Stardate 60992 - 3 days before the Sisko's crew is rescued.
Vora, like every Vulcan, was a creature of routine. If it was for anything he did more than once, he had to have some kind of system for it.
Getting ready for and going to work was certainly no exception.
His morning routine usually began with the usual things a man of his age would have to deal with, followed by bathing, then, like clockwork, a high protein, low sodium breakfast cooked by his wife of 112 years.
Despite being Vulcan, the pair were still quite affectionate towards each other – one would think you would have to be for a couple to remain married for over a century – and after goodbye kisses and hand gestures, Vora quickly made his way to the transit station that would take him to the High Command's headquarters.
Despite being, essentially, the leader of Vulcan, Vora chose to maintain a low profile. He walked when he could, as he felt it was better for his health. He took public transportation as he felt it would encourage the public to do the same.
He only took with him a single security officer who shadowed him.
Vulcan's Interior Ministry had asked him to change his mind on all acts, but Vora felt that despite the violence, he was not in danger.
As Vora boarded the transport, once the security officer screened it for explosives, he nodded to the small group of Vulcans on board. Most returned the nod. Many were unaware of who he was.
This was the way Vora liked it.
The ride was uneventful for several minutes when suddenly Vora's security officer yelled at him and grabbed his robe.
“SIR GET DOWN!”
The officer pulled Vora to the floor of the transport, but it was completely useless.
A second transport swooped in from an opposing angle and collided with Vora's transport. Both exploded into fireballs, killing all aboard.
Stardate 61001 – Two days after rescue.
Ranma spent a lot of his time looking out the window anymore. Considering he was a passenger on a three-month voyage, and he had absolutely nothing to do, why not. The streaking stars were something he had missed during their stranding, and it was nice to see them again. Although he will admit, the fresh air was a nice change.
At least it was nice while he had the opportunity to take advantage of it.
Ranma was having a hard time trying to figure out how he had become so attached to what was in essence an inanimate object. He had been on several ships in his life. Though, the Sisko was 'his' ship. Even if, at least at the beginning of this mission, she was not his.
The young pig-tailed boy sighed.
“Ranma,” Akane called out softly.
Ranma turned and looked at his wife who was wearing a very formal, black dress.
Akane smiled. “Mmm. I like it when I get that kind of reaction.” She slowly walked over to Ranma and sat down on his lap. The smile on her face grew slightly.
“I like that kind of reaction as well.”
Ranma blushed. “You look very pretty.”
“Thank you,” she smiled. “So why aren't you dressed?”
Ranma, who was wearing his workout clothes, blinked. “For?”
“Don't tell me you forgot,” Akane asked, sadly.
“Oh no, is it our anniversary?”
Akane stood up. “No.”
Ranma shook his head.
“Gosnell's opening up that new nightclub in the holodeck.”
Ranma nodded. “Oh, right. Yeah, I did forget. I'm sorry. My mind has just been elsewhere.”
Ranma quickly got undressed and hopped into his sonic shower. Akane looked to the PADD Ranma was looking at. It was his letter granting him command of the U.S.S. Benjamin L Sisko.
“Are you alright, Ranma?” She asked.
Ranma ran out in his underpants and quickly started to rummage through the closet, before remembering that all his clothing was blown up.
“Mmmhmm. Why?” he asked before heading to the couple's replicator.
“Well, you've just been forgetting a lot of things lately,” Akane noted as she walked near him.
Ranma ordered a tuxedo from the replicator, then moved back to the closet and started to get dressed.
“You've also spent a lot of time in here...” she paused. “By yourself.”
Ranma slowly buttoned up his shirt, before finally stopping on the last, top button. He looked at himself in the mirror for a few seconds. The look of self-loathing he had on his face began to change, morphing into a glare of pure anger.
Ranma swiftly, and violently sent his right fist into the mirror, shattering it.
Akane screamed when she heard the glass shattering and ran into the closet with Ranma. She looked at him as he pulled his hand out of the hole in the wall he had created.
Ranma looked at his fist which had several shards of glass sticking out of it, blood covering it.
“What-” Akane started to ask as Ranma began pulling the glass pieces out.
“Twice now,” Ranma said quietly.
Akane just watched Ranma in silence as he casually tossed aside the blood-stained glass that he pulled from between his knuckles.
“I've lost the Sisko twice,” he continued. “Except this time there's no chance of getting her back.”
Akane quickly went and grabbed her medical kit. She came back in and began to work on Ranma's wounded hand. Unlike the many other times she had tried to treat him, Ranma didn't fight with her.
“It's not your fault,” she reminded him.
Ranma shrugged. “Maybe. But maybe if I had played things differently – maybe if I had just agreed to help the Western forces, we could have been able to recover her.”
Akane, having patched up Ranma's hand, began to slowly wipe the blood off it.
“Yes, but then you would have left the Eastern people defenseless against the Westerns. Isn't that why we didn't destroy their armies in the first place?”
“But maybe Shampoo was right. They were just going to end up killing each other anyway, what does it matter?”
Akane shook her head.
“Isn't that what had to happen to us? It took us nearly killing our planet off for people to say, 'wait a minute' and stop fighting over things like skin color and religion.”
Ranma sighed and nodded.
Akane finished wiping off the blood and tossed the cloth she was using in the trash receptacle. She then began to rub her hand along Ranma's face.
“Ranma, I can't say magic words to make you feel better. However, understand this. You did everything in your power to protect this crew and the people of that planet. Everyone on board stood behind you and believed you did the right thing, and most importantly, I believe you did the right thing.”
Ranma looked down at his wife and smiled. He pulled her close and ran his hand through her hair.
“And you said you didn't have any magic words,” he grinned.
Akane chuckled as she leaned against his chest.
“Now,” she said, “put some pants on, we're late.”
Fancy music played as the Sisko crew, all dressed in formal, civilian clothing, milled around chatting with each other. Many of the Crossroads' crew was there as well, however, they were dressed in their formal, Starfleet uniforms.
Admiral Larson had dictated that the first thirty days of the trip home would be considered 'shore leave' for the Sisko's crew. Considering everything they had just been through; it was well earned.
And unknown to the Sisko's crew, what lay ahead may make this shore leave even more well-earned.
Everyone was paired up in their usual groupings.
Shampoo and Amanda.
Minako and Ryouga.
Makoto and Gosnell.
Lt. Fuchs and Lt. Kaii were also hanging out together, however, they were making it a little less obvious that they were 'together'.
J.C. was hanging out with some other engineers. Usagi was chatting with Ami and Trevor but looked a little sad. Ami could not help but catch on to this and began to question her friend about her distressed look.
“What's wrong, Usagi?”
Usagi sighed. “Seems like everyone has someone but me.”
Ami looked around. It did indeed seem like everyone was in pairs. Well, almost everyone.
“No, see,” Ami noted, motioning towards the bar. “See, Rei's alone,” Ami paused. “Oh, right.”
Usagi just shook her head. “Too soon.”
The main doors opened and Ranma and Akane walked in. Usagi turned to them, sighed again, this time twice as loud, and then turned back to Ami.
“I don't know what you're worried about,” Trevor said.
“Hmm?” Usagi asked.
“Yeah, that bloke has been eying you all night.”
Trevor motioned across the room to a handsome young lieutenant who was standing in the corner with a couple of other lieutenants.
“Really?” Usagi asked.
“Yeah really?” Ami asked.
Usagi glared at her as Trevor continued.
“Yeah. He's probably just too shy to ask, or worried because you're a department head.”
“Well, that doesn't do me any good,” Usagi complained.
“Don't be such a silly Sheila,” Trevor laughed. “This is the twenty-fourth century! Go over and talk to him yourself!”
Usagi looked at Trevor who nodded reassuringly. Usagi decided why the hell not, downed her drink for confidence, not really caring that her drink was non-alcoholic, and marched over to the group.
Ami turned to Trevor. “Was he really eying her?”
Trevor laughed. “YES!! Goodness, am I that untrustworthy?”
Ami just looked at him.
“May I have your attention please?” Gosnell called out from the karaoke stage.
The talking subsided and everyone turned their attention to Gosnell who waved and smiled at the group.
“I'd like to welcome you all to my nightclub, which, I guess ironically will be open during the day too.”
Gosnell paused, waiting for laughter that never came. He quickly adjusted his collar and continued.
“I'd like to thank Captain Muzino for allowing us exclusive use of this holodeck for this purpose. Let's all give her a hand!”
The group applauded as Ami waved.
“Um, before the celebrations, I'd like to take a second and ask for a moment of silence to remember our comrades... our shipmates... our friends, who couldn't be with us today,” Gosnell stated a little more softly as he and the rest of the group bowed their head in a silent prayer for the fallen Sisko crew.
“Now...” Gosnell continued as people started to look at him again. “I present to you... Benny's!”
Gosnell flipped a switch and, on a neon-style sign, the outline of the Sisko appeared with the word 'Benny's' on top of it. The group applauded, happy with the name of the club.
“And don't worry, we brought real food in, so it won't disappear out of your stomach once you leave the holodeck!”
The group laughed at Gosnell's joke this time. Deciding to quit while he was ahead, Gosnell put down the mic and wandered off the stage to leave people to eat, drink and be merry.
Stardate 61010.5 – Five days out from NZ-12G, 11 Weeks, 3 Days from Earth.
Ranma, Shampoo, Rei, Makoto, Minako, Usagi, and J.C. all sat in the Crossroads' main conference room. Ami smiled at them as she began to walk towards the door.
“Admiral Larson was very specific on who he wanted in this briefing, so I will be in my ready room if any of you need me.”
Ranma smiled. “Thank you, Captain.”
Ami nodded and left the room.
“We close enough for face-to-face?”
Minako nodded. “The delay is about thirty seconds, but it's better than nothing.”
Ranma nodded. “Put it up.”
The group nearly jumped when they saw the Romulan Imperial Guard logo appear before Larson did. Larson smiled at the group.
“Greetings my friends, I hope you are doing well.”
The group all responded with yeses.
“I am going to get right to the point. You all will not be headed to Earth. I have already instructed the Crossroads to change course. You will be meeting up with me. We have an extremely sensitive mission that we will be going on that even using my current level of encryption, I do not feel comfortable talking about over subspace.”
“Encryption?” Ranma asked. “That explains the Romulan logo?”
Larson nodded. “Indeed. I've called in some favors. Commander Kino may already be aware of this, but I was once involved in Section 31, so I have many contacts.”
Ranma looked to Makoto.
Makoto looked to Ranma. “I know a lot of things, sir,” she smiled.
“I probably don't want to know most of them, do I?”
Makoto shook her head.
“Didn't think so,” Ranma responded, turning back to the screen.
“Ranma,” Larson continued. “I am using my authority to promote you to the rank of Captain. Based on the reports I have gotten from you and your subordinates; I believe you handled things to the best of your ability back there in what had to have been an incredibly difficult situation. Congratulations.”
Ranma smiled. “Thank you...”
Larson nodded. “Lt. Devall.”
J.C. sat up. “Yes sir.”
“The Borg parts. What have you learned about them?”
J.C. shook his head. “Very little. The Crossroads doesn't have the equipment to properly dissect them.”
Larson nodded. “Very well then. Once you get here, we will see what we can do with them. I think they are the key to figuring out this conspiracy.”
“If you don't mind me asking, sir,” Ranma interjected. “What conspiracy?”
Larson cleared his throat then leaned back. “Vulcan has seceded from the Federation.”
Stardate 60997.3 – The date of the Sisko's crew's rescue. Geneva, Earth. Federation Council Headquarters. General Assembly.
“Motion passes,” the Federation secretary-general states.
Inside the general assembly room, hundreds of alien representatives from all sorts of planets from within the Federation are gathered to discuss usually mundane issues.
However, the Vulcan group had something far more important and controversial to discuss this brisk, October morning.
“The chair recognizes the Vulcan delegation.”
The Vulcan ambassador stands. “Thank you. This is to notify the Federation that the Vulcan High Command has voted six to three to exercise our right under the Federation charter to voluntarily end our association with the Federation effective immediately.”
The entire room began to speak at the same time. The secretary-general began to bang his gavel. “Order!” he yelled.
Once the room became quiet, he spoke again. “Are you saying Vulcan is seceding from the Federation?”
“Yes,” the Vulcan replied.
“You cannot do that,” the Earth ambassador replied.
“There is legal precedent for it,” the Vulcan replied.
“Nuts to legal precedent,” the Earth ambassador countered. “Secession has been only due to majority decision by the population...”
“We have a majority on the High Command.”
“They're not elected.”
“They represent the Vulcan people.”
“There are too many Federation assets on Vulcan.”
“Yes, we expect those to be moved, post-haste.”
“Vulcan is too close to Earth.”
“Breen is not that much farther away.”
The Earth ambassador was very frustrated. He quickly began to type up something in his PADD, then began to speak.
“Mr. Secretary, I motion for this bill, 77280-Gamma, to be placed for a vote.”
“You are making a mistake,” the Vulcan said as he read the bill that appeared on his console.
The Federation Assembly clerk began to read.
“No planet, defined as a core planet, which includes, but is not limited to Earth, Vulcan, Andoria, and Teller Prime is permitted to secede from the United Federation of Planets. This law is retroactive.”
“Second!” someone called out.
“Voting begins.” the secretary-general stated.
The board lit up. The yes votes overwhelmingly outnumbered the no votes.
“Motion passes,” the secretary-general acknowledged.
The Vulcans picked up their items. One turned to the group. “Vulcan will continue with their plans. This law means nothing, as we are no longer a part of the Federation.”
The Earth ambassador watched the group huff out before turning back to the secretary-general.
“Mr. Secretary, I suggest we pass a motion on to the Federation Council to request enforcement of resolution 77280-G, by any means necessary.”
An Andorian ambassador stood up, almost too quickly.
The secretary-general sighed. Any means necessary.
He banged his gavel.