Hi, folks. Weebee here again with another one-shot. You know my record for one-shots, so this will either entertain you or send you screaming.
Anyhow, this little fic came, originally, from an idea that Kadunta's been trying to kill for years. Since it wouldn't die, I volunteered to try and kill it.
It's kind of cracky, and a little implausible. A little funny, too, though, maybe.
Anyhow, I'll shut up now. On with the show.
Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma One Half or Star Trek, in any of its forms.
The Red-shirt Diaries. Written by Weebee and Kadunta.
Ranma Saotome's life really sucked. This thought crossed the afore-mentioned martial artist's mind, right after the flashback of his entire life, as he plummeted downward at an accelerated pace. He was pretty sure, at the moment, that he was a dead man. "Train on the Tokyo tower, he said." He muttered, the wind whipping past his face and sweeping his words away. "What could go wrong? He said." The last thing that crossed Ranma Saotome's mind, at least before the pavement, was an oft repeated mantra. 'Stupid ol' man…'
When Ranma woke up, the most surprising thing was that he'd woken up. The last thing he'd remembered, he'd face-planted into the ground from many stories up, and had been pretty sure he wasn't going to wake up again. The second surprise was that, when he tried to twitch a finger, he felt it respond, along with the rest of his body.
"Oh, you're awake." Came a voice that sounded far too much like his own for his liking. Snapping open his eyes, he saw what looked like a slightly distorted mirror image of himself looking down on him. The other him looked several years older, and his pigtail had been exchanged for a short ponytail.
"Who're you?" Ranma demanded, rolling off the bed and into a defensive stance on the side opposite his double.
"Around here they call me the Doc." The man said, smiling. "I know you're very confused right now. All of us are when we first get here, but everything will be explained soon."
Ranma looked at the Doc, even more confused. "So, um, you fixed me from that fall?" He asked.
The Doc looked sadly back at him. "No, I'm afraid not." He said, evenly. "Ranma… you're dead."
"But I… I feel fine." Ranma objected, looking down at himself. His red Chinese shirt and black pants were perfectly intact, and he didn't have a single injury on his body. "What do you mean I'm dead?"
"I mean, you're dead." The Doc repeated, before seeing the disbelieving look on Ranma's face. Sighing, he started for the door to the small room. "Come on." He said, gesturing.
"Wait, where are you…" Ranma said, before realizing the other wasn't stopping. grumbling, he noted that he was a pretty lousy doctor before quickly following.
When the two exited the room, Ranma saw a plaque next to it. "Ranma #1701."
"1701, what's that mean?" He asked, noting that the Doc had stopped to let him catch up.
"That's your ID number." He explained. "You can change it for a name later if you want. Prime wants to meet you, though."
"Prime?" Ranma asked, his confusion now building to a near explosive point. The Doc didn't answer, once again starting to walk down the hall. The hall was a flat white color, and made of some sort of metal that Ranma couldn't identify. It had white overhead illumination, but looked pretty well antiseptic.
Within a few moments, the two turned down several side halls, and made it to an office. Opening the door, the Doc gestured Ranma inside, where the pigtailed boy stopped in shock at what he saw. In a chair at a small computer sat a dead ringer for his female form, except that she was wearing a set of reading glasses. "Okay, what the HELL is going on here?" He demanded, turning back to the Doc.
The older version of himself just sighed. "We've got a new one here, is he busy?" He asked, ignoring the younger martial artist's outburst.
The female Ranma merely nodded, and hit a button on an intercom on the corner of her desk. "Sir, we have another new one… #1701, I believe." She said, quickly.
"Send him in." A male voice replied, and the woman gestured for Ranma to go through a door on the other side of the office.
Ranma wanted to scream. He wanted to start demanding explanations, or start running. One or the other, but he couldn't decide which. Still, he had no idea where he was, and no idea where to run. Annoyed, he stomped through the door and into another office, this one slightly larger.
Behind a desk sat yet another clone of himself, but by this point he'd expected as much. A nametag on his black suit jacket labeled him as 'Prime,' and he reclined in a comfortable looking black leather chair.
On the wall opposite him was a screen listing some very strange readings. "Ranma #1699, death by Akane's cooking. Ranma #1700, Lost to Ryoga. Ranma #1701, death by sudden impact. Ranma #1702, Spontaneous Human Combustion."
As Ranma opened his mouth, Prime spoke. "I know what you're thinking." He said. "You want to know what the hell's going on here, and why we all look like you."
Ranma just nodded, thinking that he was finally going to get some answers.
"I hate talking about this." Prime muttered, before sighing and starting to explain. "You, quite frankly, give heaven and hell a headache. In fact, almost every Ranma Saotome in the multi-verse does. We're all pretty nice people, or not all that bad, but we tend to cause so much chaos that they can't really let us into heaven." He shrugged.
"So… I'm really… dead?" Ranma asked, shocked. "and what do ya mean multi-verse?"
Yes, Ranma, you're dead." Prime replied. "As for the Multi-verse, it's a term for all of the different realities that exist. For example, in my home reality I ended up marrying Nabiki Tendo, and we began a small business together." He smiled at Ranma's disbelieving stare. "You won't believe how hard martial arts accounting is." He then let out a regretful sigh. "Unfortunately, my Nabiki was a bit of a backstabber, and ended up having me killed for my portion of our stock and my insurance money."
"But, erm, why are you 'n me here, then. Isn't the afterlife supposed ta be a little… different?" Ranma asked, more than a little disturbed by how casually the other version of him talked about getting killed by his own wife.
"This isn't heaven, or hell. This is a sort of specially crafted Purgatory." Prime explained. "It basically houses all of the Ranmas who die, until the people upstairs can figure out what to do with us."
Ranma really wasn't sure about this. He was apparently dead, and in a purgatory, whatever that was, with at least 1700 other versions of himself, if he understood prime's explanation correctly. "And, um, how long am I gunna be here?"
Prime shrugged. "Some of us stay about fifty years. Some of us have been here since the beginning." He explained. "I've been here for eighty, but only because I requested the task of helping manage this place after I got kicked upstairs." Seeing Ranma's confused state, he stood up and walked over to the younger version of himself. He remembered the day that he'd found himself here, and how confusing it was. Even worse, this Ranma, like so many of the others, wasn't nearly as experienced as he had been.
"This place is pretty nice, actually." He confided. "There's always other martial artists to spar with, and some of them have gotten scarily good over the years." He smiled, apparently remembering a particularly good fight. "Oh, and the food's free, too. Tastes almost like Kasumi made it." He stopped for a moment, and thought. "Well, she did, sort of." He muttered, quietly.
"Thanks." Ranma said, uncertainly.
The older version of him patted him on the shoulder, and then took a small piece of paper out of his desk drawer. "Here's a map of the complex. Come and talk to me again if you need any help." Ranma merely nodded, and exited the room in a rather comfortably numb state.
Over the next few days, Ranma began to explore the 'complex,' as everyone else seemed to call it. The place seemed really surreal. Everywhere he looked, he saw duplicates of himself, all wearing nametags that identified them either by number or name. He'd been told that he could take a name whenever he wanted, but he was Ranma, he already had a name… right? It'd been getting annoying, though, with everyone calling him 1701 all the time.
Also, some of the people here were scary, exemplifying some of his greatest fears and hopes. He'd seen several female versions of himself. No, not just in cursed form, as he'd found out much to his regret that the curse worked even when DEAD, but actual girls, the ones with numbers usually bearing the name 'Ranko' before them instead of 'Ranma.'
He'd also seen one young child who seemed perpetually trapped in the Neko-ken. He learned that that Ranma had been killed by Genma during the Neko-ken training. Versions of him that were forever locked in their cursed forms, and oddly enough, a few male Rankos who he presumed were the other side of that coin.
On the positive side, he'd seen one Ranma, jokingly nicknamed 'Goku' by the others, who had mastered the art to the point that it almost made him want to cry.
Still, he was finding this place's clean, antiseptic lines stifling, and would give nearly anything to see a face other than his or her own.
It was on the third day when he got that wish. He'd been skulking around the darker back areas of the complex, where very few Ranmas ever went. He wasn't sure what he was looking for. An escape? Someone other than himself to talk to? Even a little change of scenery. Scowling, he slumped against one of the doors that lined the back halls. Unlike the ones nearer the center of the complex, these ones didn't have numbers or names, just bright red 'Do Not Enter' signs. The signs were usually a moot issue, though, since they were tightly locked anyways, and he couldn't punch through them. He'd tried.
Strangely, though, this time the door gave with a soft creak. Ranma stumbled, almost falling into the red corridor behind him, and only barely catching himself on the door post. After regaining his balance, he curiously looked into the newly discovered passage. It was slightly darker than the gleaming white corridors he'd been walking through for the past few days, and there was a soft, though not unpleasant, red glow suffusing everything. He glanced at the door, where the usual sign was present, with one below it that read "Redshirt Recycling Center."
Stepping into the hall, Ranma let the door go without thinking and it clicked shut behind him. About half a second later, it Gave another click, that of a computer controlled lock sliding into place.
Whirling, Ranma grabbed the handle and tried to pull the door back open, but it wouldn't come. "Oh, great move, Saotome." He muttered, and turned back around. "Well, I got in here, I can get out." He resolved, and started walking.
About thirty minutes later, he was not quite as sure about that statement. He turned down yet another red-lit hallway, and noticed that a group of people were running up it. They all wore some form of odd military uniform, mostly black with a bright yellow central portion. They were people other than himself, so he supposed that he'd gotten his wish. "Excuse me…" He asked stopping one, a blonde haired woman with two small gold pips on her collar, in her tracks. "Can you tell me how ta get outta here?"
"Oh, a new guy, huh?" She asked, looking him over. "That's an odd uniform. Come on, I'll take you to fitting and then show you the transporter bays."
"Thanks, I think." Ranma said, uncertainly, as the blonde started walking down the hall.
"I'm Tasha Yar, by the way. Who are you?"
"Saotome Ranma." Ranma replied, falling into step next to her.
"You know how long your stint is supposed to be?" She asked. "I get to be a security officer on the Enterprise for a few months." She frowned. "Get my memory wiped first, because it's a long posting, though."
"I… I don't know." Ranma said, uncertainly.
Yar shrugged. "Oh well, you'll find out when you get to the transporter bays, I suppose."
Ranma just nodded, and the two turned down another corridor labeled 'Clothing and Equipment.'
Ranma prime reclined in his chair, watching two of the other Ranmas fighting on a small screen on his desk. As he was really getting into the fight, and one of them had actually managed to trick the other into a Hiryu Shoten Ha, however, his intercom buzzed. Annoyed, he reached out and tapped the button. "Yes?" He asked, shortly.
"Prime, sir, it's happened again." His secretary replied. "#1701's gone missing."
Prime grunted in annoyance. "Can you find him?" He asked.
"No, sir. He disappeared near the transfer doors, like the others."
He sighed. "Not again…" This had happened before, usually to the base types of Ranma, the ones who had died during the insanity of Nerima. It took them quite a bit of time to settle in, and occasionally they found ways out before that happened. "Find out who left one of the doors open, and see if we can get him back." He ordered, and turned off the intercom.
Still, he did smile slightly. "Good luck, kid." He muttered.
Later, Ranma was looking dubiously in the mirror, where he saw his own reflection wearing a uniform similar to Yar's. Instead of the two gold pips on his collar, he wore only one, and the center seemed to be a different color. He had some sort of ray gun held in a holster around his waist. He knew he'd wanted to get out of the repetitiveness of that weird complex, but this didn't seem much better.
Stepping out of the small changing stall he'd put the uniform on in, and tucking his ordinary clothes under his arm, he saw Tasha waiting for him. "Hmm, you look okay." She said. "Here's a comm badge." She held out a hand, revealing a small arrow head like pin, similar to one she had pinned onto her own chest.
"Thanks, I think." Ranma said, bemused, clipping the small object into place on his own shirt. "So, erm, why are we going to be going to these…. Ships?"
Yar shrugged. "We're security officers." She explained. "You are new if you don't know what that means. We protect the ship's senior staff, with our lives if necessary." She frowned. "That's usually pretty necessary, so instead of having to produce new officers every time, they sort of recycle us."
Ranma gulped, not quite liking the sound of that, but Tasha seemed pretty casual about it, so it really couldn't be all that bad. Also, he was already dead. Could things get any worse?
A couple of minutes later, he and Tasha entered a large room with the label "Transporter room 1" written over its entrance. Along one wall was a strange, circular platform, creating a slight indent into the wall in order to make room for itself, and along the other was a console with a sleepy looking man in a different, red uniform standing at it.
"Hi, Tasha." The man said, waving to the blonde then looking at Ranma oddly. "Who's this guy?"
"We've got a new recruit." Tasha explained, pointing at Ranma. "Found him just wandering the corridors in the weirdest security uniform I've ever seen.
The man at the console smiled. "Well, glad to have you aboard, Mr…"
"Ranma." Ranma replied, without thinking.
"Right, Mr. Ranma. We've got an opening for a new redshirt on the USS Tian An Men, she's a Miranda class. Is that all right?"
Ranma blinked. "Um… sure, but this shirt's yellow." He said, stupidly.
"Don't worry, it's a pretty short posting." The man at the console explained. "And redshirt is just what we usually call ourselves, regardless of the shirt color. Now, I'll transport Tasha first, then you."
Ranma nodded, and Tasha quickly withdrew something from a slot on the belt that carried her ray gun, pressing it against her neck where it made a soft hissing noise. "Okay, the memory suppressant should take effect in a few minutes." She said, stepping up onto the platform.
"Have a good time!" The operator smiled, then pressed a few buttons. Instantly, Tasha was enveloped in an odd, sparkling light, and vanished into nothingness.
"What the…" Ranma gasped, gaping at the event.
"It's just a transporter, kid. Ours is a little bit beefed up, but it's pretty standard equipment. If this trip wasn't so quick, I'd suggest a tech course if you don't recognize one. Still, be sure to enroll in one when you get back, all right?"
"Yeah, sure." Ranma muttered, before looking at the platform distrustfully. Sighing, he walked forward, stepping onto the transporter and turning to face the operator, as Tasha had done.
"Take one of those Cardassians out for me, all right kid?" The transporter operator said, grinning and operating his controls.
"Card…" Ranma started, wanting to know what the hell a Cardassian was, before being enveloped in white light.
When the light of the transporter faded and Ranma stopped blinking, he found himself standing in the middle of a hallway. It was mostly colored grey and white, with a carpeted floor, and he could hear a muted humming from under his feet. Stepping forward and looking around slowly, he saw that there were doors all down the hall, small pads full of buttons set into the wall next to them. "Oh great, what do I do now?" He wondered, Continuing towards a window at the end of the corridor.
As he got closer, he noted that the window showed a star filled night sky, though as he looked through the thick glass he began to reconsider. There was no ground below the window, and as he looked up he saw an expanse of grey metal extending outwards. "Where the hell am I?" he asked, speaking mostly to himself.
"You lost, crewman?" Asked a cheerful sounding male voice, from behind Ranma. The pigtailed boy spun on one foot, still rather jumpy, to see a surprised looking older man with a black mustache. "Hmm, security, right?" The man asked, smiling.
Ranma, remembering that Yar had identified herself as security earlier, nodded. "Yeah, I'm just a little lost." He lied.
The man misread Ranma's nervous look, and smiled reassuringly. "Came aboard at starbase 312, huh? If you need directions, ask the computer. It's only supposed to be for guests, but I used it for my first month."
Thanks." Ranma said, and the older man smiled again before striding down the corridor. "Computer…" He muttered, and nearly jumped when he heard a loud beeping sound from his 'comm. badge.'
He looked around for a few moments, before a slightly nasal female voice spoke from the badge. "Please input request."
"Um, where am I supposed to go?" Ranma asked, willing to try anything at this point.
"Crewman Ranma, the duty roster specifies that you are to be on deck 7, in the security complex armory." The computer chirped back, obediently.
"Where's that?" Ranma asked.
"Please follow the lights on the wall." The computer continued, and then a set of lighting elements at about chest level in the wall next to Ranma started flashing.
Ranma shrugged. He felt vaguely like he was being lead around by the nose, but he couldn't really do much about it, so he started walking.
"Where the hell have you been?" That was the first thing Ranma heard as he stepped into the room that the computer identified as the deck 7 security complex. The annoyed exclamation came from a brown haired woman wearing a uniform with two pips on the collar.
Ranma bristled. "I got lost, all right?" He snapped. "Haven't been here that long, so back off, would ya?" He found his temper rising, but managed to bite it back.
"Crewman," The woman said, icily, "I suggest you be more respectful to superior officers aboard this ship." She was about to say something else, when the light strips that Ranma had been following in order to reach this location abruptly flared red, and an alarm went off. "I have to go, we WILL discuss this later." She said, running out of the room as quickly as she could.
"Wait, what's goin on!" Ranma protested, but the woman was long out of earshot. Looking around, he saw that the room he had ended up in was, as advertised, an armory. It was full of small weapons like the one holstered at his side, as well as several racks of larger, rifle like devices.
Sighing in annoyance, Ranma sat down at a desk in the middle of the room, and tapped a finger on the keyboard of a computer that was sitting there. The strange symbol, a circle full of stars with two leaf-like objects on either side, blinked off of the screen and he saw a display in English. Strangely, it seemed perfectly readable to him. "Tactical state: Red Alert. Two Cardassian Vessels on approach, weapons online and targeted. All security personnel, prepare for combat."
Ranma gulped. That seemed rather self-explanatory, even if he didn't know who cardassians were. As he thought this, the floor under his feet rocked, and a flicker seemed to pass through the lights. "What?" He asked, before the floor, or more accurately deck, rocked again, this time much more violently. In the corner of the room, a screen blew out with an explosion of sparks.
Cursing, Ranma shot to his feet, though he wasn't sure of what he was going to do. As if providing him with a hint, the computer spoke again. "Warning, Intruder alert. Unauthorized transports on decks 3, 5, 6 and 7." Ranma didn't need to be told what that meant, as abruptly a beam of light similar to the one that had transported him onto the ship shimmered into existence in front of him.
The form that materialized from the beam was most definitely not human. It had two strange additions on either side of its neck, like tendons that had been stretched from the shoulders to the sides of the skull, and its skin was an odd grey color. Instantly, it raised a weapon in its hand that looked a little like the one Ranma carried, and sent a beam at the pigtailed martial artist.
Ranma only barely managed to get out of the way of the weapon's line of fire, a sizzling beam of force flying past his left shoulder and blowing out another screen on the wall. Seeing that the alien was sighting for another shot, Ranma rolled forward, careening into its legs and sending it toppling forward over him. He heard a loud crack as its head met the edge of the desk in the middle of the room, and quickly regained his feet.
In the distance, he could hear the sound of more laser weapons going off with a peculiar high pitched whine, and frowned. He'd suddenly been thrown into a war zone. 'Shoulda stayed with the clones.' He thought, bending down briefly to make sure that the Cardassian he'd knocked out was still breathing before running out into the corridor. Almost immediately, he dove out of the way as another Cardassian came around the corner, raking the hall with fire. Most of it missed, but Ranma felt a burning sensation on one shoulder as he landed, and then rolled back into the armory. "Damn." He hissed, lifting a hand to check the nasty burn that was present on his shoulder.
He was reluctant to stick his head back out into the hall. Though he wasn't afraid of much, the beam the enemies' weapons fired seemed to travel as fast as the speed of light, and he'd only been lucky in being able to get out of the way of the shots before they'd been fired so far.
At this point, he was even considering trying to use the weapon he'd been given, but he had almost no idea how to do so. Unfortunately, he had no idea what was going on. "Computer," He said, the voice that answered when he'd said that before being the only thing that gave him any concrete information around here. Hearing the chirp of acknowledgement, he continued. "How many of these… Cardassians… are there on the ship?"
"64." The computer replied.
Ranma gulped. He'd only managed to take down one of them so far, and was still trying to think of a way to take down the one that his Chi sense told him was cautiously waiting at the end of the corridor. "How many other people…" He started, before he heard a beeping sound from the console in the middle of the room.
Walking up to it, he looked into it to see the woman who he'd seen exit the room only minutes earlier. "Good, I've finally gotten through to someone. The Cardassians are trying to break through the bridge's defenses. If there's anyone available down there, get them up here to help out!" She ordered, before a loud explosion could be heard behind her. Abruptly, the screen faded to static.
Ranma growled in annoyance, and then looked around the room again. It was full of weapons, which those people on the 'bridge,' whatever the hell that was, probably needed. Besides, he was supposed to help out the weak, wasn't he?
Grabbing several rifles and slinging them over his shoulder, the pigtailed boy spoke to the computer again. "Computer, I need directions to the bridge."
There was only a beep in response, and the wall lit up with its direction giving light once again. Smiling, Ranma cracked his knuckles and started to move.
During the next 15 minutes, Ranma made his inexorable way to the ship's bridge. He wasn't sure what a bridge was, really, but it had other people on it, which was a good thing. Strangely, as he went, the Cardassians seemed to be constantly sneaking around, and had managed to surprise him several times.
This had, so far, not resulted in any serious injury, but they had managed to singe off the end of his pigtail. That particular Cardassian ended up with a broken jaw. It was an accident… sort of.
The elevators that took people through the ship had stopped working when he was still on Deck 5. Apparently the crew had shut them off, but he'd found a set of stairs that ran almost straight up the center of the part of the ship he was in. He was pretty sure that the bridge was on the top deck, so he started climbing them. As he reached the top, he saw two more cardassians standing there. Cursing, he dove out of the way and ended up taking a header down one flight of stairs, while the Cardassians' laser weapons etched lines in the wall behind him.
Scrambling back to his feet, he tried to think. He'd used most of his Chi to down the cardassians he'd met on the way up here, and he'd never had to deal with two before. Reluctantly, he grabbed the weapon from its holster at his waist, pointed and pressed one of the buttons on its top. Instantly, a beam of yellow light leapt from the weapon's muzzle, hitting one of the two Cardassians dead center in the chest. Ranma quickly switched targets, hitting the other one as well, and walked out onto the deck.
He checked to see if the Cardassians were still alive, and sighed in relief when he saw that they were breathing faintly. Unfortunately, his brief inspection was interrupted, however, when he heard the sound of an explosion from nearby.
Captain Markus winced as he heard yet another explosion from the reinforced door to the bridge access stairwell. He knew that soon, despite the force fields and heavy reinforcement that covered the door, it was going to give way, and when it did, only he and his bridge crew would be there to stop the Cardassians from taking the ship.
They had secured most other areas, though he'd had engineering locked down in order to prevent access and they needed access to the bridge to bypass the locking commands.
As he heard the sound of another reverberating blast, the man considered the attack. He should have seen it coming, but the two Galor class ships had dropped out of high warp almost right on top of the Tian An Men, and proceeded to batter her shields down to almost nothing too quickly to react to. He'd sent a distress call, but the closest ship, the Archangel, would take another forty five minutes to get here and he didn't think he had the time.
He looked over to the access ladder entrance, where his chief of security, a Lt. named Cherenkov stood with her phaser drawn. "How long until they breach the field, Lieutenant?" He asked.
"Only one or two blasts." She answered. As if in order to prove her wrong, the door caved in at that moment, and she backed up to avoid the flying shrapnel. Markus and his entire bridge crew drew their phasers as smoke billowed into the room, but they were surprised at what they heard.
A shout of "Moko Takabisha!" came floating in through the hole, then another explosion and the sound of both Cardassian and federation phaser fire.
"What the…" He asked, surprised.
"I think we have our reinforcements, sir." Lt. Cherenkov said, sighing in relief. About a second later, though, two cardassians came charging into the bridge. Cherenkov took aim and downed them, without really noticing that they were running frantically away from something, rather than towards them.
A second later, that something entered the room. It was a battered and slightly phaser burned security crewman, with a black pigtail hanging down the back of his uniform. He had several phaser rifles slung over his shoulder, but strangely hadn't seemed to have used any of them. Removing one of them from his back and proffering it to the Lieutenant, he asked, "Now, anyone wanna tell me what the hell's goin on here?"
The bridge crew merely stared.
In another reality that looked suspiciously like a television producer's office, a man in a 2260s era Starfleet security uniform looked at the screen on his laptop, disapproving. Something had just gone horribly wrong in his timeline. The USS Tian An Men, a Miranda class starship that was patrolling the Cardassian Boarder, was supposed to be briefly captured by the Cardassian Union, then released at the end of the war. Now, however, its crew had somehow managed to keep control of their ship's bridge long enough for reinforcements to arrive.
He frowned. The Tian An Men was a ship full of his Redshirts, and someone had interfered in the vital role they played in the federation of this universe.
Focusing his view in on the ship, he panned into the ready room, where the captain was talking with one of the ship's security officers
"What do you mean he doesn't have a file?" He demanded, annoyed.
She shrugged. "I mean he doesn't have a file. He's registered as a Starfleet officer, even in the secure databases on the nearest starbase, but he's got no date of birth, no medical records…" She shrugged. "Nothing."
The captain crossed his hands in front of his face in a thinking posture. "That officer risked his life to get up to the bridge and defend us, and you're saying he doesn't even really exist?"
"Oh, he exists." She smirked. "Ate enough replicated food to prove that much. We just know nothing about him. My guess, he got recruited off of some backwater that doesn't know how to keep its records straight. Happens all the time with security personnel."
The captain, who had been in the sciences before switching to the command track, blinked. "Remind me never to enlist in Starfleet security." He muttered.
She laughed, but then became serious. "What do you want done with him, sir?"
"As I said, I want to recommend that boy go to the Academy. If he's that good, he should have a rank." The man said, simply.
"I'll inform Mr. Ranma, then, sir." The chief of security replied, and nodded.
Angrily, the god of Redshirts leaned forward and turned off his monitor. "Ranma…" He mumbled. "That's his name." Leaning forward and typing frantically into his terminal, he whispered, "He must be stopped."
Ranma crept through the simulated bush on the Holodeck, cursing her own stupidity for letting herself get distracted enough to get dunked into that river. It seemed cosmically unfair that water that really wasn't real could trigger her curse, but apparently Jusenkyo wasn't choosy.
The reason she was so annoyed, other than the usual fact she was once more wet and female, was that bright red hair made lousy camouflage in the middle of a thick forest.
Hearing the sound of some sticks cracking in front of her, the redhead immediately hugged the side of a tree and pulled herself part of the way up it as another academy cadet who knew a hell of a lot less about moving in a jungle than she did tromped through. Smirking, she leveled her phaser, permanently set to stun, and carefully took aim before downing the overly reckless participant.
Keeping track of the score in her head, she had heard three phaser discharges earlier. If each of them had hit, there would only be one more cadet running around. It would be an easy kill, even with her camouflage problem.
As she slid down the tree, however, her cocky assessment was once more proven wrong as a phaser beam sizzled past her ear, leaving a hole in the tree next to her. When she realized that she felt something odd on her neck, she reached back to feel that her hair had been forcibly taken out of its pigtail, and part of the collar of her cadet's uniform was burnt off.
Phasers set to stun weren't supposed to do that, she knew that much. Turning around, she yelled "Wait, that thing's on the wrong setting!" But the cadet, who had fallen prey to Ranma's tricks in simulations before, ignored her and fired again, blasting a bush about a foot away from her.
Thanking the Kami for lousy shots, Ranma looked down at her own phaser distrustfully. If the other student's had been set wrong, who was to say that hers couldn't misfire? Discarding it into the trees, she started to run towards him, rolling as another beam passed close by her, and ending the role in a spectacular high kick that connected to the boy's hand and sent the weapon spinning off into the trees.
"I told you," She growled, "That the phaser was set wrong!" To emphasize her point, she turned to let him see the charred back of her uniform.
The Cadet's face turned pale, and moments later the woods faded to the gold and black lattice work of a holodeck. The academy's wilderness combat instructor, an old man in a commodore's uniform, stomped in, annoyed.
"Saotome, what did I tell you about using close quarters combat moves in this scenario?" He barked.
"I didn't trust my phaser." Ranma explained. "Carter's went off on the wrong setting, 'n I didn't wanna barbecue him if mine did the same thing."
The instructor's face turned as pale as the other cadet's for a brief moment, and he quickly ran over to the side of the room, where the other cadet's phaser was now laying. Checking over the setting, he frowned. "This phaser did have its mode switched. It's a damned good thing Carter's such a lousy shot." He growled. "I'll see that I find out who did this."
"Probably just my bad luck." Ranma commented, but no one heard her.
"Personal Log, Stardate 42976.3, Cadet Saotome recording. I'm finally getting out of this place. The past two years have been the most boring, mind numbing experience I've ever had, but since I was pretty well without purpose when I got here, I guess that's kinda a given.
I don't really get the point of these log entries, especially since they won't be accessible by anyone but me until I'm long dead, but the guys above say I need 'ta make 'em, so here I am. I'm supposed to be graduating from the Academy in a few weeks, though I don't know how I managed to pass basic subspace mechanics. I pretty well just made up all the answers I wrote in.
I hope I get the posting I requested aboard the Tian An Men.. Since the Tendo Dojo doesn't seem to exist here, and actually apparently never has, it's about the closest place to a home I've got. After all, I spent six months there when I first arrived.
As for the academy, well, I ain't gunna miss it. It seems that every second day a turbolift's breakin down and dumpin me ten levels down, or one of the phaser arrays in the hall security system decides I'm good target practice. I know someone up there doesn't like me, but this is gettin ridiculous. Plus, if I never see Paris again and his damned water gun, I'll be perfectly happy.
Anyways, my shuttle up to space dock 1 is leaving in half an hour, and if I'm not on it someone's gunna kill me, so I'd better end this log entry and get ready.
Computer, end log."
"And where the hell have you been?" Ranma smiled as he heard the female voice say that, stepping off the transporter platform.
"Good ta see you too, Ma'am." He replied, performing a mock salute.
Lieutenant Commander Cherenkov just smiled. "Good to have you back aboard, Saotome." She said. "We've got to leave orbit soon to get to a Klingon Mediation, so I hope you've got nothing to do back on the station."
Ranma shook his head, then blinked. "Klingons?" He asked, smiling brightly.
"Saotome, if you get into another bar brawl, I'll…" She started, giving him a warning look.
Ranma looked down, disappointed, and muttered something too low for his commanding officer to hear.
"What was that?" She asked.
"I said it was just a friendly spar." Ranma replied, as the two walked through the sliding doors of the transporter room.
She laughed. "There ended up being four Klingons… with Batleths."
Ranma shrugged. "Like I said, a spar."
Cherenkov merely shook her head. "Well, no sparring this time, and that's an order. Now get to the security section and pick up your kit."
"Yes, Ma'am." Ranma replied, and the two parted ways.
"Hey, it's not my fault this time." Ranma grunted, holding back a klingon blade on the bracers he'd been given special dispensation to wear under the sleeves of his uniform.
Cherenkov, who was pressed against his back and holding off another Klingon, desperately wanted to throw an annoyed look over her shoulder at him. "You made fun of their hatred of tribbles." She growled.
"But C'mon!" Ranma said. "They're so cute!" He was distracted as the klingon in front of him bellowed, withdrawing his Batleth and swinging it back down, hard. Unfortunately, Ranma neatly took the opening that his withdrawal had presented to drop him to the ground with a kick to the knee and a blow to the back of the skull. After that, he turned to assist his commander with the other klingon officer.
"So, if it was all my fault, why'd you help me out?" He asked, smirking.
She merely glared at him while panting for breath. "You're annoying, but you're valuable." She replied, striding out of the room and leaving the two unconscious Klingons where they fell.
"Oh, and by the way?" She said, stopping herself at the door. "Cats." Seeing Ranma flinch visibly, she chuckled as she headed for the bridge to report the incident to the captain.
The god of redshirts picked up a small, clear plastic model of the starship enterprise that sat on his desk, and hurled it at the far wall. The model saucer separated on impact, though definitely not in the way it was supposed to. "Damn that Saotome!" He roared, pounding on the desktop.
He'd been trying for just over six months to get rid of him, along with the rest of the crew of the ship he served aboard. Their still being around was an aberration that would eventually muck up the time flow of the entire universe, and he didn't want to get the flack for that.
As he pondered ways to get rid of the meddling factor, the redshirt god heard his office door open. Through it stepped an annoyingly superior looking man in a gold uniform, the braid at his wrists identifying him as a captain.
"Something wrong… Bermhan?" The man asked. "I heard… a loudnoise… coming from your office and… decidedto investigate."
"I'm fine, Shatnar. Go manage your big plan." The redshirt god, now identified as Bermhan, said as he knocked his head against the desk.
"If… you're sure." Shatnar said, looking at the other god worriedly.
Bermhan's head shot up, and he glared at the goldshirt in clear annoyance. "Yes, I'm sure, now would you leave me alone?" He said.
"All right, all right." Shatnar said, quickly backing out of the room and closing the door.
"Annoying, interfering…" Bermhan muttered, and then got up, walking over to retrieve the pieces of the enterprise model he'd thrown. Shatnar was so superior, with his grand fleet movements, and heroic captains. Why, he was planning the biggest battle in federation history in only a few months, and he wouldn't shut up about it. Suddenly, Bermhan stopped, cold. Then, he began to smile. Within minutes, he was cackling manically and typing furiously at his keyboard.
Chief of Security's personal Log, Stardate 43991.4, Lt. Saotome Recording. The Tian An Men is en-route to intercept a hostile starship that's entering federation space, and I'm not supposed to be chief tactical officer. Commander Erickson kinda screwed things up when he transferred to the Potemkin, and a lot of stuff had ta be re-arranged. Commander Cherenkov got promoted to first officer, and she recommended ME for chief of security. I really gotta wonder what I did to that chick to get her that pissed off at me.
As it is, I've now got responsibility for twenty other people. I know they're redshirts, and if I botch things they'll just get recycled to another ship, but I've felt phasers on light kill settings way too many times ta think it's very pleasant. I'll have ta be sure to take as many of the security duties on away missions as I can, ta keep 'em out of danger.
As it is, we're headed to sector Wolf 359 to stop this unknown alien ship. Captain Markus didn't look too confident when he relayed Starfleet's orders… I don't like this.
The bridge crew of the Tian An Men looked uneasily at the massive conglomeration of metal and other materials that simply floated in space before them. The huge geometric shape simply defied belief. Sensors showed that it was several cubic kilometers in volume, and it apparently had the weaponry and shields to severely damage a galaxy class starship with almost no damage to itself.
"Captain, the Saratoga is hailing the Borg vessel." The OPS officer said, looking distinctly nervous at her station.
"Patch it through." Captain Markus ordered, leaning forward in his seat. As he and the other crew listened to the conversation between the captain of the Saratoga and the Borg vessel, Ranma was studying his tactical console and realizing that the whole ship and crew was likely doomed. To use a martial arts analogy, the Tian An Men was about as strong as Akane, as Federation ships went. The thing out there, it was a Saffron, or worse. Still, this thing was headed directly for earth, and the billions of people on it.
He looked up as he heard the last words of the Borg drone on the screen, some Starfleet captain that had been assimilated during the first stages of the attack. "This conversation is irrelevant. Prepare to be assimilated." He shuddered at the bio-mechanical monstrosity on the screen, and resolved that he'd kill himself before letting… that… happen to him.
"Captain, the Borg ships raising shields and firing on the Saratoga." He reported, his voice only slightly shaky.
"Sir, the Saratoga's given us orders to engage." The operations officer reported.
Captain Markus nodded, and Commander Cherenkov cleared her throat. "Helm, plot a firing run. Tactical, take targets where you can. Don't miss, Saotome." She threw a smirk to her replacement, and he bent to the controls of his station, carefully selecting targets.
"Martial arts starship combat." He repeated to himself, keying in various weak points that he saw, but even he thought this fight was hopeless.
The bridge of the Tian An Men was a mess. The captain was laying on the floor, unmoving, but no one had had time to check his vital signs, and the ship's four doctors were busy with casualties on other decks. It was still occasionally firing on the Borg cube, but the Saratoga and Kyushu had already been destroyed, and the Righteous had just disappeared with no trace several minutes ago.
"The Borg's status, Lieutenant Saotome?" Commander Cherenkov demanded, standing in the center of the bridge and glaring at the cube on the screen, even though there was a copiously bleeding gash on her forehead.
"They're passing right by us, and I think they've adapted to all our phaser frequencies." Ranma replied, only looking slightly better as he stood at the tactical station.
"They're ignoring us?" The commander demanded.
"No, ma'am… they've started beaming…" Ranma was cut off, as several Borg drones appeared on the bridge, and began advancing towards the crew. There were only four people on the bridge who were still conscious, but they all drew their phasers and started firing.
The first two Borg went down rather easily, but after that it took several shots for the federation officers to find a frequency that they hadn't adapted to. Unfortunately, several more Borg had begun to enter the bridge, both from the lifts to the lower decks and by transporting in.
One of them beamed in right next to Ranma, and he immediately delivered a spinning back kick to the side of its head, sending it flying into a console. "Huh." He muttered, surprised. "Figured they woulda shielded themselves from that." Smirking confidently, he leapt into the mass of Borg that were standing near the turbolift, who the phaser fire had apparently stopped effecting all together, and executed a round house kick that smashed into all of them, sending them stumbling off balance.
Unfortunately, it was apparently very hard to knock out a Borg, as the one he'd previously sent careening into a bridge panel had gotten back to its feet, and grabbed the ship's science officer, an ensign named Gomez, by the arm. Ranma winced, and fired a Moko-Takabisha across the bridge to slam into the Borg's torso. He'd tried to avoid doing that sort of thing ever since he'd entered Starfleet Since people kept talking about analyzing him every time he did, but this time was a special case. The effect of the Chi attack on the Borg drone was spectacular. The impact only knocked it back a few feet, but its entire body began to spark, and it twitched frantically for several seconds before falling to the floor, dead.
Ranma wasn't sure why his Chi attack had had such a dramatic effect, but it didn't really matter. Throwing open his arms, he began firing balls of his life force at the other drones in the room.
The rest of the crew just blinked, as all of the Borg in the room began to fall lifelessly to the ground.
"Commander, the Borg ship is out of transporter range." The helmsman reported, having briefly torn his eyes from the display in order to check the sensor readouts.
"Saotome, I could kiss you!" Commander Cherenkov exclaimed, looking around at the bridge full of dead Borg.
"How about ya just let me lay down." The pigtailed martial artist asked, before falling flat on his face.
Gomez ran over to him, and scanned him with his ever-present tricorder. "He's just asleep, Ma'am." He reported.
"Good." The commander replied, before walking over to the security panel and checking it. She sighed in relief when she saw that there were no other Borg aboard the ship, aside from the ones that had come to the bridge. "Apparently, they thought resistance was futile." She mused.
"Personal Log, Stardate 44214.9. Commander Ranma Saotome recording. Three months. That's how long it took them to find me a new assignment. Three months of sitting on my ass on earth, while they decommission my ship. The Tian An Men was apparently too badly damaged by the Borg attack, even though we managed to limp home after the battle. It's strange. I kinda feel like I did when I first got here, now. The place I've been for over a year now has been lost… again, and all I got to show for it is this lousy promotion. Apparently, the rest of the crew decided I deserved a reward for fightin off the Borg on the bridge. When I said it was a martial artist's duty, they just shrugged and said I was modest.
Considering I power my Chi attacks by ego, I sorta laughed at that. As it is, I'm stuck with the new rank… I wonder what my family woulda thought, three years ago, if they heard I'd become a member of the crew of a starship. This time, it's a big jump up from the old Tian An Men. An Excelsior class, name's the USS Crazy Horse. If I ever find out who thought the name would be funny, I'm gunna have to kill them..
Personally, I think Starfleet's nuts, but they've apparently decided ta put the survivors of Wolf 359 up as some sort of Federation Heroes. Yeah, the heroes of a battle we pretty well lost. Anyways, I'm supposed to meet with Captain Wright to see if I'm right for his ship. His Ops officer's words, NOT mine." Ranma was interrupted in his log entry, as the door to his quarters on Starbase one beeped for his attention. "Computer, end log." He said, before standing and going to press the admittance button.
He knew that most people just told the computer to let their guests in, but he'd never gotten used to that procedure. Once the door had slipped aside, he saw an Academy Cadet, only about four years younger than he was, staring back at him nervously.
"Um, sir." The cadet said, saluting. "I've been sent to escort you to the Crazy Horse."
"Okay." Ranma said, and walked back into the room. He picked up a picture, created through careful manipulation of the Holodeck, of his family and his former crewmates, and tossed it into a small duffle bag on the bed. Zipping it up, he slung it over his shoulder. "C'mon."
"Yes, sir." The cadet said, quickly starting to walk down the hall. As Ranma passed through the doors to his temporary quarters, they abruptly slid shut as quickly as possible. He shot a hand up, catching one and shoving it back into its slot. "Aw, now yer not even tryin." He commented, looking up to the ceiling and smirking.
Bermhan sat there, quivering. His eye twitched. It twitched again. On the screen of his small computer was the smirking face of Ranma Saotome, as he stood there and held the room's door open. The martial artist stepped out of the opening and followed his guide out of frame, and the god took in a deep breath, preparing to start screaming at the top of his lungs.
Only one thing stopped him. Just as he was about to cut loose with the most inventive cuss words 300 years of redshirts had ever come up with, from every corner of the galaxy, the door to his office swung open and Shatnar marched in, not looking very amused.
"What is it?" Bermhan hissed, biting back his fury for the moment.
"That is... what I'd like to know." Shatnar said, in his infuriatingly stilted way. "I find out that a... new command candidate's just fought his way up through the ranks and... you try to kill 'im?"
"What... what are you talking about?" Bermhan asked, now definitely losing his patience.
"Why Saotome, of course. Fine boy... as far as I can tell. Should make a fine commanding officer." Shatnar said, happily.
Bermhan quickly checked the records on his computer screen, and saw that Ranma had, indeed, been moved out of his jurisdiction and into Shatnar's. He was about to curse and scream again, but then he thought about it. If Saotome was as good at thwarting Shatnar as he had been at thwarting him... The god of redshirts looked at Shatnar with a false apologetic look. "I'm sorry Shatnar, I must have gotten my files mixed up. I hope he's all right." He said, concerned.
"Oh... yes, he's fine." Shatnar said. He was surprised. He'd gotten the distinct impression that Bermhan didn't like him very much over the centuries, but he truly did sound sorry. "It's no problem. Just try not to... do it again, all right?"
"Of course." Bermhan said, smiling genuinely. "I'll just leave Mr. Saotome to you from now on, all right?"
Shatnar nodded, and turned to go. "Thanks." He said, and walked out the door, pulling it closed behind him.
"Oh, no thanks are necessary." Bermhan said, before starting to laugh with manic glee.