SMSTSS 23: The Return of the Starblazer! – By DS Wynne
Disclaimer: SM, R1/2, ST, SW and other properties belong to their respective owners.
Note: This is a multi-genre, two-part story…now extended to a third part.
Two Days Later: Starbase One.
"Well, young lady, your physical is complete," said Dr. Sane said. Sane, a balding, stout, older man, had served aboard the Space Battleship Yamato 17 years ago on the mission to stop the attacks by the Gamalons, and it was only with the help of Queen Stasha of Iscandar (a neighboring planet) that such a mission was made possible. After all, neither Earth nor the United Federation of Planets had access to the technology that could allow a trip to the Andromeda Galaxy Cluster, within one solar year, possible. Since then, starship technology was revolutionized, which made mass colonization efforts possible, and definitely gave the Federation an edge on a military basis, much to the chagrin of the Romulans and the Klingons, for instance...
"Thank you, doctor," Usagi said with a smile, as she pets Dr. Sane's calico cat. "You know, I'm very impressed with you."
"Oh?" Dr. Sane asked, as he puts away Usagi's medical charts.
"Well, yes. You conducted yourself like a proper professional instead of a drunk, perverted old man…like you did the last time we served together."
"Please," Dr. Sane said with indignantly. "There is a time and place for everything, and I like to consider myself a professional…most of the time at least."
"Oh, and I have the test results for your…pregnancy."
"Am I…pregnant?" Usagi asked with hesitancy. "I mean, I used a home kit to find out and all…"
"Well, congratulations are in order," Dr. Sane said with a broad smile. "And, you won't have to worry about a miscarriage this time."
"Oh, thank goodness," Usagi said, as tears began to brim in her eyes. "It's just that my altered DNA made it difficult to become pregnant to begin with, and when I did, I lost my babies."
"Well, thank you friend Dr. Bulma Briefs," Dr. Sane said. "She was able to create a procedure that stabilizes the mitosis process during fertilization."
"Well, I have her to thank for," Usagi said with a smile. "I'll definitely thank her the next time I see her in person."
"But can I participate on the mission?"
"Sure," Dr. Sane said. "But be sure to consult with Dr. Miharu Sasaki on a regular basis during your mission."
"Who?" Usagi asked.
"Oh, she's my replacement for the mission," Dr. Sane said. "I'm too old to go off gallivanting across the galaxy, you know."
"In other words, the Medical Board got on your case for conduct unbecoming of a medical practitioner, eh?"
Just then, a knock on the door could be heard.
"Yes?" Dr. Sane asked, as he looked up.
"Is Usagi decent?" Ranma said through the door.
Usagi nods her head in reply.
"Come in," Dr. Sane said, as he jotted down some notes.
Ranma enters the private room.
"Well, does all the part match?" Ranma said with a grin. "I don't want to be with someone who is actually a guy, you know."
"Oh, be quiet," Usagi said dismissively. "Just because I have xenomorphic tendencies, that doesn't mean I will become a guy in order to propagate my species, as a survival mechanism."
"Actually, you could reproduce asexually, as well as impregnate females through parthenogenesis, if you desire."
"See?" Ranma said. "I was right."
"How is that even possible?" Usagi asked.
"Have you and Ranma engage in 'relations' while Ranma was in his…other guise?" Dr. Sane asked.
"Sometimes," Usagi said with a blush. "It's just that back when we first got together, we couldn't…'do it' the normal way, do to my acidic blood. So, we improvised."
"Hey, it's all good, right Doc?" Ranma said.
"Perhaps, but it could explain why Usagi was having difficulty getting pregnant. Her body couldn't decide if it was male or female, hence the problems with mitosis, and hence the miscarriages."
"But it's alright, now, correct?" Usagi asked.
"Yes. You and Ranma have had a heterosexual coupling long enough to give your body the right signals to definitely get pregnant safely."
"What?" Ranma said in surprise. He then looks at his wife.
"It's true, Usa?"
"Yes," Usagi said happily. "We're having a baby!"
Ranma grins, as he hugs his wife.
"I'm proud of you, Usa," Ranma said.
"I'm proud of us, Ran," Usagi replied.
"I'll leave you two alone," Dr. Sane said with a smile, as he gathers his things. "Just remember to check in with the ship's doctor on a regular basis, and you'll be fine."
And, with that, Dr. Sane leaves the couple alone.
Hours later: Isle of Aquarius.
The Isle of Aquarius was not a natural phenomenon, as it orbited the Earth. Its existence was the result of the Space Cruiser Yamato's destruction, as it prevented the planet Aquarius from flooding the Earth, after it warped into close proximity with the planet. It was also the final resting place of the Space Battleship Yamato, or so Ranma and Usagi thought.
"So, you brought back the ship, Sandor?" Ranma said, as he surveys the ship from the observation deck within the Isle of Aquarius. The Space Cruiser Yamato looked exactly as it did, nearly twenty years ago, when the Gammalon Empire attacked the Earth over a prediction that the Earth would be responsible for the demise of the empire. Ironically, by attacking Earth, that prediction proved to be true…
"We couldn't let the ship not be reduced to nothing, after Captain Avatar's sacrifice," said Dr. Sandor, who was now a science advisor to Earth Dome, as well as a member of the Federation's Science Affairs Council. "Originally, it was rebuilt as a memorial to the sacrifice of Captain Akita Avatar and others. But now…I would say that its 'resurrection' is more appropriate than ever."
"Besides, we will need to have a ship that is not identified as being a part of Starfleet," Nabiki Kuno said. "Since the Yamato and the rest of your escort fleet are technically 'Earth Force', your mission will solely be escort Earth ships."
"So, the mission is to escort the colonial fleet to the Cygnus Star Group," Ranma said. "And nothing more?"
"That's about it," Sandor said. "The Twelve Colonies of Cobol and the Cylons have both agreed to allow Earth to relocate to the Terra Prime, Cobol Prime and the Cygnus Prime star systems, as a way of thanking Earth for mediating their unfortunate dispute nearly two-hundred and fifty years ago."
"I don't think the Cylons nearly committing acts of genocide against the Cobolians a mere 'dispute'," Ranma said.
"Nevertheless, they say that because of Earth, peace between man and machine was achieved," Nabiki said, neglecting to mention the secret files that documented a version of Ranma and Usagi being instrumental in that peace agreement. "Your job, as well as the job of Usagi and some of your colleagues from your old crew, is to escort our colonists to their new homes. If we can't figure out how to stop the cascading black hole from reaching Earth, at least Earth's legacy is assured."
"And if we find out who is behind these attacks?"
"Then you are authorized to do whatever it takes to neutralize the source of the attacks," Sandor said. "And don't worry about the blowback. You have full authorization from both Earth Dome and the Federation Council to do what it takes to succeed in this mission."
"In other words, you have 'Omega Level' clearance," Nabiki said with a smirk. "So, don't blow it."
"Hey, with me at the helm, I'll make sure that I will succeed," Ranma said.
"That's good, because we're putting Kodai Wildstar in charge," Sandor said, as he folds his arms. "Remember?"
Meanwhile, below deck of the Yamato…
"So, you're my new Navigation Crew?" Usagi asked, as she faced a group of fresh faced operators. The Yamato's Navigation Bay was located underneath the Yamato itself, and was patterned after the Astrometrics Room, giving the station a full 360 degrees of spatial monitoring.
"Yes, ma'am!" said a young blond girl named Ensign Maho Orihara. "I and the rest of your Navigation Crew will do our best to follow your directives."
"Well, that's good to know," Usagi said.
"But I must say that I've followed your career extensively," Maho said.
"Yes," Maho said enthusiastically. "I recall reading the 'Tsukino Maneuver', and, well, what you pulled off to outflank the Gammalon fleet at the 'Battle of the Rainbow Planets' is nothing short of amazing."
"Well, I wouldn't have been able to pull it off had it not been for the well-oiled crew that I served with," Usagi said. "But, if things go well, this mission will be routine."
"One can only hope ma'am…"
And so, with the new crew assembled, and with the launch of both the escort fleet and the fleet of colonial ship, it was time to get underway with the mission.
"Just like old times, eh?" Ranma said, as he slips on his 'driving gloves'.
"Yeah, accept that, hopefully, you're a better 'First Officer' than a pilot," Kodai said with a smirk.
"Ha, ha, very funny. Just because you beat my score by ONE point…"
"Sir," communications officer Ryohei Nakanishi said, as he turned towards Captain Kodai Wildstar. "Fleet is ready and is holding station."
"Synchronization of fleet has been initiated," Usagi said. "Course vector has been laid."
"Engines are running hot," said chief engineer Tasuke Tokugawa, who replaced his father as the new chief engineer for the Yamato.
"Good," Kodai said, as he leaned back in his seat. "Prepare to launch on my mark…"
"Launching, sir," Ranma said, as he pulls up the Pilot's Steering column.
With a crack of the surface ice, the Space Cruiser Yamato blasts off into space. It begins to pick up speed, as it races away to join the assembled colonial fleet and its escort.
Back on Earth, Nabiki and Sandor watched as the USS Yamato leave Aquarius Station.
"Do you think Kodai Wildstar has what it takes to lead the crew?" Nabiki asked, as she turned towards her colleague.
"He is as competent as ever, and won't take what happened to Yuki personally," Sandor said. "But, I am curious as to why you didn't recommend Ranma or Usagi to take command of the Yamato."
"Because, my dear, either those two may have to do things that I doubt the Federation or Earth Dome would approve of, as you well know," Nabiki said. "If all goes well, it's because Usagi was able to sue for peace between us, and whatever is attacking us."
"And if not, you have someone like Ranma who, if engaged in combat, will not lose to an enemy," Sandor said with a nod. "Still, that is a high gamble you are taking with those two."
"Considering what is bearing down on Earth, all options are on the table," Nabiki said. "And if Earth goes, so does the United Federation of Planets."
A short time later…
"In conclusion, the astronomic phenomenon that is the cascade black hole, is being generated from within the 'hub' of the Milky Way Galaxy," said chief science officer Kosaku Omaru, as a holographic display of the galaxy and the phenomenon appeared in the general assembly room, where all the department heads and staff were debriefed. Kosaku had been Kodai first officer from Kodai previous assignment, before being recalled back to Earth for reassignment.
"Unfortunately, we have been unable to determine the cause, due to the fact that the mysterious enemy fleet has neutralized our probes."
"Usagi, do you have anything to add?" Kodai asked.
"Yes, unfortunately," Usagi said, as she redirected Maho to change the galactic overlays. "From our previous encounters with the enemy fleet, the ships always attack where there is a concentration of solar activity, from these clusters of stars."
"A natural screening mechanism, perhaps?" Ranma said.
"Precisely. We didn't detect any ships because of this natural phenomenon. Normally, if an active cloak is being utilized, we could at least detect increase radiation in the area."
"Is there a way to counter this effect?" Kodai asked.
"My staff and I have already begun to modify our sensor network."
"Good," Kodai said, as he turned towards Usagi. "Anything to add?"
"Yes," Usagi said, as she directs Maho to change the overlay of the projection.
"We could use this black hole here to redirect our trajectory," Usagi said, as a holographic image of a black hole appears. "It's a risky procedure, but if successfully employed, the entire fleet will avoid being attacked whenever we reach this point…"
The screen changes to a point in space where the attacks on Earth ships have occurred.
"Maho has already done the initial calculations, but the plan seems doable."
"But that would take us into unknown territory," Ranma said.
"Only the outskirts, Ranma," Usagi said. "And I am sure that we could compensate for this eventuality."
"Interesting," Kodai replied. He thinks for a moment…
"I will consider Usagi's suggestion, but only after Kosaku confirms his findings onsite. After all, I want to be very meticulous about all this…"
Sure enough, after a complete sensor sweep has been made along the path of the trip to the Cygnus Star Group, Kosaku did confirm that the colonial fleet was going to be ambushed yet again, so Usagi's alternative was approved…
"We're in position now, ma'am," Maho said, as the Navigation Chamber had the used a mapping overlay over the sensor data while using live footage of the black hole that was before the fleet.
"Alright," Usagi said, as she began her calculations. "If these numbers pan out, then we can use the gravity of the black hole to create a natural sling shot effect that will automatically propel a ship into warped space. But the trick is to avoid getting caught up in the event horizon before then."
"Ma'am, I read a theory that using the mass of a star could propel a ship fast enough to travel through Time," Maho said.
"That, I would like to see," Usagi scoffed, not realizing that under the command of the Federation's Captain James T. Kirk, she and her crew would learn to harness the mass of a dying star to propel their ship through Time after all…
"Captain, we're ready to proceed," Usagi said. She then noticed an unusual blip on her screens. "Sir, get Radar on the horn. I think we're about to get company, and I can't confirm it."
Up on the Main Bridge, Radar confirms that the enemy fleet is on approach, apparently suspecting the colonial fleet's intentions.
"So, it looks like reports of an assemblage of enemy vessels from a mixed source is true," Ranma said.
"Then we must protect the colonists," Kodai said. "Inform the escort fleet of our situation, so that the colonists can remain protected. We will hold station to make sure that Usagi's plan goes off within a hitch. In the mean time…BATTLE STATIONS."
"Aye," Ranma said. He then turned towards the young crew. "You heard the man. Move it!"
"Aye, sir!" said the crew.
Within minutes, the escort fleet and various fighter squadrons was primed and ready to counter the enemy fleet.
"Launch forward defensive screens," Kodai commanded.
"Aye, sir," said Tactical, as he launched torpedoes that, when detonated, created a magnetic barrier that block counter missile strikes, as well as distort energy disruptors. The exchange of firepower between the two fleets was nothing short of epic, as ship went after ship, and fighter went fighter. However, a few enemy vessels did manage break through the Yamato's defensive line.
"Kodai, three of the unknown ships are on a direct intercept to the colonial fleet," Usagi said.
"Got it," Kodai said. He then glances over towards Ranma.
"Ranma, get us between them and the colonists," Kodai said. "Tactical, launch the heavy bombers."
"Yes, sir!" Ranma and Tactical said, as they executed Kodai's orders.
As Ranma maneuvered the Yamato closer to the black hole, the bombers were launched. They successfully foiled the attempt to destroy the colonial fleet.
"The last of the colonists have escaped," Usagi said.
"Com-Spec: order the escort fleet to follow the colonies to the secondary rendezvous site," Kodai said. "And recall our fighters."
"That would mean that we would be the primary target by holding the line," Ranma said.
"You have the problem with that?"
"Nope," Ranma said with a mischievous grin. "It just means we can take the fight directly to the enemy fleet."
"You would think that, Ranma."
"Hey, I am a martial artist, you know."
"Humph. Alright, maneuver us between our fleet and that fleet, and let's see if we can take some heat for our boys and girls, and just hope that our 'ablative armor' can take the pounding…"
With that, the Space Cruiser Yamato maneuvers itself to protect the last ship of the escort fleet, since it had been damaged during the exchange of firepower. Curiously, because of this, something unexpected happened…
"Sir, we're getting a hailing frequency from one of the command ships," Com-Ops said in surprise.
"Interesting," Koraku said, as he reads the un-translated text. "It appears that the person hailing us is a humanoid."
"Huh," Ranma said. "Imagine that."
"Open hailing frequencies," Kodai directed.
The main screen changes to that of a powerful, middle-aged man with white hair and a white beard.
"I am Admiral Gorui, of the SUS Empire," the man said. "Who is your commanding officer?"
All eyes turned towards Kodai.
"I am Kodai Wildstar, captain of the USS Yamato, and commander of the Earth Escort Fleet," Kodai said.
"Ah, I see," Gorui said with a nod. "You appear young to take on such an undertaking."
"That's because many of my comrades have been killed by you," Kodai said. "Which brings me to my pertinent question: why has the SUS Empire attacked Earth? We have done nothing to provoke you ire, and are trying to find a new home for our people, in light of an impending tragedy."
"We believe that your presence in our part of the galaxy is a threat to our interest," Gorui said.
"So, you attacked us, rather than send a diplomatic team to discuss the situation rationally? I lost my wife over this, when your fleet attacked her command."
Usagi sighed, as she recalled her friendship with Yuki Nova, one of the original members of the Yamato crew…
"You have my sympathies," Gorui said, as he looks away, before returning his steely gaze at Kodai. "I admire your bravery, but know this: if you continue this journey, you and your people will meet an unfortunate end."
There was a pregnant pause…
"Then if that is Earth's fate, we will look into the abyss with pride," Kodai said. "However, I am authorized to extend to you and your leaders this: Earth's doors are open to negotiation for peace."
"I will…keep that in mind," said Gouri. "Gouri: out!"
With that, channels are closed between the Yamato and the enemy fleet.
"That…went well," Ranma said.
"It's better than nothing," Kodai said, as he sits back down. "Usagi: plot a vector to rendezvous with the fleet."
"Aye, sir," Usagi replied, as she complied with the order. She could help but wonder if there was something strange going on underneath the surface…
"Ma'am?" Maho said.
"Sorry," Usagi said, as she executed her orders. "I'm just wondering if and when the real culprit behind these troubles will show up…"
And, with that, the space cruiser Yamato warps off.