pleasure it is to see you.”
Brett nodded. “You have what I ordered, correct?”
Vark chuckled. “Of course! It is bad business not to deliver. However, it took a little more trouble than expected to obtain the cloaking devices for them. Therefore, I am afraid I am going to have to double the price.”
“How about I pay the agreed-upon price and we don’t blow your station to bits.”
McNamara looked at Sarah. He then looked to the Admiral.
“You wouldn’t blow my station up,” Vark grumbled. “I’m outside of Federation space. You don’t have the authority.”
“You’re selling unauthorized cloaking technology. I do have the authority.”
Vark grumbled some more. “But you’re BUYING unauthorized cloaking technology.”
Brett grinned. “Fifteen hundred bars, and not a slip more.”
Vark grinned back. It wasn’t double, but it was more than he expected to get out of the Federation.
“Deal. Transfer the latinum and I will give you the coordinates.”
Brett typed some information into a PADD. Vark looked at his own PADD and smiled. “Transmitting information now.”
The communications panel chirped.
“Coordinates received,” Comm stated.
“Beam the ships into shuttle bays one and two,” Hanson ordered.
Comm once again looked to McNamara who once again nodded acceptance of the order in a very frustrated manner.
“Pleasure doing business with you,” Brett informed the Ferengi.
“Likewise,” The Ferengi nodded before ending the communication.
The communications officer looked up and to McNamara.
“Three Kel class shuttlecraft are on board, sir.”
“Good,” McNamara stated, standing. “Helm set course for the second set of-“
“Destroy the station,” Brett ordered, interrupting McNamara.
“Excuse me?” McNamara stated.
The young Japanese man from earlier looked up from his position at tactical. He eyed the exchange between McNamara and Brett.
“We can’t leave any trail behind. Destroy the station.”
“I’m not going to kill an innocent man-“
“Innocent man?” Hanson interjected, standing. “Do you think we’re the only people he’s sold illegal goods to? He’s an arms dealer and therefore a threat to the Federation.”
Hanson looked to tactical.
“Commander Montasori, destroy the station.”
Hideki Montasori, the tactical officer and chief of security, looked to McNamara.
“I gave the order, Commander,” Hanson growled.
McNamara just threw his arms up in frustration and sat down in his chair.
“Captain?” Hideki asked.
“I won’t order it,” McNamara defiantly stated.
“Destroy the station,” Hanson ordered again.
Hideki sighed, targeted the unarmed station, and fired all the ship’s phaser banks. The station is obliterated.
Hanson looked to McNamara.
McNamara scowled. “Resume course.”
The Saint Paul made a slight left turn and warped off through the debris of the Ferengi station.
Makoto walked into the washroom that sat on the starboard side of the Sisko’s lounge. She saw Minako washing her hands and another female officer walk out past her.
Makoto smiled and walked up to her friend.
Minako smiled as she began to untie the red bow in her hair.
Minako allowed her hair to flow freely and set the bow on the table next to the sink. She then grabbed a brush and began to brush it.
“So, what’s up?” Makoto asked her.
“Not much,” Minako answered. “I’ve been swimming more and the chemicals in the water is causing my hair to tangle.”
Makoto nodded, “Yeah, they’ll do that.”
Minako continued to brush her hair for a moment, but then stopped when she saw that Makoto was watching her.
“What are you doing?” Minako asked.
“Who me?” Makoto responded.
“Yeah, you. Why are you staring at me?”
“Oh, no reason,” Makoto stated, rather uncomfortably. “Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?”
Minako looked at her friend.
Makoto twiddled her thumbs together for a moment and asked, “What’s with you and Ryouga?”
Minako turned back to the mirror and resumed brushing her hair.
“What do you mean?”
“Well,” Makoto murmured. “You guys don’t sit together anymore, and he doesn’t seem to follow you around like a puppy like he used to.”
Makoto cleared her throat. “Did something happen?”
Minako set the brush down and sighed. She turned to Makoto.
“He told me that he loved me.”
Minako shook her head.
“Oh?” Makoto asked.
“Yeah, I don’t think I was ready for that,” Minako sighed. “We were having a lot of fun just dating.”
“What did you say when he said that?”
Minako sighed again. “’That’s sweet’.”
Makoto’s eyes bulged. “Oh my. And he didn’t react well to that?”
Minako shook her head. “I think I might have misled him up to this part. We spent so much time together and did a lot together. But really that’s how I wanted to keep it, and I guess he didn’t.”
Minako grabbed her bow and began to tie it back into her hair.
“So anyway, we haven’t spoken at all outside of work since then.”
“I see,” Makoto replied. “Do you want to get back together with him?”
Minako looked to her friend again. “Maybe. I just think that it would be awkward now. It would be a mistake to get back together at this point.”
Makoto smiled. “Just because it’s a mistake doesn’t make it wrong.”
Minako sighed, patted Makoto on the shoulder, and walked out of the washroom.
Makoto sighed. “How do I fix this?”
A toilet flushed and out of one of the stalls comes Captain Walker.
“Calm down, Commander,” Karyn smiled and said as she washed up.
“Sorry, Captain. I just didn’t realize you were… in… here.”
Karyn dried her hands off and smiled.
“I think you need to chat with this Ryouga chap and get his side of the story. He might be moving a bit too fast for Commander Aino, but I bet if you show him the long-term prospects, he will be able to slow it down, keep his confessions in check and everything will work out!”
Makoto was shocked. So shocked that it took her a couple of moments to reply.
“You don’t have a problem with relationships between officers?”
Karyn eyed Makoto for a moment.
“As long as it doesn’t interfere with work. There are no Starfleet regulations against officers dating. A lot of people meet their future spouses at work. I met my fiancé on a starbase.”
She paused for a moment, a bit of concern crossing her face. “This Ryouga isn’t one of the enlisted crewmen, is he?”
Makoto shook her head. “He’s the helmsman. The one with the overbite and the bandanna.”
“Ooooo!” Karyn giggled. “He’s cute! Yeah, you should help get those two back together. They would have adorable children. Directionally challenged, but adorable.”
Karyn smiled and walked out of the washroom.
Makoto simply stood there for a moment.
“She must have been drunk.”
Makoto checked her watch.
“Uh oh,” she stated as she ran out of the washroom.
“ALL RISE!” a courtroom security officer called out.
Around the courtroom, everyone quickly stood up in the time-honored tradition of respect to the court and what it stands for. Ranma and Larson, seated at the defense table in Starfleet UMCJ Courtroom 6, and Lt. Commander Orayyo, seated at the prosecution table.
In the audience were several high-ranking Starfleet officers. There were a couple of Vulcans, including High Commander Sannik with the Vulcan military. Ranma’s father was also in the audience, seated next to Akane.
Salek and Young had positioned themselves directly behind the prosecution table. Both turned to give Larson and Ranma a look as they stood.
Also in the courtroom were security officers and court officials.
Captain Sanchez walked into the room. She was carrying some files and papers (well, PADDs as paper was a relic of the past at this point). As she walked up to her seat on the bench, she looked around the courtroom. She made a point to note who was in there. Some people she knew, others she did not. Some she knew why they had an interest in this case, some she did not.
Gwen took her seat and began to speak.
“This court-martial is called to order,” she stated as everyone in the courtroom retook their seats.
Young leaned forward and whispered something into the ear of Orayyo. The young prosecutor nodded and stood.
“Your honor, would you entertain a motion?” he asked.
Gwen turned in his direction. “Yes?”
Orayyo cleared his throat. “I’d like to request, uh, at the discretion of the prosecution, that the records of these proceedings are sealed.”
Gwen raised an eyebrow and gave a look to Young and Salek. She then turned to Larson.
“Does the defense have any objection to this?”
“Yes ma’am, we certainly do,” Larson responded as he stood. “Either the record is to be sealed or unsealed. It would be improper for the ‘prosecution’ to be deciding what is to become public and what isn’t.”
Gwen nodded. “I agree with that.” She turns to Orayyo. “What’s it to be Commander? Sealed or open?”
Orayyo leaned back as Young leaned in. After a moment he turned to Gwen.
“Sealed,” Orayyo stated.
Gwen sighed, frustrated that the prosecution was not making his own decisions, and turned to Larson.
“No objection,” Larson stated rather reluctantly.
“Very well,” Gwen said. “The results of this proceeding are hereby sealed. No one is to discuss this with anyone out of this room.”
Gwen clapped her gavel.
Ranma leaned over to Larson. “Is that what we wanted?”
Larson shook his head. “No, but at least now while the truth won’t be told, neither will a lie.”
Ranma nodded as Gwen turned to Orayyo.
“Okay, if we have no further motions, you may begin Commander.”
Orayyo stood and nodded. He walked up to between the bench and the defense table.
“Captain, I intend to prove that Commander Ranma Saotome, then Captain and commanding officer of the U.S.S. Benjamin Sisko, did willfully and negligently, order the firing a photon torpedo within the atmosphere of the planet Vulcan. The direct result of this negligent act was the death of six innocent Vulcan citizens.”
Orayyo looked at Ranma before heading back to his seat. Larson stood and walked towards the bench.
“Captain, I aim to prove that Commander Saotome acted with good faith and with due diligence by following an enemy ship into the Vulcan atmosphere, and he followed all standard operating procedure and guidelines outlined in Starfleet rules of engagement when firing on a hostile ship, and the torpedo strike resulted from no negligence, malice, or anything other than an unfortunate circumstance.”
Larson sat down. Gwen looked to Orayyo.
“Commander, you may call your first witness.”
Orayyo smiled. “Thank you, Captain.”
A security officer bailiff activated a large view screen. It showed the UFP logo on it.
“Due to her duties my first witness is unavailable to join us in person, so I will be questioning her via subspace,” Orayyo stated. “I request that the court treat her as a hostile witness, due to her work with, and loyalty to the defendant.”
Gwen simply nodded as Orayyo walked up to the monitor.
“Where is she?” he pondered.
The screen chirped to life and Makoto appeared on it.
“I apologize for my tardiness,” Makoto panted.
Orayyo nodded. “Captain, I call as my first witness, Commander Makoto Kino-Gosnell.”
The bailiff walked up to the screen. “Raise your right hand please,” he instructed. Makoto complied. “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”
“I do,” Makoto answered with a nod.
The bailiff returned to his post. Orayyo smiled at Makoto.
“Commander, can you tell us about the events that led up to the firing of the torpedo within the Vulcan atmosphere?”
Makoto thought back. “Well, we were pursuing the terrorist ship. It was attempting to crash into the planet, and based on the amount of explosives on board, would have caused massive devastation.
“It went into the atmosphere and we pursued. While we understood that destroying the ship within the atmosphere would have caused some problems, weighing that against what would happen if it would make impact with the planet we decided to act.”
Makoto cleared her throat and continued.
“There was a lot of interference with our sensors, so I was unable to get a target lock-“
“Yeah, about that,” Orayyo interrupted. “Did you relay that information to Commander Saotome? Did you tell him that you couldn’t get a lock?”
“Yes, of course,” Makoto replied. “But based on the pitch of the ship, I determined that within 10,000 meters if I fired that torpedo would not skew off course enough to miss the ship.”
“But it did,” Orayyo noted.
“Yes. The high-level turbulence within the atmosphere knocked the torpedo farther off course than I predicted.”
Orayyo walked over towards Ranma.
“Was there any indication of this turbulence?”
Makoto frowned. “I am sure operations had readings of this, and the ship was shaking very badly, but-“
“But Commander Saotome ordered you to fire anyway?” Orayyo asked, looking right at Ranma.
“We had no choice!” Makoto protested. “Besides, I am the one who said I could hit the ship.”
Orayyo walked over to the screen. “Who gave the order to fire?”
“I told him I could-“
“WHO GAVE THE ORDER, COMMANDER?” Orayyo stated loudly.
Makoto sighed. “Captain Saotome,” she answered meekly.
Orayyo nodded. “Thank you, I have nothing further.”
Larson stood as Orayyo sat down.
“Commander, do you think firing was the wrong decision?”
Makoto shook her head. “It’s what I would have done.”
“And even though the ship was unable to lock, would you in your professional opinion say Commander Saotome did everything he could to ensure the torpedo would hit its target?”
“Yes sir,” Makoto stated. “As I said, it was my error for not taking the winds into consideration when determining how far we would need to be for a free fire.”
Larson smiled. “Thank you, Commander,” he turned to the Captain. “I have nothing further.”
Gwen nodded. “Thank you, Commander. You are excused.”
Makoto nodded, smiled at Ranma, and closed the transmission.
“Commander Orayyo?” Gwen cued Orayyo for him to call his next witness.
“Yes, Captain. I call Commander Ranma Saotome to the stand.”
Ranma slowly stood and adjusted his dress uniform. He then began his march over to the witness stand. As he walked, Ranma looked out into the audience.
He looked right to where his father and Akane were seated.
Genma nodded but Akane looked away slightly. She looked as if she were about to cry.
A feeling of sadness burned inside of Ranma. It hurt him to see Akane hurting the way she was. It bothered him even more that he did not know why she was hurting.
He could not think about that now, though. He had to get through this. He had to make sure that he did not end up being the fall guy for this messed-up conspiracy.
As Ranma sat down he shot a look towards Salek and Young. Both returned his look with one of their own.
One that seemed to say, ‘Gotcha.’
“Commander, raise your right hand please,” the bailiff ordered.
Ranma did as he was instructed.
“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” The bailiff asked.
“I do,” Ranma acknowledged, giving Young and Salek another look.
The bailiff motioned for Ranma to lower his hand and proceeded back to his post. Orayyo walked up to Ranma.
“Commander, why exactly did you order a torpedo to be fired while you were within the atmosphere of an inhabited planet?”
Ranma cleared his throat.
“It was our last chance to destroy the enemy ship before it would have been able to impact the planet and inflict even greater casualties.”
“But it wasn’t your first chance, was it Commander?” Orayyo smugly asked.
“Is it or is it not true that you had the ship stopped, its shields down, and had the opportunity to destroy it prior to the incident above Vulcan?”
“That is true,” Ranma replied.
“So why didn’t you?”
Ranma sighed. “There were hostages on that ship. We launched a rescue mission.”
“And when that mission failed, why didn’t you destroy the ship?”
Ranma looked to his hands as he spoke.
“I made a mistake. I allowed my emotions to get the best of me, and I couldn’t order the destruction of the ship while I still believed that the hostages were on board.”
Orayyo moved closer to Ranma.
“Is that because they were the sisters of your wife?”
“OBJECTION!” Larson screamed as he stood. “Commander Saotome has already been punished for this. What’s the point behind this questioning?”
“Captain,” Orayyo stated as he looked up to Gwen. “I am trying to prove a pattern of reckless behavior and disregard for mission and Starfleet protocol.”
Gwen pondered this for a moment. “I will allow questioning about the incident, but I don’t think bringing up who the hostages were is relevant.”
Larson sat down, unsure if he had just been defeated or not. Orayyo nodded at Gwen.
“I withdraw my last question then.”
Gwen nodded as Orayyo resumed his assault on Ranma.
“After allowing the enemy ship to resume course towards Vulcan, did you have any kind of plan to stop the ship again?”
“We were hoping to overtake the ship again as we had the last time. However, they had modified the engines and we couldn’t catch them before they dropped out of warp,” Ranma explained.
“So,” Orayyo continued, “when you intercepted the ship at Vulcan, what happened?
Ranma looked to Orayyo as he explained. “I ordered Commander Kino to target the ship and fire, but the sensors wouldn’t lock because of the interference generated by the ship entering the Vulcan atmosphere.”
“So, you followed the ship into the atmosphere?”
Ranma nodded. “Yes. We had to get within AHD.”
Orayyo turned and looked to the audience. “For those of us who don’t know, what is AHD?”
“AHD is Assured Hit Distance, the distance in which the probability of an unguided munition hitting its target is over 80 percent.”
“So even though the chance of an unguided torpedo missing the ship was 20 percent, which is an open space estimate, you still fired?”
“Yes,” Ranma replied.
Orayyo turned back to Ranma. “Why a torpedo? Why not try with phasers?”
Ranma leaned forward in his chair. “The phasers didn’t seem like the right option. We needed to ensure the destruction of the ship with one shot. We couldn’t do that with phasers.”
Ranma leaned back. “Besides. I had no real reason to think or assume the torpedo would miss.”
Orayyo began to walk back to the viewscreen.
“You didn’t think very much at all that day, did you, Commander?”
“I’m sorry?” Ranma asked, a small bit of hostility creeping into his voice.
“Computer, access ships log. Time index 1431.15.” Orayyo turned to Gwen. “Captain, I’d like to introduce the Sisko’s bridge log into evidence as exhibit A.”
Gwen nodded. “Proceed.”
“Computer, begin playback.”
The view screen popped to life and began to show the events on the bridge on that fateful day.
*”Catch that fucking ship!” The recording of Ranma yelled at Ryouga.
The bridge began to shake violently as Ryouga pushed the Sisko into the rough Vulcan atmosphere.*
“Pause,” Orayyo ordered the computer. The playback halted as the young attorney turned to Ranma.
“The ship is shaking pretty badly; wouldn’t you say, Commander?”
“And the Sisko has inertial stabilizers even. Did this concern you regarding to the AHD of the torpedo you were planning on firing?”
“No,” Ranma said quietly. “I didn’t make the connection at the time.”
“Right,” Orayyo nodded. “How fast was the Sisko going at the time?”
“And how fast does a torpedo go?”
“I’m not sure,” Ranma replied. A few people in the audience murmured. A quick look from Gwen shut them up quickly though.
Ranma sheepishly looked down at his hands again. He was not good with the technical aspects of the ship. It was something that he wanted to improve on but had not.
“Well allow me to tell you,” Orayyo grinned as he walked over to Ranma.
“A Mark V torpedo leaves the launch tube at one-eighth impulse and eventually accelerates to full impulse. So, it seems to me, someone who is NOT in command of a warship, that a torpedo traveling at a fourth the speed of the Sisko would be more affected by the turbulent nature of the atmosphere.”
“Like I said,” Ranma countered. “I didn’t know how fast the torpedoes moved.”
“Sounds pretty negligent of you not to know such a basic aspect of your ship.”
“OBJECTION!” Larson called out.
“Withdrawn,” Orayyo grinned as he moved back to the viewscreen. “Resume playback,” he ordered.
*”Forward hull temperature 2000 degrees!” Kaii, the operations officer yelled.
“Forward shields to maximum!” Minako ordered.
A second operations officer that was in the operations cubbyhole with Kaii spoke up.
“I have one human bio-sign on board.”
Makoto called out from her position. “Five more seconds.”
“Beam her aboard.” Ranma stated.
Minako turned to Ranma. “If we lower the shields-“
Ranma spun and turned to Kaii.
“BEAM HER ABOARD NOW!”*
“Pause,” Orayyo instructed the monitor. The shot paused and Orayyo turned to Ranma.
“What the hell were you thinking?” Orayyo asked, rather bluntly.
“Commander,” Gwen scolded.
“I’m sorry,” Orayyo replied. “What the heck were you thinking, Commander?”
“I – I couldn’t leave her behind. Again,” Ranma stammered. “She risked her life trying to save the hostages-“
“This isn’t about the hostages, Commander,” Orayyo said as he quickly walked back to Ranma. “You kept thinking about the hostages, about the officer on the enemy vessel, about yourself.
“But it seems pretty obvious that you didn’t think about the 300 other people on your ship. You did not think about the billions of Vulcans on that planet below you.
“Your ship could have been VAPORIZED by the atmosphere. With her shields up your hull temperature was at a critical level! Did that occur to you? Did it come into your mind that if YOU all died, that ship would have completed its mission and killed millions of people?”
Orayyo leaned forward more.
“DID YOU?” He yelled.
“CAPTAIN!” Larson screamed as he stood. “This is uncalled for.”
“Commander,” Gwen called out.
Orayyo stepped away from Ranma. “Resume playback.”
*The shields dropped. Alarms went nuts. The ship began to shake harder and harder. Steam ducts exploded. Panels exploded.
“Fire.” Ranma dryly ordered.
A single torpedo sailed from the Sisko’s forward tube. The torpedo missed and continued down towards the planet.
“AGAIN!” Ranma yelled.*
“Pause,” Orayyo once again stated. “So, you missed the first time, and without making any distance corrections, course corrections, or anything, you ordered a second torpedo fired.”
Ranma could not speak. He just nodded.
The more he watched what was going on. The more Orayyo screamed at him, the more he felt like he was guilty. He felt like he was negligent.
“You didn’t even try to figure out why the torpedo missed.”
“THERE WAS NO TIME!” Ranma yelled.
Orayyo stormed over to Ranma. “There was no time because you screwed up. You put all these people’s lives at risk because you could not do your job. Because you were negligent in your duties.”
If there was any time in his life that Ranma just wanted to go nuts and begin attacking someone, it was now. He was almost beginning to understand why Ryouga did it so often.
Blood no longer flowed through Ranma’s veins. It was pure anger.
Orayyo, sensing that he had hit a nerve, walked away from Ranma.
“There’s no point in continuing the playback. We all know what happens next. There was an explosion prior to the second torpedo being fired. The Sisko, with her shields down, was critically damaged, barely making it out of the atmosphere.
“The single torpedo that was fired impacted the planet near the Let’theiri Village, destroying it and killing six. Twenty injured three of those seriously.”
Orayyo sat down. “That wasn’t negligent, Commander. That was criminal.”
Gwen looked to Larson.
“Can we have a recess?” Larson asked.
Gwen nodded. “One hour.”
She banged her gavel.