For Persona related info: wiki/Megami_Tensei_Wiki

For Star Trek related info: /wiki/Portal:Main

For a possible year 2378 calendar: /calendar/?year=2378&country=26

Hey everyone, how's it going?

Yeah, I know, it's been way too long since I've updated. I honestly lost interest and inspiration for this story as other things took up my time. Now I'm back to writing and hopefully, I'll get back to my monthly update schedule.

Anyway, on to Hard Knocks at Starfleet Academy.


Friday, May 26, 2378

"Ah, am I ever glad that exams are over!" Eiji said, stretching his arms.

"Yeah so you can stop failing them as usual," Midori sniped.

"Hey! I don't fail all my exams!"

Minako could only giggle as her two friends argued per usual. She had to agree with the brunet male though; the mid-terms were a bit hard and she was glad they were over. Not that she had much to worry about since she studied very well.

"Anyway," Eiji said, "are you excited for next week?"

"Huh? What's happening next week?" the heiress asked.

"Earth to Minako, did you study so much that you forgot that we have that big class trip next week?" Midori said.

"Oh, THAT trip…," she replied in a dull tone.

"What do you mean 'THAT trip'? It's the most exciting trip of the year!" Eiji exclaimed.

The trip in question was for all the first students and the student council to visit Starfleet Academy. It gave them the chance to look around and to learn what they needed to know to enroll in Starfleet. Minako was not particularly enthusiastic about it however. She already knew what she wanted to do for her career and this trip felt unnecessary to her. She also had her fill of space from her time as the Great Seal. Unfortunately, she did not have much of a choice in the matter and, except for the last part, said as much to her friends.

"Oh, c'mon! Anytime away from school is good enough reason to be glad for a trip, even if it is to another school," Eiji said.

"I'd have to agree with him on that," Midori said. "Loosen up a bit. It could be fun."

Minako could only shrug.


Friday, June 2, 2378

Misery loved company apparently, Minako thought. She was not the only one who was not happy about this trip. As vice-president of the student council, Kyo also had to attend against his will. Considering what happened to his parents, it was understandable how he felt. It would probably have been unbearable for him to be there if it were not for Miki.

Shaking those thoughts out of her head, she turned her attention towards the Starfleet liaison.

"Hello, I'm Commander Martin Madden and welcome to Starfleet Academy. I apologize for any inconveniences as it has obviously been a very busy time as of late with the sudden return of the starship Voyager."

Voyager, as Minako recalled, was a Federation starship that disappeared seven years ago while investigating a faction of Starfleet dissidents called the Maquis. In reality, they were forcibly transported 70,000 light years away in the Delta Quadrant. When they were finally able to contact Earth two years later, considerable resources were allocated to aid their return home. That aid was stymied by the war with the Dominion, but then was increased once the war was over. Then just earlier in the week, Voyager suddenly returned, ending their long and arduous journey.

"Anyway," Cmdr. Madden continued, "please enjoy the tour."

As the whole crowd dispersed, Minako and her friends remained.

"Can't say I'm too surprised about the hustle and bustle," Miki said, "what with Voyager's sudden reappearance and all."

"Yeah, I hope we can tour Voyager or at least meet the crew," Eiji said.

"I highly doubt that," Kyo said. "The ship probably needs downtime for inspections, while the crew gets debriefed. Those are gonna take a very long time to finish."

"Still, wishful thinking."

"Anyway, what's on the agenda right now?" asked Midori.

"Well, since Voyager's return threw everybody off schedule, we have roughly 45 minutes to kill before the first session," answered Miki.

"So let's look around for a bit until then," said Eiji.

"Agreed," added Midori.

"I didn't get much sleep last night," said Minako. Stupid excitable Personas, she thought as they laughed at her. "I'm just gonna stay here in the garden."

"Okay, Mina-chan. See ya later."

After they left, Minako took a seat at a nearby park bench underneath a tree. She did not want to walk around yet not just because of the lack of sleep, but also because of something she saw in the garden almost as soon as she got there. She was staring at it now as she sat on the bench; it was a bed of chrysanthemums.

Smiling a little, a happy memory of Shinjiro came to mind. After they started dating, he surprised her with a bouquet full of those flowers. She never expected the normally gruff and aloof young man to produce such an overt romantic gesture and thus was thoroughly surprised. She had hoped to cook him a nice dinner as her gift, but that fateful day happened…

"Penny for your thoughts, young miss?" said a gruff, but kind sounding voice.

"Huh?" Minako looked up to see an elderly Caucasian man wearing a white sweatshirt and brown overalls holding a few chrysanthemums in his hand.

"You were staring at these flowers. They're special to you, aren't they?"

"Uh… yeah…" Minako stuttered, blushing.

"Here, take a few," the man responded, handing them to her.

"Um… thank you, mister…?"

"The name's Boothby, master gardener and groundskeeper of Starfleet Academy," he answered, holding out a hand.

"Setamagi Minako… I mean, Minako Setamagi," the heiress said, accepting the handshake. "Please, have a seat."

"Don't mind if I do," he said as he sat down. "Setamagi…. Ah, you're that young martial arts champion girl that everybody keeps talking about."

"What? Everybody?" she said, exasperated.

"Well, maybe not everybody, but I hear your name a lot from a few people," he chuckled. "Hehe, I seem to always attract the famous ones."

"Huh?"

"A lot of cadets come to me for advice when their instructors can't. One of those was a young Jean-Luc Picard."

"Captain of the Enterprise?"

"The same. Brash, cocky, arrogant young man as I recall. And now he's the captain of Starfleet's flagship."

"Really…"

"Another one, Kathryn Janeway."

Minako's eyes nearly bugged out. "From Voyager?"

"Yep. I brought her fresh roses every day when she was at Starfleet. Now I hear she's gonna be promoted to rear-admiral."

"Interesting…"

The old man laughed. "I tell you two stories of famous captains and all you say is 'interesting'?" Anyway, I bet you'll have a great career in Starfleet."

Minako looked down after he said that. "Actually, I'm not planning to join Starfleet. I'm gonna take over my family's inn and hot springs."

"Ah. Well, it doesn't matter. I still expect a great many things from you, young lady."

She looked at him wide-eyed. "Um, you're not disappointed I'm not joining?"

"Why should I be? If your heart is already set on a goal, a good and honourable one, who am I to argue? Well, I'll be seeing you, young lady." Boothby then stood up, bowed and walked away.

Minako could only stare as the old man left, pondering his kind words.


"Classroom after classroom after classroom… isn't there more to this trip?" Eiji whined. "Like touring San Francisco or something?"

"Your fault for thinking it was gonna be more than a social studies excursion," Minako chided instead of Midori for a change. "Why do you think I didn't care for this trip?"

"I thought it was just because you're so dead set at taking over your inn that this trip would be boring to you," Midori said. "I guess we got too excited…"

Miki laughed. "Believe it or not, I was the same way, so energetic about the trip and then downtrodden at what it really was."

"I remember how mad you were when you got back home," Kyo said dryly.

"At any rate," she said, ignoring the jibe, "it's still a good learning experience."

It was currently lunchtime for all the schools involved in the excursion. The five of them had a table for themselves in the academy's cafeteria. Looking around, Minako saw quite a few different aliens such as Vulcans and Bolians. One particular youngish female Vulcan seemed to keep an eye at the heiress, who found it a little unnerving but ignored it for the most part. As she returned to the conversation at hand, a man's voice spoke up.

"Sorry to interrupt. May we speak with Setamagi-san, please?" he said.

That voice!, Minako thought. She immediately turned her head and her jaw dropped at the sight of a couple of Starfleet officers grinning at her. With great zeal, she got up and gave them both a huge hug. "Shiro-kun, Auntie, what are you doing here? I thought you were on another mission!"

"Came to see you, of course!" her aunt said. "You think we weren't going to come back home when you visit Starfleet Academy?"

"Um…" Miki uttered.

"Oh excuse us," said the woman. "I'm Lieutenant Commander Mana Dojima and this is Lieutenant Shiro Tatsumi."

"Auntie?" Midori said.

"Tatsumi as in…" Eiji said

"Hideo's older brother," answered Shiro.

"And we're distant relatives," replied Dojima.

"Mina-chan, you never told us you had family in Starfleet!" complained Midori.

"I never thought it needed mentioning. It wasn't like I was expecting them to be here," replied Minako.

"Anyway, if you don't mind, we like to talk to my niece in private," said Dojima.

"I'll be right back, guys," the heiress said to her friends, whom responded with nods.

She, Shiro and Dojima walked out of the cafeteria. Once they had left, she turned around and hugged the heck out of the both of them.

"Miss us that much, huh?" Shiro joked.

"Of course!" Minako said with a little pout.

"So how've you been?" Dojima asked.

"I've been good, Auntie."

"Really… that's not what Hideo tells me," said Shiro.

Minako looked down sheepishly. "He told you about that?"

"He and your parents," said Dojima. "When we told them that we'd be coming home for a while, they told us the whole story."

"So what really happened?" Shiro asked.

"It's whatever they said. I got angry with a guy for insulting me and my friends. They in turn broke the rules at the inn and got punished for it," Minako said succinctly.

"There's nothing more to it than that besides a temper tantrum?"

Minako winced. "Not really."

"You're not very convincing, you know that?" Dojima stated.

Minako did not respond, believing they would not understand her actual issues. Instead, she decided to deflect by asking them a question. "So what really brings you back home?"

If he noticed the deflection, Shiro did not show it. "Debriefing for a new mission. Top secret. Not for civilian ears."

"Of course…" said the heiress, rolling her eyes.

"The other thing being, you get any voices in your head?"

"Huh?"

"Oh don't play coy. We mean…" Dojima was about to say until…

"WHAT IS THE USE OF THIS POINTLESS VENTURE!?" a male guttural voice shouted.

"To learn about other cultures…" answered a softer male voice.

The three turned around to see a couple of young Klingon men walk passed them. The taller of the two, at 178cm, was the one making the commotion.

"What can I learn from puny humans?!" shouted the taller one.

"You'd be surprised…," said the other.

Minako exchanged puzzled glances with Shiro and Dojima, wondering what that was all about. A grunt and a sigh from elsewhere would answer their question.

"I had a feeling it had to be him causing the noise," a deep male voice said from behind.

The three turned around to see Ms. Ite and another, yet older Klingon. Unlike the other two who wore Klingon armour, this one wore a Starfleet uniform, the only one ever to do so.

"Lt. Cmdr. Worf," said Dojima. "I heard you would be here. How are things going in the Klingon Empire?"

"Lt. Cmdr. Dojima, Lt. Tatsumi," he said with a nod, before continuing. "They've been very good so far. Chancellor Martok is still easing into his role, but he's adapted to the politics involved."

"Just as well. He won't let the power go to his head," said Shiro.

"Agreed," said Worf. Turning his attention to Minako, he asked, "Is this your niece you keep speaking of, Dojima?"

As Minako blushed a little, her aunt answered, "Yes it is. Cmdr. Worf, meet Minako Setamagi, heiress to the Amagi Inn and martial arts champion. Minako, this is Lt. Cmdr. Worf, former tactical officer to Captains Jean-Luc Picard and Benjamin Sisko, and current Starfleet ambassador to the Klingon Empire."

"Auntie, I wish you didn't embellish so much," whined Minako, still blushing.

"Oh, c'mon. That's what good aunties do."

Worf just grinned, making Shiro speak up. "Minako, it's a rarity for Cmdr. Worf to grin so make the most of it."

"He's right," added Ms. Ite.

"Ite-sensei, how do you know Cmdr. Worf?" asked Minako, slightly puzzled.

Worf grunted a little. "Let's just say she's had a few run-ins with my son when he was living on Earth."

"Ah…"

"So Cmdr.," said Dojima, "what brings you here all the way from the Klingon Empire? Needing a vacation?"

"You could say that. I wasn't planning to come back till Cmdr. Riker and Councillor Troi's wedding in a month, but Alexander insisted on visiting my adoptive parents." A loud guttural growl made Worf wince. "Unfortunately, we've also been tasked with taking care of Chancellor Marok's nephew."

"I take it he would be the one making the noise?" asked Shiro, looking towards the cafeteria.

"Yes, that would be D'ghor," Worf groaned. "Martok wants to know why his nephew has … a disagreement regarding humans and any questions he has ask have been met with silence. He thought that a trip to Earth would enlighten him a bit." More growls were heard. "Obviously, that hasn't been the case."

"And based on the slurs, I'd say it's more than just a disagreement," Shiro said wryly.

Minako was about to say something until she heard Eiji's voice and looked back into the cafeteria. Once she noticed that D'ghor was picking on him and that her friend's temper making him argue back, she knew this was going to get ugly. She turned back to Lt. Cmdr Worf and said, "Cmdr. Worf, correct me if I'm wrong, but when challenging a Klingon, one should not use a backfist."

"Not unless you want to fight to the death. Why did you want to know…?!" Worf began to say before Minako started walking towards the cafeteria.

"Minako-chan, what are you doing?" Dojima shouted, following her.

"Planning to shut him up," she replied, walking towards her target.

She had just witnessed the normally reserved Kyo stand up for his underclassmen and was pushed to the ground for his troubles by D'ghor. Eiji jumped the Klingon in retaliation, but was also thrown to the ground. Miki and Midori stayed out of the way, while Alexander tried to subdue his brethren to no avail as he was also easily thrown to the ground.

D'ghor snarled as two Starfleet security officers armed with phasers entered the picture. "Is this all you puny humans can do? Weaklings so used to phasers that you can't fight." He felt a light tap on his shoulder, turned around and saw the young auburn haired girl standing in front of him. "And what are you going to do little girl? Talk me down?"

"No, this!" Minako shouted before uppercutting the Klingon. The blow was hard enough to stagger him into and over the table that her friends were sitting, making them scatter. She winced and wiggled at the ensuing pain from hitting denser Klingon bones barehanded.

"You really think humans are that weak? I don't see how honourable it is for a Klingon to pick on a supposedly weaker being, you petaQ!" she shouted, glaring at the downed Klingon.

Everybody on hand was shocked at what she just did, even moreso in uttering a harsh Klingon curse word; however, they were even more surprised when D'ghor just roared with laughter. "You really think you can take me on, little girl?"

Worf answered for her. "I would not discount her just yet. She is a martial arts champion."

D'ghor laughed more as he stood up. "Really, her? This should be interesting. Come, girl, let's fight!"

Minako glared intensely at him before shouting, "Where's the closest holodeck?"


"Are you sure about this?" Miki and Amaterasu asked simultaneously.

"Yeah, I'm sure," Minako quickly said as practically everyone from the cafeteria headed to the closest holodeck.

"But he's so much stronger and bigger than you," said Midori and Eurydice.

"I've beaten opponents stronger and bigger than me before."

"Not a Klingon though," added Eiji and Ryoji.

"Doesn't matter if he's human, Klingon, Vulcan or whatever."

"This is probably the one time you need our help and we can't," said Izanagi.

Hasn't stopped me before, she thought. It was true that since her rebirth, she had not been able to utilize her Personae in any way, whether it be evoking them into the real world or equip them for their strength. And she never wanted nor needed to use their power as she felt it was unfair to use such hidden abilities during competitions. Likewise, she mandated to her Personae to keep silent during matches.

"You really think he won't listen to reason?" asked Kyo.

"Not at all," Minako said. "He strikes me as a stubborn warrior wannabe who'll only listen after getting some sense beaten into him.

"Martok said the same thing, actually," said Worf.

"Besides, actions speak louder than words. If he thinks humans only talk and use phasers, then I'm gonna give him one heck of a rude awakening."

By then, everyone reached the holodeck. Minako, D'ghor and Worf entered, leaving everybody else to watch via the viewscreens outside.

Worf then shouted a few commands. "Computer, load standard Klingon cave training area." The computer acknowledged and changed the black walls and yellow grid for a cave-like setting with plenty of candles strewn about.

D'ghor shouted the next command. "Computer, load standard Klingon bat'leth, 116 cm in length." The computer then produced into his hands an intricate weapon made of two crescent blades of differing lengths connected together in three spots, creating three handholds for the user to wield it.

Minako shouted the next set of commands. "Computer, first access database in country Japan, town Inaba, Setamagi naginata 01." The computer did as told and into her hands materialized a naginata with a 30 cm curved blade attached to a 120 cm long wooden shaft.

"Secondly," she continued, "load a standard katana, 91 cm in length, appear in Lt. Cmdr. Worf hand." Much to his shock, Worf found said Japanese sword appear before him.

"Third," Minako started, but D'ghor interrupted her.

"Computer, load a standard Klingon battle sword into the other hand of Worf," he commanded. Both he and Worf had understood what she had in mind.

"Anything else?" D'ghor snorted.

Worf answered that question. "Computer, holodeck safeties off." It acknowledged while the two combatants traded steely-eyed stares. "Weapons ready, and BEGIN!"

The two fighters started by circling each other and gauging each other's defences. Despite the mutual dislike, both were hesitant to swing the first blow. Eventually, they both coincidentally decided to throw caution to the wind and attack with two-handed overhead slashes.

Minako followed up by pivoting the blade end to swing the blunt end at D'ghor. In turn, he switched handholds before blocking and pushing the attack away with the middle of his weapon. He then had to raise the left side to block another slash with her blade end before pushing her away harder and making her spin counter clockwise into another battle stance.

She changed stances with the blade end of her weapon forward, left hand on the middle of the shaft and right hand closer to the blunt end. He twirled his weapon, switching hands and readying to strike.

Instead of waiting, she started poking at him. He easily swatted them away, but looked quite frustrated at how fast she was able to do that. Eventually he was swatted her away clockwise and followed with an overhead diagonal slash. She used the momentum of the spin to block it, but he followed up with a shoulder smash and a kick that made her roll on the floor. He intended to slash her when she was down, but she jabbed in the stomach with the naginata's butt end.

Minako then stood up with an uppercut slash that D'ghor deftly dodged. He answered with a horizontal slash she ducked. They then started twirling their weapons at each other, the ends clashing and clanging. After a few moments, they both realized that they were getting nowhere and promptly broke off to catch their breaths.

The heiress stretched her arms and shoulders trying to relieve any kinks she felt. She was surprised at how calm her opponent was, in spite of the immense anger he showed earlier. She was about to voice that thought, but he beat her to it.

"You fight well, little girl. I may have underestimated you," said D'ghor, showing some begrudging respect.

"You also fight very well, Mr. Klingon," Minako said. "I wasn't expecting you to be so calm after your outburst earlier.

The next few exchanges left everybody on edge. The battle had been fiercer than before as each combatant sported a few visible cuts and bruises. Minako's friends looked each other with the same worried expressions on their face; on the other hand, Ms. Ite kept her face unnaturally even.

Although she did not show it, Minako was just as worried as her friends were. As she blocked and countered one of D'ghor's slashes, she realized his strength was much greater than anybody else she had faced. Each blow she blocked took a lot out of her, making her wonder for the first time in a long time if she was way in over her head.

The next exchange brought about the biggest break in the action. Literally! D'ghor's latest combo forced her to block another overhead slash with the shaft of her naginata and it split in half! The heiress, surprise very evident on her face, was barely able to compose herself enough to roll backward to dodge the next slash and recover into a ready position.

D'ghor grinned, thinking that the little girl will break like her bothersome weapon. He held his laughter as he saw her hold up both pieces of said weapon, blade end in her right hand and blunt end in her left. He lazily threw a counter-clockwise swing at her, which surprisingly blocked with her blade end. Simultaneously, he growled as he first felt a dull pain from the blunt end hitting right knee and then secondly a kick to his left knee that staggered him back. Undaunted but angry, he attacked overhead, but she blocked with the blunt end and cut his left arm with the blade end. The next exchanges made him back off completely as he earned a couple of more bruises and cuts without hitting her once. He had a befuddled yet very angry look on his face, with a hint of wonder as to how to break her defences.

In reality, Minako was very unsure of her current situation, but did not show it. She had not practised dual wielding either eskrima sticks or short swords in a very long time (not after a very embarrassing incident where one of those sticks slipped out of her hands and nearly hit her sensei). However, she intended on capitalizing on his bewildered state. That she did as her two pronged attack kept him at bay. While the bruises and frustration mounted on D'ghor face, her increased confidence shone on hers.

Suddenly, after a stab attempt with the blunt end, D'ghor somehow snagged it with the middle hold and handhold of this bat'leth. He tried to disarmed it from her, she countered by snagging the blade end in the same hole. The ensuing struggle for control became and extremely dangerous for Minako as she had to worry about both pointy ends of the signature Klingon weapon AND the broken ends of her naginata; D'ghor only had to deal with the handhold of his weapon. Therefore, she quickly kneed him in the gut, which made him stagger back, and then threw both weapons down a cave corridor. He was about to run and get back his weapon, but he had to block a roundhouse kick from her.

The two stood arms raised, ready to attack. He growled at her, which she returned with a death glare. Just as they were about to go at it again, a guttural noise caught their attention. They turned to see Worf holding up their other swords.

As they unsheathed those swords, Minako asked a nagging question, "Why do you hate humans so much?"

D'ghor snarled, "Like I'd ever tell you, hoo-MON!"

"I don't want to keep to fighting if this is some stupid misunderstanding."

"A stupid misunderstanding? You'll never understand a Klingon!" he growled, while slashing downward at her. She barely parried it and dodged the ensuing slashes. She then countered an overhead slash attempt with one across his body. He barely stepped backward to avoid, but his armour was sliced across.

As they clashed once more, Minako's friends watched with ever-increasing anxiety.

"C'mon, Mina-chan!" Eiji shouted. "Beat that bully!"

Midori was not as enthused. "Oh, I can't watch. EEK, look out!" she shouted as he classmate ducked as high horizontal slash. She never liked this idea, moreso once the holodeck safeties were turned off.

"This is going too far," Miki added. "We need to stop this fight." Kyo nodded as that as the two fighters traded slashes and parries.

"No, don't," Shiro said. "She can beat him."

"Agreed. I believe in her," Dojima added, as her niece kicked D'ghor in the gut.

"You've gotta be kidding me! That how's you treat family, letting her get seriously hurt!?" Midori exclaimed, as the young Klingon backhanded her classmate to the ground and chopped at head, only to miss it and instead chopping a little of her long hair.

"Ms. Ite, we're going to stop this, right?" pleaded Miki.

"Actually, no, we aren't," Ms. Ite said.

"WHAT?!" her completely shocked students shouted.

"Ms. Ite, you want him to be taught a little lesson in humility, don't you?" asked Alexander.

"Indeed, same lessons I taught you," the raven-haired teacher replied. "Minako wanted this fight and I'm not going to go against her wishes. More importantly, I know she can win.

"Besides," she added, turning towards her students, "I told Worf to lock the door at his command only." She slightly grinned as their jaws dropped.

However, Minako was not as confident. The next few clashes once again made her question how good an idea it was to challenge an angry Klingon. It was getting increasingly harder to keep blocking his powerful blows. She knew that eventually her defences would fail and knew that he knew as well.

Just as she thought that, D'ghor's next slash knocked her katana out of her hands and it became lodged into a rock wall. Again, she quickly rolled backwards and then to the side to avoid the following slashes.

"You've lost, little girl. Stand down," D'ghor growled, leaving his sword by his side.

"No, I haven't. I'm not bowing down in surrender yet," she chided, wishing she had much more confidence in her words.

"Very well, so be it!" he growled as he took an uppercut swing at her.

There was a saying in Klingon culture that a Klingon can tell if another had the intent to kill just by the look of their eyes. Minako had seen that look and easily sidestepped the attack. As she dodged another couple of slashes and hit with a couple of quick punches, she knew she would not last any long longer and thus quickly formulated a plan.

She glanced back and forth between her weapon and her opponent, looking but not feeling anxious to get it back. She ducked and dodged to avoid his attacks while awaiting the right time to strike.

A few minutes later, Minako felt it was the right time. Although she was tired from all the dodging, D'ghor looked much worse. If the huffing and puffing were any indication, he tuckered himself out impatiently trying to finish the match.

She was an arm's length from her lodged katana and three arms' length from her opponent. She feigned to grab her katana, hoping to bait him to attack her arm instead of her body. He fell for it hook, line, and sinker, as she dropped her arm, twisted her body on her left heel and hit with a hard kick to his stomach.

The look on his face and him keeling over told her that he was reeling hard. That was when she noticed that here was blood on her right sock, making her realize that the slash that cut through his armor had also cut him as well. Pressing the advantage she now had, she immediately followed up with a jumping knee to his jaw that knocked him down to the ground. She would have pressed even further had her knee not sting like crazy and had he not instinctively though woozily swing his blade as a preventative tactic.

Instead, she limped towards her katana to pull it out. She tugged at it with a grunt, but got nothing out of it. Then she noticed that half the blade was deeply lodged into the wall and frantically kept pulling at it.

By then, D'ghor was crouching on his knees, still shaking the cobwebs out of his head. Then he noticed Minako's struggle with her sword and staggered up to his feet and after her.

As she noticed him rising up, she calmly took a deep breath, realizing her frantic struggle was getting her nowhere. She turned towards her charging opponent, waiting until he was within striking distance before taking one hard pull at her lodged sword.

Her ensuing downward slash must have been very strong. As it clashed with his downward slash, his sword was batted away to his right side. When he recovered and tried to retaliate, she followed with an equally strong backhand uppercut slash that batted his blade up but not out of his hands. Finally, she finished her modified naginata combo with a jump spinning downward blow to his high horizontal block, hoping to knock him down for good.

However, the unthinkable happened; as her katana clashed diagonally with his sword, the former's blade shattered completely!

Minako had no time to think about the near-impossibility of this happening; the ensuing shrapnel exploded everywhere, showering both her and D'ghor and even making Worf duck for cover. The shards that hit hurt like hell, though she was thanking the heavens that they did not pierce through her and hit any vital organs.

She felt like her energy had completely, until she noticed her opponent was fairing much worse than she was. Due to the trajectory of the shattered blade, most of the shrapnel showered him, making him rub or shake them out of his now blinded face.

It's now or never…, she thought, completely steeling her resolve.

She first kicked his sword out of his hands and down a corridor, before planting her foot in his sternum. He tried to fight back with a couple of wild punches, only to hit air as she easily dodged behind him. She followed up with a jumping elbow smash that staggered him forward, deftly stepped backwards to avoid a spinning backfist attempt and countered with a jumping high kick to the back of his head.

Then she followed up with a combo her brother Minato used to do a long time ago. She fired off a left jab and a straight right, ducked under a couple of punches before smacking D'ghor with a hard spin kick, and finished with a hard right cross to his jaw.

The last blow took him down to one knee, clutching as his already sore head with one hand. He did not have time to recover as he was accosted by her stepping off his raised knee and wrapping her legs around his head and arms, crossing them into a figure four position.

Minako tightened her legs as much as possibly, hoping this triangle choke will finally win her the match. However, the combination of her admittedly weak Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills and D'ghor's incredible strength made her very worried. Based on his heavy breathing and frantic struggle to get out via hammerfists to her head the hold was working smoothly.

Suddenly, she felt his hands on her back and realized a little too late what he was planning to do. She braced herself as he lifted her up her up and slammed her down hard on to the cave floor. The hard impact sent a super sharp pain up and down her spine and made her feel a little woozy. However, she was still able to maintain the choke as it ironically tightened because of the powerbomb slam.

Again, she felt his hands on her back, but she instinctively fired a couple of elbow smashes to his face. Then she wrapped one of her arms around his arm trapped in the choke with his hand underneath her armpit, turning the choke into a triangle choke/armbar combination. Now, anytime he tried to twist and turn to get out of the hold, he growled as pain shot down his trapped arm.

"Please yield!" Minako pleaded. "I don't want to… !" She got cut off as D'ghor tried to hit her face with his free arm, only to be blocked with her free arm.

The blow felt really weak, making her realize he's about to keel over. She fired off more elbows to speed things up; he in turn was very hard pressed to stop them in his increasingly weakened state.

Desperately, he tried to lift her up for a slam one more time, but she immediately countered by arching her back and extending her body, putting tons of pressure on his nearly overextended arm.

D'ghor yelled an ear-piercing growl out of extreme pain before limply falling on top of Minako. Worf quickly checked on his brethren to see if he was conscious before finally untangling the two fighters from each other and rolling him to the left of her. Completely exhausted and breathing very hard, she just laid on the ground.

Worf signalled for the holodeck doors to opens, allowing medical staff, Ms Ite, Alexander and Minako's friends and family to enter. Minako tried to get up only to collapse again in near-exhaustion. Luckily, they were able to catch her before she fell.

"Hey, you okay there?" Eiji asked as he and Kyo tried to keep her standing upright.

"Yeah, I will be…" Minako answered weakly.

"Take it easy, Setamagi-chan. We need to get you to a doctor immediately," said Miki.

"Ok… Hey Midori?"

"Yes, Minako-chan?"

"You were right. This trip was fun," Minako said with a smile before passing out.

Her friends and family just laughed as they carried her to the infirmary. Ms. Ite, on the other hand, was a little more reflective. The proverbial gears in her head spun, knowing what she has to do next.


Meanwhile…

"She fought him without any Persona?" Shiro asked.

"Yes, sir," Izanagi replied.

"Interesting. Didn't think she would be that strong," Cmdr. Dojima mused.

Amaterasu pouted. "Hey! Who do you think you're talking about?!"

"I'm kidding. Anyway, needless to say, keep an eye on her. Something's got me really worried as of late."

"Yes sir," both Personae said in unison.


References:

Lots of Star Trek references this time. I'll just list them in order of appearance:

Starfleet Academy, Boothby, Voyager, Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, Enterprise, Capt. Kathryn Janeway, Klingon, Lt. Cmdr. Worf, Alexander Rozhenko, petaQ, bat'leth

Please check the link at the top of the page for anything that I haven't explained.

Afterthoughts:

I will once again admit that one of the reasons it took so long was the fight scene. I find they are easy to imagine, but very hard writing on paper. I will really need to work on that in future.

Not much else I need to add. See you next chapter.