蜜気神話 / Honey Myth

OOC The following is a series of short story chapters I’ll release every few days that I worked on over the holidays. It serves as a retrospective and backstory to my characters Mitsuki Rumiho and Shinwa Tsurugi and covers parts of their history before being in Argo and up to now, including how they originally met.

Though I will try to stick with a chapter being added every few days, I still have some parts still to write so that may be increased time between parts eventually.


蜜気神話

(Honey Myth)

aka

蜜気さんと神話くん

(Mitsuki-san and Shinwa-kun)


Volume 1: Unseen and Unfulfilled


Chapter 1: Crack of light in the dark

It was like a different life almost, but engrained so tightly in my mind.

The young girl stared out silently from the window of the high school classroom. She was accustomed to being lost in thought, letting the sound of the others in the room talking mix into a low rumble. It didn’t affect her, it never did. She was just Mitsuki-san to them, that loner in the corner.

It was easy to see why others were put off by her silence. It came off as depressing, and sometimes when people would catch her eye, her gaze looked almost like a glare.

I often wondered if I inherited my mama’s death glare. When she wanted to get a point across, especially if I was misbehaving, she had no trouble. Though I think more often than not when I did it… it was usually an accident.


Standing at the station, she was waiting for the train to arrive. It could be said trains were quaint in an age of transporters and sky cars but they were almost lodged into Japanese culture by now. At the very least the modern Shinkansen were low friction anti-grav sleds.

Another girl ran up to the line at the waiting area, trotting in place a bit. She was wearing street clothes but Rumiho had seen the face before at school. She was in her class. Namakura Shouchi was her name?

Rumiho didn’t exactly look like her more cleaned up student look. Her hair had been nano-dyed, today it was black with a dark green highlight, and worn up a bit, making the multiple pierces in her ears more obvious.

“Oh good, I was sure I’d be late.” Shouchi said to no one in particular, though she did glance around and Rumiho just lightly shrugged. Shouchi did smile slightly at her, it was apparent she probably didn’t recognize Rumiho.

The trio of guys that approached also smiled, a bit too much as they approached Shouchi, “Hey there cutie, why in such a hurry for the train? You can spend that time with us.” One of them, the leader perhaps, said to her as they got uncomfortably close while being obtusely creepy. It was almost cliche, but it was sadly not uncommon.

Shouchi shrank a little in response, “Oh, I can’t… I was in a rush cause…. I had to meet my friend!” she said, sliding over to where Rumiho stood. For her part, Rumiho was unsure if Shouchi was just desperate or confident, maybe she did recognize her?

“Oh, this is your friend, you don’t mind us just talking right?” the lead guy said toward Rumiho, who turned her head slightly to look at him at an angle, her eyes forming a somewhat natural sharp glare. The guys all recoiled back a bit, the lead turning to them, “Actually, we all have somewhere we need to be, isn’t that right?” they both seemed to agree and scampered off.

Shouchi sighed in relief, “Thanks girl, nice death glare though… I took a gamble that you were tougher.”

Rumiho certainly didn’t like those guys, so it wouldn’t have been unwarranted, that being said… “Actually I was just trying to think of something to say…” Rumiho admits, her glare was simply accidental.

Shouchi took a minute in silence, one could almost see the three dots of an ellipses counting up above her head, “Wow… so you like, dress like that but aren’t really dangerous or anything?” she said in amazement.

“Well they were kinda pissing me off, I could have probably beat them up if I wanted.” Rumiho admits, which considering she had spent years studying Aikido and Okinawan Karate, at her mother’s insistence originally, was likely entirely true.

“Ok, stay on your good side, got it… Well having to intervene or not, thanks for that. You’re pretty cool.”
Rumiho was unused to being complimented in such a way, or really being recognized in a positive way. “I don’t know if that’s true, but you’re welcome Namakura-san.”

Shouchi nodded, paused, “Wait… how do you know my name?!” Yup, she had no idea who Rumiho was.
“We’re in the same class in high school. I’m Mitsuki.” she said simply.

“… Holy crap! Wait wait wait…” she said looking at her strongly with a squint, imagining the face of the girl she knew had that name. The hair was brown instead and down hiding her ears when she was in class, obviously no piercings as that was not allowed in their school. “Wow… you are so different outside of school.”

“Well they do enforce uniformity pretty harshly. Not even Starfleet is as strict.”

“Really? They have uniforms too.”

“Not always the same ones… Though I haven’t figured out why they sometimes change.” Rumiho said with some uncertainty.

“You know people in Starfleet or something?” Shouchi asked. Why was she so invested? This was weird.

“My father is an officer.”

“Oh neat! I bet he’s like a big time space hero!” it was not clear if Shouchi was being serious.

“I don’t know about that… I only get some stories from him anyway. We don’t exactly talk much normally since he’s never on Earth.” Rumiho explained. Shouchi nodded slowly.

“Sorry to hear that… um… say how come I’ve never seen you talk before in class? Actually, I don’t know if anyone has.” she wondered.

“No one ever really says anything to me. They probably think I’m just a creepy weirdo loner.” Rumiho says with a shrug.

“They won’t know you aren’t if you never say anything.”

“What makes you think I’m not?”

“You could have just ignored me and walked away when those guys came after me. Maybe you didn’t mean to freak them out but you aren’t creepy, you’re actually pretty cool.” Shouchi said confidently. The statement sent a shock wave through Rumiho. No one had directly said something like that to her that wasn’t related to her already.

I used to think I had to be alone. I was unseen and avoided. I never really thought I should have had to go out of my way for others to like me. They either did or didn’t, and the latter was what I was used to being the norm. Shouchi wasn’t an outsider, but against all my preconceptions, she saw me as a real person.
I didn’t expect her to continue to talk to me, but maybe that meeting made an impression. She started talking to me at school. It wasn’t anything fancy, but we talked. It was nice. Not everyone felt the same though.


The other girl approached Shouchi outside the school. Koiko probably. It wasn’t something Rumiho kept track of usually.

“Hey Namakura, what’s up with you hanging out with Mitsuki so much lately?” Koiko asked Shouchi. Neither knew Mitsuki was around the corner. She stopped when she heard the conversation start.

“We started talking recently, is all. She’s interesting.” Shouchi said, thinking nothing of it.

“You might want to keep your distance. She’s always such a loner, and kinda depressing. It won’t do you any favors hanging with someone like that.” they explained. Rumiho deflated from her hidden position. She figured it was too good to last. She only wished if things had to go back to the way it was anyway it would have been easier to just not have sampled something different…

“Ow! What was that for?” Koiko asked after Shouchi had flicked her forehead with a finger.

“Cause you’re being silly, silly people get flicked. Why do you think she’s always alone? You don’t even know her. Is this some social order thing? I never really bought into that stuff, but I can tell you that if there is one thing I’ve learned from reaching out to someone different than me, it’s that a little kindness can go a long way.” Shouchi smirks.

“Not everyone deserves kindness.” Koiko said, perhaps just annoyed at the attack.

“Maybe not, but I can determine who does better if I talk to them first, so don’t worry about the distance with my friends.” Shouchi says walking off.

Rumiho was in a whirlwind of emotion. No one even knew she could hear them, and she was defended anyway. She never even considered she deserved that before. In what felt like an out of body experience, she realized for the first time she wasn’t really alone.

Having a real friend really was something that drastically changed me. I didn’t have to change who I was for others, and I didn’t. Not really anyway, but interacting with someone who cared did open me up some. Not entirely, it would take something far more substantial to fully break the surface level of the iceberg that was my true self. Shouchi gave me the confidence to interact more. Most others only spoke to me cause she already was, and none ever really were as close. From the summer of my 2nd year of high school when that encounter happened, to the end of my 3rd year when graduation happened, I wasn’t so alone.

The darkness I lived in was comfortable, it would always be part of me, but there was something inviting about the shine that had broken into that void. Before I knew it, I wanted to bathe in that light, and reflect it to the world. I didn’t have to be unseen, and I’m glad I wasn’t.

Sometimes, you never know when you might become the light someone else needs.

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Chapter 2: A lackluster reality

I used to think life could be as exciting and miraculous as the fantastical shows of my childhood. Stories of good and evil used to be commonplace, and there was an objective right and wrong. It made sense to want to live in a straightforward world like that.

I was a really stupid kid.

Tsurugi hit the floor with enough force to knock his short term memory. He opened his eyes.
An unfamiliar ceiling…

He lifted up somewhat, the events coming back to him. He was maybe 16 or 17, trying to defend some other kid who was being harassed. He didn’t care for bullies. He dove forward, the perennial hero. A failed hero. He was on his ass now but the person who put him there wasn’t the bully he thought he was.

“I don’t know what you thought was going on here, but jumping in like that half cocked without knowing what’s going on is what put you down there.” the other guy said, stern but calmly.

“I didn’t care for how you talked to him.” Tsurugi said, sitting up.

“You’re Shinwa right? I should have guessed. Everyone says you have a bad habit of butting in and trying to force your moral absolutism on others. Everyone is doing their best to try and live their lives. Sometimes things don’t work perfectly and people don’t agree. We do our best to not have to fight but life isn’t perfect. The person you’re defending isn’t a paragon, and I’m not a villain.” he says. Tsurugi stands a bit.

“You think you can justify any action because someone might not be good? I don’t buy that.” Tsurugi says drawing back to engage once more.

The other guy sighs, “I was hoping to make you see error by reasoning with you, but if you are so desperate to make waves on the idea that right and wrong is a static concept, then I’ll shatter that illusion!” he says as they go at it again.

I lost.

It wasn’t the first time either. Life was casual about reminding me that my way of looking at the world in black and white, good vs evil, was not an accurate view.

It was comforting to think in terms of heroes and villains, but the truth is, life is just people. Sometimes some people are against other people. I think I took solace in the idea that it was simpler because it made me feel like I could matter. Moral relativism made me nothing special, and I felt selfish clinging to the idea I was anything more.

It may have not been fulfilling, but it was for the best. I had other responsibilities, and even if I couldn’t be the hero to the world, I could still be the good guy to those who mattered to me.


Tsurugi walked into the doorway, “Sorry I’m late.” he said walking into the daycare facility. A worker looked up at him reassuringly while the little girl with her lit up, “Onii-san!” the girl, Tsurugi’s little sister Yukari, says happily as she runs up to him.

After picking Yukari up they worked on walking home. Schiaparelli Crater city was something of a close knit town, unlike larger cities like Tharsis which were still redeveloping. Schiaparelli was a smaller revitalization center after the Martian recolonization and reclamation efforts.

“Did you get in a fight again, Onii-san?” Yukari, who was about 6 years old at this point, asked up at him as they walked hand in hand. Their father was often traveling and their mother was exceptionally busy at her job. It had become common for Tsurugi to take care of his younger sister most days once he was done with school.

“Just a slight misunderstanding…” he lied. He only had a decent bruise on his face. The other guy had been relatively kind all things considered.

“You gotta try to get along with people better, not everyone needs a hero.” she said to him. Biting commentary from a 6 year old, perfect.

“Well maybe I’m waiting for you to grow up and be everyone’s hero. Heard you are acting in the school play.” he said deftly changing the subject.

“I know you are deflecting, but I would totally be the hero!” she said proudly, also where did she learn the meaning of deflecting like that? It was too adorable. If Tsurugi had a weakness, it was Yukari.

“So what do you think for dinner? I’m feeling like getting experimental.” Tsurugi asks.

“No weird stuff Onii-san, Hamburger steak!” Yukari said, tugging on his hand slightly.

“Oh that’s so plain… heheh… Fine fine… But I am gonna get fancy with mine! And you get the bland one!” he says, teasing her. She laughed, happily going along with it.

Yukari kept me grounded in a positive way. I was the one responsible for her and that responsibility gave me purpose. However beyond that, I was one thought away from a minor existential crisis. The world I lived in did not match my conception of it. Most people grow up learning to accept this truth and find a way to adapt.

I just ended up depressed by it.

This didn’t fully stop me from trying. I figured if reality wasn’t black and white, at least I could try to find a future in something close to being the quintessential good guy to the galaxy. Considered a lot of options, including police work, but if there was one thing the real world made seem less appetizing than fiction it was that. I considered just becoming a civilian engineer, as my technical aptitude was well witnessed, but it just wasn’t enough.

There was a lot of back and forth, but ultimately. I picked the one thing that most people tended to agree was the ideal force for good in the Federation, Starfleet itself.


Tsurugi tugged at his Academy uniform collar again.

“You gotta stop fussing with that.” Yukari, now 10 years old, said to her brother, who was just about to begin his 3rd year at Starfleet Academy.

“I swear they changed it again.” he says thinking Starfleet slowly modifies the uniforms so that by the time they do a radical change everyone is happy for something different. Not the silliest uniform based conspiracy theory that has been made.

“Looks the same… You never really did like jackets. Or is it more of a blouse?” she wondered as the two walked down the San Francisco street on their way to meet their parents. It was rare they all had time to meet up, much less that they managed to travel to Earth for it. Tsurugi suspected Yukari leveraged a tantrum or two, she was just old enough she could still be convincing and not look like a moody teenager. He wondered if he was getting out just in time honestly.

“I don’t decide fashion labels, but while not on grounds…” he trailed off as he unzipped the jacket and casually tossed it around his shoulder.

“Look at this rebel cadet!” barked someone behind them, another cadet with a blue stripe of Science. It was a classmate and often an assigned roommate of Tsurugi, a Betazoid named Yanap.

“You followed me to narc?” he asked.

“Hi other cadet person!” Yukari added cheerfully.

“Is this the wonderful little sister I’ve heard so much about?” Yanap said bowing to Yukari, who does a likewise bow. They weren’t being proper or traditional, she was just being dramatic.

“If you won’t tell the Professors, Training instructors, or dorm leads, then I will make sure you don’t fail your warp mechanics exam.” Tsurugi offered.

“The most essential understanding of the modern age and it bores me to tears…” Yanap admitted, “Deal.”

“Starfleet used to stand for something too…” Yukari said with a head shake.

“Even in the quadrant’s grand ideal organization, the people in it all are just patchwork shades of gray.” Tsurugi notes sullenly.

“He’s great at parties.” Yanap jokes, “I’ll let you get to the fam, saw you across the street and I had to butt in. Nice meeting you Yukari!”

“You too!” she says waving. They walk in silence for a bit, “Even if it’s not perfect, I’m still proud of you Onii-san.”

Tsurugi chuffed a bit, “I guess I can live with that.”

The truth is Tsurugi never did fully get over his personal dejection. It was less these days that he wished simple heroes and villains existed and were clearly marked. He was an adult now after all. These days his issue was more that he wasn’t sure if the muddled truth of life was good enough for him. He felt like there was nothing, Yukari aside, that provided any light to this drab existence.

The Academy Counseling staff loved him. Yanap of course saw through him easily, the cheater. Tsurugi for his part hoped once he was a full officer he would find some source of fulfillment in his career. His sister wasn’t going to be his driving force forever, he always knew this. He held out hope, because he still believed in possibilities even when life didn’t seem keen on offering them.

All it would really take is one bright spot. Like a rainbow to add color to a dark sky.

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Chapter 3: The rocket girl aims for the stars

Rumiho sat seiza style on the floor in front of the table, ahead of her her mother sat looking at a PADD with her glasses on. She didn’t need glasses, she wore them for effect. She was weird like that.

The problem was the effect she was going for was not a good one. Mitsuki Kaname was upset at the moment. A small crunch broke the tension behind Rumiho as Shouchi slowly bit into a stick of pocky.

Kaname looks over, with a sharp gaze, “Why are you still here, Shouchi-chan?” She was still using given names, so she wasn’t feeling dangerous yet at least.

“Oh I don’t mean to butt into family matters. I’m here for emotional support, and to be a witness in court later.” she says with a smirk. This failed to amuse Kaname but she shrugged it off looking at the PADD again. Rumiho had dropped her head. Asking Shouchi not to be so… herself… was a losing proposition.

Kaname put the PADD down, “I didn’t expect you to go around me to do this.” she says finally.

“You made no secret you didn’t want me to apply to Starfleet Academy.” Rumiho countered.

“I raised you alone for years here and thought even if you didn’t get into my field you’d be happy finding a career on this planet at least… to think Tadashi’s stories were stronger than my motherly love.” Kaname says with a fair bit of dramatic effect.

“It’s not about Papa…” Rumiho said quickly, but Kaname shot a glare out, “It’s not just about Papa I mean…” her mother could always catch her in a lie.

“I am not blind Mi-chan, I know even without your father’s influence you were enamored with space flight and travel.” she sighs, “I just wasn’t expecting you to hide that you were applying from me, much less that you were accepted.”

“I’m sorry Mama… wait what?!” she said, she hadn’t gotten an acceptance message yet.

“How do you think I found out? They contacted me, you’re still only 17. They were insistent they rarely accept people still finishing high school but were impressed with your application package.” Kaname explains, with a hint of pride despite her earlier annoyance.

“Yeah! Go Ru-chan!” Shouchi shouts from the back. Right, she was still there. “Party tonight, Party tonight?” she asked, pointing at Rumiho and Kaname in turn.

Read the room Shouchi…

Kaname sighs, “I’m extremely proud of you Mi-chan. I am just sad you will be gone eventually.”

“I won’t be gone right away. I’ll be in San Francisco most of the time, you work there every day!” Rumiho noted.

“Yes… but once you are done with the Academy… I’ve done this before sweetie.” Kaname said wistfully. She was referring to her very short term marriage to Kawamori Tadashi, Rumiho’s father, who was out amongst the stars as an officer today. They split amicably, but the fact it was his duty to Starfleet that necessitated it always left a poor taste in her mother’s mouth.

“I know, that’s why I was afraid to talk to you about it. I’m sorry Mama.” Rumiho says with a drooping head. Kaname reaches over to raise the head to look her in the eyes.

“That’s not the kind of attitude I want to see in the best new officer they’re about to get.” she said confidently. Rumiho smiled.

“So you accept my choice?” she asked.

“I accepted it from the second I was told you got in dear.” she said calmly. “The answer is yes by the way.” she said, looking at Shouchi.

“Kick ass!” Shouchi said with a fist pump in the air.

“Language…” both Kaname and Rumiho said in unison.

“What did they used to call this, stereo?” Shouchi wonders. Kaname and Rumiho chuckle.

“You know they just got out of a war, right?” Kaname asks, referring to the recently concluded conflict with the Klingon Empire.

“Mama…”

“Just… making sure you know what you’re getting into…” she says with a hint of concern. “You’ll visit every weekend, and some days in Frisco for dinner.” she demanded.

Rumiho sighed, “Yes mama.” she said, conceding to the terms.

“No way their replicator-based campus is gonna outdo my cooking.” Kaname said steadfastly.

“They could only manage it if they find the 12 fragments of the Primal Key, unlock the Infinity Gate, travel sideways in time, defeat the Agents of Chaos, and restore order to the multiverse.” Rumiho said with some seriousness.

Kaname considered this, “But they’d never succeed in stabilizing the hyper-subspace bridge to the Grand Citadel, where the Goddess of Lost Thoughts can release the ability to re-align Fate.”

“You know you’re both weird right?” Shouchi says with a blank look and a raised brow. This caused the two Mitsuki’s to laugh.

They did this often. It was a quirk of how Kaname entertained Rumiho growing up, she was known to be a bit of a cloud cuckoolander so she ran with it and just made up increasingly weird and hard to follow concepts like she was part of some convoluted fantasy story. Rumiho had long ago learned how to keep up even if nothing they said made any sense at all.

Kaname stood up and spoke into a handheld communicator she had in her pocket, one Rumiho knew to be inactive, “Yes, it’s me, I’m afraid it’s true. The subject is ready to fly, I will have to release the plan soon. No, we’ll call it Operation Bucephalus, yes… I will ensure the preparation.” she said walking off, talking to literally no one.

“We’re gonna leave her to do the crazy stuff then?” Shouchi wondered.

“She just doesn’t know how to exit a conversation, it’s fine.” Rumiho said, nodding sagely.

“I question your future sanity.” her friend commented.


Later on outside in her backyard Rumiho stared out at the night sky. Her eyes were tracing lines between the stars.

“Sure is a lot… you are really gonna be pretty far away eventually. You think you’ll be alright?” Shouchi asked from her lounge chair position.

She wasn’t asking so much if Rumiho would be ok in space, Rumiho was so enamored with space flight anyone knew she’d be at home there. Shouchi was asking if she’d be ok without her.

Rumiho looked back, “I might not have before, but I think I can manage now. Thanks to you.”

“Eh, I didn’t do shit.” she said casually. She was far less restrained than Rumiho.

“Sure, hehe. I promise I will try to reach out to others. I won’t be able to do this on my own like I used to here. I don’t think I would want to anymore.” Rumiho admitted.

“My girl really is growing up. Gonna miss having you around to bug, but I suppose now I really can let loose.” Shouchi said with some satisfaction.

“I will read about your exploits in the news I’m sure.” Rumiho said with a chuckle.

“You damn well better!”

“I feel like I’ll come back here one day to find out you got married twice or something already.” Rumiho said sitting next to her.

“Only twice? You underestimate me, I can do so much better.” Shouchi asserted.

“You know it’s not considered a good thing right?”

“It is if you are just trying to build social credibility! I have plans and I need favors!”

The two laughed a bit.

“That being said, if you meet any sexy Starfleet dudes, bring me back one. I’d like to see what that tastes like.” Shouchi said, pulling her friend into a side hug.

“Come on Sho-chan… Don’t be gross.”

“Fine… bring sexy Starfleet ladies back too.”

Rumiho blushed a bit, “I’m not lewding women!” she stated adamantly.

“Haha! Fine, you get the first pick of the men.” Shouchi said jovially as Rumiho continued to feel embarrassed.

“I doubt I’ll have time to focus on such things. Starfleet duty is a busy life.” Rumiho decided, lying to herself.

“Uh huh… you can’t use work as an excuse to not live, girl. I will make sure to tell you every day to get some living in your life!”

“That sentence makes no sense…”

“It makes perfect sense.” Shouchi nods sagely.


Mama was right about one thing. Papa was a direct inspiration on my Starfleet goals. I wasn’t so much following in his steps as trying to fly for myself though.

It was scary, leaving the safety of the home I had known. Knowing Mama and Shouchi supported me made it feel possible. I didn’t know if I would find it easy to make connections as strong as these with others, but now I was more open to being a new take on myself. One that could be open to friendships. That wouldn’t have been possible before.

I can only imagine what I’ll find when I finally start to fly.

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Volume 2: Sight and Purpose


Chapter 1: The Kantai Okinawan and the Kansai Martian

“I’m just saying, flight assist programs are pretty good and you even got to the island by a transporter frame… it’s a weird profession pick.” Shouchi said, her hair a more brazen orange color than she used to have when she and Rumiho were in high school. Rumiho herself was sporting a typical mix of colors on her head and was fully punk outfitted at the moment.

“I always wanted to learn how to fly spacecraft though.” Rumiho explained as the two walked the city streets of Naha, Okinawa. Rumiho was partway into her first year of Starfleet Academy and on a long weekend she chose to take a trip to her mother’s homeland. Her mother couldn’t find the time however but Shouchi was more than happy to skirt her own civilian university studies and join.

“You wanted to fly old ass spaceships, not the Starfleet self-operated stuff of today.”

“I think they are harder to fly than they look… It’s really just a pathway to Captaincy, that’s my real focus.” Rumiho admitted.

“Ah yes… Daddy chaser extraordinaire… Notice me Otou-sama!” Shouchi brashly exclaimed out loud, causing Rumiho to latch onto her as if she could stop the incorrigible friend of hers, but even Rumiho was laughing a bit. She was far from the quiet girl she used to be. Shouchi brought out her real capacity to enjoy life. She was also a terrible influence sometimes though.

Rumiho chuckled, “I’m glad you could make it. I know visiting San Francisco is a bit much most weeks for you, even with transporters.”

“It tells me you haven’t made any new fancy Starfleet friends yet. Did all my training go to waste?”

“I can’t want to hang out with my best friend regardless?”

“Girl, you aren’t fooling anyone.”

“I get along alright… I’m not hiding out of sight. The looser hair regulations help…” Rumiho said, noting that she can be a bit more expressive of her real self, which had some factor into her displacement in the ever traditional Japanese school system.

“I’ll bet, but the transporter curfews are the real reason I don’t visit. This whole war conservation thing seems a bit silly… like not using the global transporter network will help if the evil Iconians come to bomb us to dust.” Shouchi said sardonically, ever the one to speak her mind.

“I don’t know if that’s true but it’s certainly something everyone is scared about and won’t discuss openly. They even brought in MACO guest professors to train Starfleet cadets on weapons use, more than usual. I didn’t expect when I applied we’d be in this situation.” Rumiho said, referring to the ongoing Iconian war which so far had not hit Earth, but was thought to be days away considering how bad things were said to be going. There were preparations for the worst but most were trying to pretend things were normal.

“You’ll be ok Rumi-chan, you are the strongest and honestly scariest person I know.” Shouchi said snickering with a side hug which made Rumiho laugh too. “Give them a death glare if they get here, they’ll turn around!”


The two eventually settled into a densely packed shopping district. While looking at items Rumiho stumbled a bit as someone ran into her, a young girl, no more than 11 or so in age.

“Ack, Sumimasen, I’m not from here, got turned around!” the young girl said, making an apologetic gesture.
“It’s ok! Are you lost?” Rumiho asked her.

Shouchi bounded up suddenly, “We picking up strays?!”

“No!” Rumiho said, telling off her friend.

“But Rumi…. She’s adorable! She could be like a little sister to you!” Shouchi said, almost squealing.

Rumiho didn’t want to admit it, but the little girl was adorable.

“I was with my older brother, we got separated. This is my first time here visiting him from Mars, he’s a cadet on vacation. Oh! Shinwa Yukari, nice to meet you both!” the girl said with a bow. The others returned the gesture.

“Mitsuki Rumiho, this is Namakura Shouchi. I’m a cadet too actually! Do you need help finding him?” Rumiho asked.

“I don’t want to bother you… you are a cadet though?! You look way too cool, not like my bro!” Yukari exclaimed.

“Rumi-chan is the coolest for sure! Trade up, get a big sis!” Shouchi said with a wink.

“Shou….chi……”

“Haha, I could call you big sis, especially if you are a classmate of my brother.” she said innocently with a smile. Shouchi beamed with stars in her eyes.

Oh god she is cute… Rumiho said internally. “How could we find him? Oh! Does he have his badge? I could get the Academy network to ping his location.”

“So resourceful… Like a big sister should be.” Shouchi said in a slinky voice.

“Quiet.”

“Yes ma’am!”

“He had his uniform jacket so maybe… though he hates wearing it so don’t know if he’d respond. You aren’t in uniform either… is this a thing?” Yukari asked.

“I’m on leave, but I have my badge.” she says fishing it from her bag. “Let me find a terminal or quiet area to ping a location request.”

“Hey Yukari-chan, let’s get you a drink.” Shouchi said, leading the young girl to a storefront while Rumiho figured out where this guy was. She forgot to ask his name but she made a guess he was also a Shinwa and did get a hit not too far away.


“Onii-san!” Yukari said, running up to Tsurugi.

“I said not to wander, squirt.” he said with a sigh.

“It’s alright, my big sis helped me!” she said smiling. He smirked. Wait…

“Big sis?” he said curiously.

“My friend put the idea in her head, she’s been calling me that since we bumped into each other.” It was only now that Tsurugi noticed Yukari was with someone else.

I didn’t even notice her before! Tsurugi thought, looking over now to see Rumiho, and seeing a sharp glaring look, Holy shit is she judging me for losing my sister!? Stay calm, be cool, man…

I hope I don’t freak him out dressed like this… Rumiho was thinking and put on a smile. Shouchi had pushed her to deliver the girl to her brother alone in an effort to meet a fellow cadet without her help. Rumiho wasn’t amused, but made an effort to be less disarming.

Tsurugi coughed slightly, the smile breaking the death glare he was seeing before, “I’m sorry for the trouble, thanks for taking care of her. How did you find me?”

“Your badge on your coat.” she says pointing at his Academy uniform jacket, draped around on shoulder, not worn properly. She flashed her own badge, though no uniform in sight. She didn’t look older than him though.

“Cadet too?” he asked.

“Unn” Rumiho nodded in approval, “Mitsuki Rumiho, first year.”

“Shinwa Tsurugi, 4th. Small planet.”

“Not small enough to not lose a little Martian girl.” she said quickly. Ouch… he kinda deserved that though.

Yukari was just looking back and forth between them as she sipped from a straw, it was the drink Shouchi bought her.

“Yes she hasn’t spent much time here like I have. I’m originally from Osaka… so…” he trailed off… That wasn’t relevant, they were in Naha.

Rumiho had ceased her smile, “Explains why you speak in Kansai-ben but she doesn’t. Yukari-chan is gifted clearly in ways the gods shortchanged you.”

How am I the villain suddenly?! Tsurugi wondered.

“Don’t worry onee-san, he’s a bit dumb but he’ll manage in a tight spot!” Yukari said cheerfully. Rumiho smiled at her.

“I trust you Yukari-chan! Good luck dealing with him. I’m gonna find my friend now, k bye!” Rumiho says and runs off.

“That was only slightly mortifying…” Tsurugi noted.

“It’s your fault.” Yukari said, nodding.

“I did nothing wrong… outside of losing sight of you.” he admits, as she nods some more.

Rumiho meanwhile as she worked her way back to Shouchi, could only think, I was a bit mean… but he’s a senpai to me and can handle more. Not like I would want someone in his station as a friend anyway.

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Chapter 2: Pearl Harbor descent record
Part 1: Falling Sky

Everything went from calm to hectic in minutes as the sirens started going off. Not long after lights appeared in the sky, more lights than normal… bad lights. Areas and buildings with built in shield emitters started activating them. Emergency alerts and messages rang out across all communication channels.

The War had arrived on Earth. The Iconians were here. Well they were in orbit, and the Khitomer Alliance, Starfleet especially, was doing all it could to keep them there.

Rumiho had parted with Shouchi the day before, she was heading back to the mainland, and hopefully would be as safe as anyone else there. It was two days after her meeting with the other cadet in the marketplace.

After the alerts started and lock downs began, the emergency orders came in for Rumiho to report to the nearest star port, which for her was the Kadena Starfleet Base as she was still on Okinawa. The proper course of action was for Cadets to be recalled to Starfleet Academy or any worldwide annexes where they could be pressed into emergency service as needed. Rumiho was recalled to SFA, but there was a problem.

Starfleet Academy in San Francisco was right next to Starfleet Headquarters, and when the lock downs began the entire area was put under a massive shield grid and global transporter services were turned off.

She was instructed by a cadet commander in her division to report to Kadena and see what she could do to help the local Federation security there, and if possible, get a shuttle to go the rest of the way.

Arriving, Rumiho learned she was in some luck, she wasn’t the only Starfleet presence. A science Lieutenant (JG) was also in the area named Myles Bacher. For the moment he became the ranking Starfleet officer. She was now in her proper cadet uniform and walked up to report.

“Sir, Cadet Mitsuki reports as ordered.” she said as he, a little bit harried as he wasn’t used to directing stuff clearly, looked over a PADD.

“Mitsuki… You are a flight student right?” he asked her while moving toward a flight hanger.

“Yes sir, but I’m in my first year, I’ve only studied mechanics and controls in class. No sim time yet.” she said.

“My luck, two cadets. Ok here’s what’s up, I got orders from Command. Kadena doesn’t have the capability to defend all the civilians in the bunker here. We got a flight of shuttles going out across the Pacific. The plan is to meet up with the Starfleet Garrison at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, they have a connection to the western main land that can be used to transport civilians to several areas hardwired under the sea floor instead of risking air or space transmission during all of… this.” he said waving a hand up at the sky, which was getting really mottled up in light flares. It almost looked pretty if you ignored what each flash was.

“I can try to handle the operation if necessary sir.” she offered.

“No chance. You’ll be with me and another cadet. The other shuttles in our little convoy will be flown by Federation Air and Naval personnel stationed locally. We don’t want to attract too much attention so we’re going low ceiling, which means we have to cap our speed as well.

They entered the hangar and several mid-sized shuttles were in states of prep and loading, some with civilians being loaded on. He pointed her to their ride, saying he’d be there as soon as he was sure the others were good to go.

Boarding she saw her shuttle was already full of civilians, clearly worried. She didn’t know how to assure them, or if she should, so she moved to the cockpit area which was segmented from the main bus. In there another cadet was setting up some stuff.

“Cadet Mitsuki reporting… It’s you…” she said as Tsurugi glanced back, in full uniform for once.

“Dragon girl? I shouldn’t be surprised I guess.” he said, moving between consoles to check things.

“Dragon girl?! Use my name! Mitsuki Rumiho, Mitsuki spelled like Honey Spirit, Rumiho spelled like gemstone, beauty, and guarantee.” she said in a huff.

“You demand all your senpai like that? What kind of spelling is that anyway?” he asked.

“My parents are… eccentric…” she admitted.

“I can relate, Shinwa Tsurugi is spelled Mythology and Sword, what you see is what you get there.” Tsurugi chuckled at the thought.

“Sounds like a kids show protagonist.” she said somewhat derisively. Whether that was picked up is unclear.

“That was the nicest thing I’ve ever heard from someone who tried to kill me with a glare.” he said with a smirk as he continued his set up.

Rumiho looked mildly bothered, “Why does it look like that excites you?”

“I appreciate a strong woman.” he says, causing her to step on his foot. “Thank you, I enjoy having my foot crushed.” he said nonchalantly.

“Ugh… Is your sister safe?” she asked while changing the subject. He got the hint luckily and his tone softened.

“Yeah she went back to Mars yesterday. So far reports are that the Herald ships are mostly here. Helps Mars still looks like a battlefield from the last time it got shot up. I’m hoping it remains safe long enough that if things go bad here they can evacuate the planet.” he said with remarkable honesty.

“You think it’ll get that bad?” she said uncertainty.

“Maybe.” he said simply, but his voice betrayed the look in his eyes. He said a lot more in his eyes than he did with his stupid mouth.

They spent the next few minutes in silence working to get the shuttle prepped. Soon Myles came up with them, “All good?” he asked.

“We’re ready to move, if you got the chops to move it.” Tsurugi said, somewhat brazenly.

“You know I have authority over you right?” he said to Tsurugi.

Tsurugi just nods a bit, “Yeah.” which made Rumiho facepalm a bit. How did this guy make it to 4th year?

“Mitsuki, you are gonna cover aux pilot duties, I and the computer will do the heavy lifting but be ready to do anything under my supervision. I know you two aren’t fully ready yet but… tough times.” Myles tells them.

Rumiho nods confidently, taking a seat. Tsurugi waves it off taking a makeshift engineering station.

“I’ll make sure this old model doesn’t fall apart.” he says, opening some diagnostic screens.

“Better not. Plan is we get the convoy to Pearl Harbor, use the hard line transporters to get the civilians processed to bunkers in the mainland. Us three will go straight to SFA from there.” he explains as they begin to lift off. “Should be straight forward.”

“Nice jinx bro.” Tsurugi just adds.

“Sir, permission to glare at Cadet Shinwa.” Rumiho asks.

Myles just laughs, “Save it for off duty kids.”


A bit into the flight, the convoy of five shuttlecraft are skimming only about 10 meters above the ocean surface. They move at a decent clip but having to stay low adds time to the journey.

Rumiho tries to familiarize herself with the shuttle systems, Myles is focused on flying and also trying to keep in contact with a ship, the U.S.S. Alexandria, which it turns out is his actual posting normally. The reports he gets from the battle don’t make it sound like it’s going well. Tsurugi for his part has taken to going back and forth between the cockpit and the cabin to assist passengers with any needs.

When he spoke, Tsurugi got on Rumiho’s nerves very quickly. When he actually did something though, it was surprising how selfless and altruistic he seemed to act. She noticed that with his little sister earlier as well. If only he just shut the hell up sometimes!


The sensor alarm went off, Myles started hitting keys quickly, “Oh that’s not good…”

“Sir?” Rumiho asked with sudden concern.

“Just got pinged from a low orbit patrol, a few enemy ships slipped by the orbit blockade.” he explained.

“Would they come for a pack of shuttles?” she wondered.

Tsurugi walked in from the back, tossing a bag of tools down, “If they spotted the engine emissions. We’re lit up against the ocean surface right now trying to make time.” he says moving to a console.

“What are you doing?” Myles asks him.

“Trying to mask our signature as much as I can. I’ve been tweaking the engine outputs in the back for a bit. The maintenance cycle on all these shuttles wasn’t done before we pressed them out. Plasma generation is fine but we’re leaking it from the engine ports like a road flare at night.” he said with some measure of annoyance.

“You knew this from the start? I thought you were napping back there!” Rumiho said in surprise.

“He boarded this shuttle with the civvies last… you should have said something cadet!” Myles says in annoyance.

“Oh right, oops.” Tsurugi says nonchalantly, “We needed the room anyway.”

“Can you mask it?” Myles asked him.

“Not enough for my liking.” Tsurugi says darkly.

“Will they come for us?” Rumiho asks, unsure.

“They might send Mir Fighters this way on their way to priss local targets until Starfleet can scramble something.” the lieutenant determines.

Thinking for a second, “We can split off from the rest of the group, lure any enemies away.” Rumiho suggests.

“No, we’re here to protect them, we’re not splitting up.” Myles counters.

“We’re no good to them dead, I can make us more tempting but I can’t help the other shuttles be less of a target. This isn’t a combat shuttle, we don’t even have a working phaser strip here.” Tsurugi explains.

“What about this shuttle’s passengers, they didn’t ask for this.” the lieutenant said of the civilians with them.

“Sir… I don’t think we have a better option here.” Rumiho says with some conviction.

“Now that’s some guts kid!” Tsurugi says, impressed by his kouhai, “Maybe you can glare the Herald’s away, haha.”

Rumiho rolled her eyes, “I’m not a kid…”

Myles can’t help but laugh, “It’s a crazy day, I don’t need cadets reminding me how to be Starfleet today. I’m gonna send the word out, we’re taking the scenic route to Hawaii. Shinwa, explain to the passengers our lot, delicately!” he says as Tsurugi gets up to head back.

“Can he even do that? He’s a Kansai idiot ya know.” Rumiho says.

“I’ll do my dumbest to explain!” Tsurugi says with a mock salute, done intentionally backwards as he vanishes back.

To Be Continued

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Chapter 3: Pearl Harbor Descent Record, Part 2: Operation Doodlebug

About five minutes after they split off from the group they had a sensor contact of several bandits closing in.

“They found us… Better hope that engine tuning Shinwa did will help us evade. We have paper thin shields in this thing.” Myles said, taking a breath.

“Any hope of rescue?” Rumiho asked.

“I’ve been sending out emergency alerts but the orbit is clouded with similar communications.” He returned.

It didn’t take long to tell when the enemy was on them, as bolts of bright antimatter beams lit up bits of the ocean surface around them. The lieutenant did his best to fly a winding evasive pattern but it became more and more clear the science officer was not a seasoned pilot. Rumiho tried to suggest quick moves to him but her experience was next to nothing at this point. She was guessing at how to evade the hyper advanced Herald fighters. A few shots got uncomfortably close to them.

One Mir fighter buzzed overhead and broke, turning with a series of bolts raining in front of them. The canopy was washed in ocean water as it then lit up as the blast shield was struck and subsequently fractured as the shield loss warning sounded.

“So much for that extra layer…” Myles shouted, trying a new evasion.

“Can we dive?!” Rumiho asked quickly.

“Can’t slow down enough, plus I asked Shinwa, he said this frame can’t withstand enough dive pressure to block their weapons.”

Another Mir came back from their front and the canopy lit up in light, an audible crackling could be heard and suddenly the shuttle was spinning. Rumiho reached for the board to try and regain control. By the time they stopped moving Rumiho realized the front canopy was open to air that was rushing in at them, and Myles was on the floor with a piece of shrapnel in his shoulder.

“Sir! Shinwa, the lieutenant is injured up here!” Rumiho said into the cabin comm.

In quick order Tsurugi had rushed up with a Vulcan man, who didn’t look too old. “Fanht is a doctor. They blew open the canopy? Why are we still here?” he wondered aloud while taking Myles’ seat.

“Why are you criticizing them?!” Rumiho shouted at him, it was then the main comm line cleared up and they heard a message in Federation Standard.

“… Repeat, Attention Shuttle, this is Federation PACAF 19th Fighter Squadron out of Joint Air Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. We will provide you cover support.” the message said as several modern thunderwings darted by.

They were essentially downrated variants of a recent space interceptor that was retooled for atmospheric use. Earth hadn’t seen much use for local air units for a long time until the Dominion War made them re-asses. Rumiho lit up in a cheer as the aeros flew by engaging the Mir’s. They were technically still horribly outclassed by the alien space fighters but help was help.

“Nice, good guys are here!” Tsurugi said notifying the main cabin. Rumiho swore she heard cheers. “Can you handle shifting the autopilot’s evasive courses?” he asked Rumiho as he hit a few keys and somehow restored the blast shield, making the wind stop finally. This shuttle was too old, it seemed, to have a self repairing aluminum canopy. Even with that the sounds of weapons fire and distant explosions could still be heard.

“I’ll manage… how long can they hold out?” she wondered.

Myles spoke up, strained as Dr. Fanht was dressing his wound and readying a hypo. “If they got the signal then the base knows to request backup.” he said trying to move.

“Stay here, you are of no use straining now.” Dr. Fanht said as he applied a hypo which must have been a sedative. Myles went out quickly. He looked back to the cadets, “Is he correct?” the Vulcan asked.

“I’ll answer with one of the most beautiful sights in modern times.” Tsurugi gestured at the sky as the shape of a Sabre-class starship descended into view. “Looks like the U.S.S. Doodlebug.”

“What an illogical name.” the doctor added.

“Will he be ok?” Rumiho asked about the Lieutenant.

“If we can make it to the ground, I think so. There is a chance he may need some major surgery.” Dr. Fanht decided.

Within the next few minutes the Doodlebug had worked with the 19th Squadron pilots and fired off some tactical phaser strikes from above to clear the remaining bandits. They learned through comm chatter that the ship had come down based on a request from the base and was also keeping track of the main convoy. Thankfully their distraction worked, they were never attacked.

The Cadets took a second to calm themselves. Then the sky was filled with sudden thunder again as the Doodlebug’s shields flared up. It didn’t take long for them to see that an Iconian Baltim Raider had broken from orbit to follow the Starfleet ship and was hammering it with fire.

“Shit…” Tsurugi said as he started checking something on his board. One of the Hickam thunderwings flew into view, pinging in that they would escort them along an escape vector. Rumiho entered the data into the computer to follow. There was a sense everyone knew what was about to happen but no one wanted to say it.

The U.S.S. Doodlebug was supporting a lot of new holes and flames as it tried to return fire, unloading a volley of torpedoes at the Herald ship.

“Eyes down!” Tsurugi shouted and Rumiho instinctively looked at her console which reflected a series of flashes. “I only got the blast shield up to cover the hole… It has no layers, including flare protection.” he explained.

Rumiho just nodded, a little frazzled. Looking at a display it looked like Doodlebug had taken out the Baltim shields, but the former was starting to lose altitude. The Baltim seemed to be moving ahead, in a course parallel to the escape route. “Is it going for Hawaii?!” she asked.

“It won’t get there.” The 19th Squadron Leader said cryptically, “Adjust course to vectors I’m sending.” The unknown woman said as Rumiho worked to do so, then her attention was caught as the Doodlebug entered her vision again, moving a lot faster than before. Much faster… way too fast.

As the shuttle was moving to a new course Tsurugi put together what was happening, so had Dr. Fanht it seemed, as the latter shouted, “Look away from the canopy!” in an un-Vulcan-like fashion.

Rumiho seemed to be having trouble processing things though, she was mesmerized as the Saber class ship, burning in damaged hull fires, was barreling forward at high impulse… in an atmosphere… toward the Baltim. By the time it clicked what was about to happen the two ships were only milliseconds from contacting and she felt herself yanked away and thrown down to the floor.

Everything went silent for a second as the entire cockpit lit up in light that seemed to last minutes, but as time was apparently running slow it was hard to tell how long it lasted. Some time later a loud booming sound echoed around them.

Everything was ringing for a bit, but slowly Rumiho regained her focus as she lifted herself off the floor. The light was gone, but the sky was orange. She turned to the canopy to see a dark orange cloud rising in the distance. The Doodlebug had taken advantage of the lowered shields on the Baltim and rammed it at unsafe impulse speeds to take it out before it could reach a population center. It was unclear at the time if it had launched escape pods or not.

It took her a second to realize that Dr. Fanht was seemingly applying medical treatment now to Tsurugi on the floor of the cockpit.

“What happened?!” she said as he was holding a scanner to his head and wrapping a bandage around his eyes before digging out another hypo from his kit.

“He didn’t look away fast enough. Those ships erupted in an antimatter flash so bright it would only take half a second of exposure to sear his retinas.” He injects Tsurugi and the man, who was looking in some considerable pain, calmed down as he fell unconscious.

“Are you saying he’s… blind?” Rumiho asked in some reticence.

“For now, it may be reversible, but I’d imagine he’ll need cybernetic treatment if he’s ever going to see again. Commendable, he focused on saving you from the same fate.” the Vulcan doctor noted with a steady tone.

Rumiho just stared for a second until the 19th squadron leader called in again. They learned the sacrifice of the Doodlebug had cleared the way to make it to Hawaii and there were no longer any obstacles.

Silently, focusing on her duty, Rumiho set in the final course changes sent to her.

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Chapter 4: A Rainbow in the Dark

People often wonder what they’d sacrifice important things for, and in a fiction these questions seem straightforward. Reality isn’t as simple as fiction. It’s dark and muddled, shades of gray, and I hate it. How can you be so sure something is worth anything in a life where nothing might be worth anything?

In a drab and dreary world the things that should outshine the rest of the world seem like an impossibility. Then sometimes when you least expect it, they flare up in front of you. I lost my eyesight today by staring directly at an antimatter explosion less than 4 km away in the atmosphere.

This is a terrible loss and I… don’t regret leaving myself vulnerable. Because there was a brighter light in that moment. She is young, unsure, kinda scary, and effervescent. I only just met her briefly before the world nearly ended, but in a drab and boring world she was like a rainbow across a rainy sky. If I could protect that sight, my ability to see it naturally doesn’t matter.


The shuttle made it to Hawaii without further issues, the civilians were moved around and the Lieutenant and the two cadets sent to Starfleet Academy. By the time they got there and were admitted to the Medical Wing on the Academy grounds however, word came that the battle was over. It was over and somehow… the Earth and the Federation had survived. No one ever really had a clear explanation. The official word is that at the last minute the Iconians decided to listen to diplomacy, but no one really knew what happened that day for sure.

Whatever happened in the big picture, everyone that day experienced their own trials.


The door opened and Rumiho poked her head in, “Is this a good time?” she asked, worried about Tsurugi being indecent or something.

“Sadly I’m not undressed now, you’ll have to try again later.” he said with some mirth. He was sitting casually in hospital clothes on the bed of the Starfleet medical room he was staying in. He looked mostly normal except his eyes were almost straight white now, not their original brown marbles. He also has electrodes on the side of his head, where a VISOR was meant to attach. Said VISOR was on the nearby table with wires stringing out of it and into some type of circuit board Tsurugi was somehow working on.

Rumiho gave a look of mild annoyance, “They should kick you out, you are clearly recovered, or are they keeping you here to cure your personality?”

“Heheh, nice.” he said.

“What are you doing?” she asked approaching, she was in her Academy uniform, her punk style hair returned to a dark green over black coloring.

“The medical requests are overbooked; what with a war just ending, they won’t be ready to install my ocular implants for a few weeks. What century are we living in? This VISOR is like 50 years old.” he said of the device on the table which looks very much the same design a certain famous engineering officer wore in the past.

“Thanks, that actually tells me nothing.” Rumiho says with mild exasperation as Tsurugi pulls out a pair of fancy sunglasses and starts attaching bits of micro-circuitry to them.

“I’m making better ones,” he explains.

“How are you doing that without…” she trails off.

“Sight? I work with my hands for a living, this is nothing. The VISOR is sending me basic readout info wirelessly. Just enough to get spatial reasoning.” he says as he activates them, unhooks all wires and slides the shades on. “Beautiful!” he says, apparently the sunglasses are a VISOR now.

“Sugoi… My mom would like you…” she says sitting in a chair nearby.

“Yoyodyne right? I looked up your name and was curious.” he asked and she nodded. “You don’t owe me anything you know.”

“I’m here to tell you Myles got discharged. His wound wasn’t serious in the end.” she says somewhat indignantly. “Like I’d come to see you…”

“You’re cute when you’re mad ya know.” Tsurugi says with a smirk.

“Is everything a joke to you?”

“Less than you’d think.”

“So this is some lewd thing then? You like being treated harshly?” she said with a mild look of disgust.

“You said it, not me.”

“You’re gross…” she added.

“And yet you’re still here. I sense this wasn’t just to give me simple news. Out with it.” he says beckoning for more information.

“… Why did you do it?” she asked after a minute.

“Why did I save you from going blind or worse? Do I come off that negatively?” he wondered.

“I wasn’t exactly being kind to you…” she said with some embarrassment.

“Even if it wasn’t the right thing to do because I’m your senpai, you are something else Mitsuki. I look at you, augmented or not, and I see the very thing I failed to find in all of life outside of my own family. You light up the world like a rainbow.” he says in a shockingly frank way.

Rumiho just stares in befuddlement, “Who the hell talks like that?! You sound like a character on some kids show!” she says incredulously.

“Nante Kotto… Yeah well, that is kinda my thing I guess. Forgive me Niji-san, you intrigue me greatly.‘’ he says simply.

“If you call me Niji, people are gonna get the wrong idea about me or something…” she says blankly.

Tsurugi chuckles, “I’m sure you’ll have no trouble telling them how I’m just weird. I’d be honored to know you more.”

“Not many people meet me and want that.” she admitted.

“Guess I’m pretty cool then.” he decided. He was not.

“Are you asking in a platonic way?” she wondered.

“Well we did just meet, but I may ask in another way someday.” he says, again with no attempt to hide his thoughts.

She snickers a bit, “Most people would sidle up to a subject like that ya know.”

“Eh, who’s got time for tiptoeing around? I know you have at least one friend, consider me another.” Tsurugi says confidently.

“What about you? Any other friends besides your sister or is this a desperate attempt to have a life?” she wondered.

“Not many that are that serious. Then again I am pretty insufferable…” he says. Rumiho doesn’t react to that, leading him to softly add “silent howls of protest…”

“You can’t ask in another way for a while. It’d be inappropriate once you graduate. Plus crazy events like this week skew people’s thoughts.” Rumiho said to him.

“Damn, making me hold my worst thoughts in for up to four years. I could hurt myself, you know.” he says with a smile. He thought he looked so cool with those shades on.

“We’re still in the hospital… It’s not too late!” she says flaring up in annoyance. This guy!

He chuckles, but even she gives way to a laugh. It was then she noticed the harmonica on the table.

“You play that?” she wondered. He grabbed the instrument, looking it over.

“Not yet, Yukari got it for me as a get well gift. I figure I can work it out. I’ll send you some samples if you like.” he explained.

“I don’t need to hear about your failed music career…”

“It’s mostly for her in any case. Yukari likes performing arts after all. She always liked to sing while I played piano.” he says.

“Any good at that?” Rumiho wondered.

“Decent apparently, not something I’d call a hobby though.”

Rumiho sighed, “I considered learning guitar once. Papa and Mama had a band when they were young. Old music.”

“I get the feeling I’d like it, I’m told my tastes are classic.” he says with a ton of forced derision.

“Not a fan of our generation’s work?”

“I guess the Zebulon Sisters are alright.” he concedes.

“Ew… pop and dance songs?” she says with a taken aback reaction.

“Oh I knew I had you pegged as some punk rock or metal head.”

“Guilty, hehe.” she admits pulling out her handheld miniPADD, handing it over.

“What am I being forced to try?” he wondered.

“No idiot, put her comm code info in there. You wanted to get to know me, right?”

He sits up suddenly, with a mock salute, “Yes ma’am!” as he eagerly exchanged the info.

“Don’t abuse that number, or use my photo for any distasteful thoughts.” she warned with a narrowed gaze.

“I will ensure I have at least one item of clothing on anytime I contact you.” he says with a sly grin. Rumiho groaned at the mistake she was making now.

Annoyance aside, it couldn’t be denied he was an entertaining conversation partner. Plus she did hold a certain respect for him after what he did, even if he insisted she didn’t owe him anything. There could be worse friends to have.

He certainly wasn’t uncool I suppose…

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Volume 3: Interstellar Friendship


Chapter 1: Of pings and plans

The ping sounded off the handheld miniPADD that Rumiho carried with her, the device was styled with a decal on the back of an abstracted dragon sticker and a small charm hung from a corner of an anime-style girl in a spacesuit.

Rumiho looked at it quickly and fired off a response to a text before putting it away. Rumiho had always had a thing for dragons but the 2nd year cadet had also gotten really interested in spacesuit EVA work. Her early classes in the Academy weren’t enough, so she had started after hours training with a licensed Federation EVA Guild school. She as a result had very little free time.

What free time she did find she chose to spend by transporting home to Japan. She walked into her mother’s house, followed closely by a technically not invited Shouchi. Her presence was somewhat missed perhaps.

“Tadaima.” Rumiho called, entering the door.

“Okaeri!” replied Mitsuki Kaname, her mother, from the other room.

The two rounded a corner to find Kaname prepping food in the kitchen. The woman didn’t really look old enough to be Rumiho’s mother, and in fact, was only about 20 years older than her exactly, if that. Kaname was, despite this, a senior engineer at Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems in San Francisco and considered one of the most indispensable civilian engineers at the organization. She had to be, because otherwise she would be labeled as insane for her rather… eccentric workflow.

Rumors include that Kaname once when not being stimulated enough with a project, had calculated the necessary redesign on an engine prototype such that if installed correctly could make the design building she worked in fly. In fact the rumor wasn’t that she considered this, there are documents to prove she did, the rumor was she had to be stopped from actually doing it. Other strange stories claim she once tested fuel additives to fusion impulse engines that were not typically considered such as various forms of candy. Most assume because she happened to have a bag of candy on her desk. She was no longer allowed to bring in candy.

Nonetheless, when at home Kaname, while no less strange a person, was a very focused mother. She raised Rumiho alone since the girl’s father, Starfleet Captain Kawamori Tadashi, had spent her entire life almost in space in different assignments. This was expected, her parents were only married for 2 years, and amicably divorced when Rumiho was an infant. Rumiho only knew her father through stylized logs and videos he’d sent home to her. She did meet him in person a few times as a child too.

Kaname glances up, “Ah… you’ve found a drifting freeloader and brought the poor soul home to be fed!” Kaname exclaims with some snark at the sight of Shouchi.

Shouchi, used to the humor after several years, snickers, “Konnichiwa Mitsuki-san, I couldn’t let Rumi-chan here not enjoy my wonderful company when she comes home!” she says, side-hugging Rumiho with a smirk.

“She might be avoiding her own studies…” Rumiho adds slyly.

“You’re always welcome to shirk life’s requirements as long as you don’t influence my girl with those thoughts.” Kaname said as she cooked.

“I don’t think anyone could stop Ms. Perfect Cadet here, haha. She’s got fire in her eyes!” Shouchi noted, making Rumiho feel slightly embarrassed. Another ping goes off from her handheld.

Rumiho looks and scoffs, firing off a response.

“For the most annoying idiot ever you sure do have a lot to say to that guy…” Shouchi added suggestively, causing Rumiho to go wide eyed in horror looking at Shouchi, almost pleading. The look confused Shouchi for a second until she felt the weight of a stare from across the room as Kaname leered in their direction.

Jiiiiiiiiii would be the sound if Kaname, who was staring with interest, expectation, and darkly evil abandon, had made any at all.

“There’s… a guy?” she said with a mischievous grin.

Even Shouchi was mildly concerned, “I will accept any punishment you so deem for I have sinned.” she says to Rumiho.

Rumiho sighs, “Mama… it’s just a senior Starfleet acquaintance I know who gives me advice sometimes.”

She said, technically not lying. She was lying though, her text chain with Tsurugi was anything but work related. It was, in fact, mostly banter.

Kaname’s dark looming stare receded, “If you say so…” she said turning around to get back to the food, “It’s a shame it’s not that nice Kansai Martian boy from the Incident, a real shame he had to go leave like all Starfleet people do…”

Rumiho felt a bead of sweat drop from her head, Shouchi patted her shoulder reassuringly. The reason she didn’t want her mom to know she was talking to Tsurugi is because her mom had some rather…. Forward ideas of how close they should be already. She also knew her mother wasn’t the most fond of Rumiho jumping into Starfleet like her father rather than staying close by home. The incident, meaning the Battle of Sol, had done little to quell these concerns.

“I promise I’ll always make time to visit Mama.” Rumiho said reassuringly, just avoiding the topic of Tsurugi right now. Kaname set out two glasses of tea for the girls.

“Still, I didn’t like being left alone so much. Speaking of which, I’ve been dating someone. Might get married again, dunno.” she said so suddenly and casually that Rumiho actually spat out her tea.

Shouchi instead just slapped the counter, “Nice! Go get it Mitsuki-san!” she said, cheering the woman on.

“When did this happen?!” Rumiho wondered.

“Oh I met him last year, he writes educational science books or something. Sweet man. There’s a benefit to you not living at home ya know… I don’t have to be quiet!” she says cheerfully.

Rumiho slams her head into the counter trying to erase the memory of that sentence. Shouchi in the meantime is doubled over in laughter.

Another ping, Rumiho takes a look, and stares for a second.

“Another suitor or the same?” Kaname wondered.

“She wouldn’t have the free time for one I think…” Shouchi said dryly.

“It’s Papa actually.” Rumiho said simply. Kaname made a ‘hrmm’ sound. She and Tadashi actually got along well, but she did have rather specific criticisms of his choice to pick his career and running around the galaxy over raising a family.

“Anything useful?” she wondered.

“He says he will be close enough for a direct subspace link in a few days. He wants to talk I guess.” Rumiho said. She knew what this was about. Tadashi had told her already he was reassigning closer by… well… to a border station in Aldebaran, so not that close, but closer. He had been suggesting she look into off world Academy annexes recently as a way to get real word experience while finishing studies, apparently this station had one. She had yet to broach the idea with her mother though.

Shouchi, who she did tell this to, looks sideways for a bit silently asking if she was going to say anything. Rumiho tilted her head, thinking.

“Mama… I should meet this new guy ya know, make sure he’s good enough.” Rumiho said instead.

“Ah, my little protector ready to fight him away if needed?” Kaname said in jest. She was the reason Rumiho was so proficient in self-defense as it was.

Rumiho smirks, “Like you’d need my help with that.”

Shouchi smiled at the banter between the two. While she had been Rumiho’s friend ever since that fateful day at that train station in high school, she never did get used to how weird this family was, but she was glad to know them.

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Chapter 2: Volcanic Emotions

Eranus Iota was a planet of tropical islands. Tsurugi liked to think of it as a place with 20 different Hawaii’s. It wasn’t really meant for large scale settlement, so naturally… It had 250 million residents across all those islands.

He sighed as he used a wrench to knock the rock wall in the cave he and other officers from the U.S.S. Salai were now stuck in.

The problem with a lot of the islands is they were very actively volcanic, to a detriment to settlers so the planet had a geological control system installed 75 years ago when it was settled. The system was designed to regulate magma and tectonic pressure activity so they could allow the planet to have healthy pressure relief cycles in locations that weren’t dangerous to nearby cities.

So when two of the largest volcanoes on the biggest chain of island cities started erupting in the past month it was clear the system was malfunctioning. This is what the Starfleet Corp of Engineers was dispatching the Salai to Eranus Iota for this week. Everything was great until the team sent deep into the mountainside to access an array node for the geologic control system got trapped by a cave-in caused by the power re-initialization of the system.

That is, they turned it off and back on and the reset to the tectonics caused the mountainside to collapse their entrance. Naturally the minerals in the cave blocked transporters.

“I’m telling you… She’s mad at us for turning it on. I feel it in my runes.” said Lt.JG Dilanis Ianto, known as Dilan to most others. The dark skinned man would be hard to see in the low light of the cave if it weren’t for the two tentacle-like runes peeking out from his long hair being lit up in a bio-luminescent way.

“I’m telling you… The volcano is not sentient…” Tsurugi said with mild annoyance. He liked Dilan, actually they’d gotten to be good friends, but Dilan was not one of the many engineers on the Salai, he was their Security escort. The problem now was his security brain was thinking the Volcano was attacking them.

“I don’t make up the feelings I pick up, there is a lot of pent up anger… or is that frustration?” Dilan said curiously.

He was a Zaphrinite, a lower tier Federation species notable for the empathic abilities granted by their runes, which contained some sort of neurally linked mineral bacteria that interacted with subspace on a low level. They allowed them to share emotions not unlike other telepathic species, but in a more nuanced way. Dilan was particularly known for using his emotional insights to aid in security operations. He could put that to use anywhere, but he was with the Salai because Zylara was the ship’s lead Materials specialist.

Zylara was also a Zaphrinite and Dilan’s rune mate, a sort of marriage but less legally binding. They had some sort of unbreakable empathic connection to each other. Tsurugi had yet to determine if it was really romantic or not, but if it was… they had something of an open relationship he had learned. The Salai was not a big ship being a Da Vinci class. Yes the name was on the nose.

Finally Tsurugi heard a different noise after tapping a wall with his wrench, “Aha… let’s see what we got here…” he said as he hit a control on his tricorder and the ocular implants in his eyes spun and started glowing. The implants were originally standard issue, giving him normal human eyesight back, but with some extra wavelength options. Tsurugi being the tinkerer, had been installing mods though. He was about to use what he called a ‘Detective mode’, which among other things functioned like x-ray vision. Dilan found this an entertaining and useful tool naturally, as Tsurugi’s use of it helped him out once, which led to their friendship over time.

“Tell me oh legendary one, what do your hero eyes see?” Dilan said, “The others say our air recycler doesn’t have much power left.”

There were 3 other ship crew members with them in the cave, they were focused more on trying to keep everyone alive while Tsurugi looked for a way out.

“There’s a hollowed out lava tube behind this rock face. I think if we get precise with the phasers we can open up a path and use it to get outside and make contact with the ship. Gonna be slow going.” Tsurugi explained. Dilan was already setting his weapon.

“So gentle, but daring. Like handling the ladies.” Dilan said with a smirk. Tsurugi wanted to hit him for that but he was handling a weapon now in an area that already caved in once.

As he began opening up an exit passage, Tsurugi collapsed his grav wrench and put in a cargo pocket on his uniform, checking his handheld briefly.

“You better not be getting texts from your girlfriend still.” Dilan said as he worked.

“No single is blocked there too, you know this, you can feel when the messages come in on my device. Actually probably why you are paranoid about the volcano, you can’t feel subspace signals in here. Also not my girlfriend.” he said, the latter referring to his ongoing and frequent message exchanges with Mitsuki Rumiho.

The girl had forbidden any notion of the idea that Tsurugi could pursue her in any way other than friendship while she was a cadet. This was smart of course, and he had learned she was incredibly smart too, more so than she allows people to see. In all truth most of their conversations were filled with banter.

Tsurugi wasn’t a flirt by nature but he was convinced Rumiho was playing off it intentionally and her annoyance was part of the game they played. If it wasn’t she’d have stopped reacting in verbally threatening ways to him over a year ago in the time they’d been talking. Tsurugi wasn’t afraid to admit he was kind of into that. They may not be dating, but they were playing 3D Chess by means of subspace texting.

Dilan’s phaser finally broke through into the lava tube and a rush of fresh air hit them. The group sighed with some relief as Dilan worked to widen the opening for them, “And another group of engineers saved from certain doom.” he added.

“My condolences to Zyl.” Tsurugi said with a chuckle.

“Hahah, bet you she has a headache cause she can’t feel my runes while we were blocked off.” Dilan added in amusement as he finished the exit. Slowly the group started shuffling along the tube, which was a bit bumpy so it was more like a rocky hike, in the dark.

“So all the system needed was a reboot then?” Dilan asked about the geological control systems.

“Nah I just reset it as a temp fix, the thing is out of date and in need of some serious upgrades. Gotta deliver the details to the Chief when we get back.” Tsurugi explains and points people to the right direction to move in, he was the only one at the moment capable of low light vision thanks to his implants.

“Tropical paradise must have been really worth it… you’d think they’d have local techs.” Dilan wondered.

“Hardly, this is a place where old people retire after they get tired of working and enjoying resort worlds like Risa and Casperia Prime. I’d bet there are very few young people that grow up here that don’t leave for something more exciting.” Tsurugi explains the planet.

“I take it that means contractors don’t want to be stuck here either.” Dilan surmised.

“Would you want to run security for a planet of aging retirees enjoying the beach without the party scene?” Tsurugi asked.

“Yikes…” was all he said.

Eventually they found their way to the exit and the sunlight hit them as they stepped into open air. One of the others in the party started making contact with the ship. Dilan meanwhile was stretching and shaking his hair a bit.

“Agh… that’s so much better!” he said, perhaps basking in feeling the subtle subspace fluctuations of any brain waves other than the people in their party, and likely though the ship was in orbit, Zylara as well. Tsurugi was not entirely clear if prolonged distance from each other was actually harmful to them or not… But it did seem like there was a withdrawal effect.

“Is she pissed?” Tsurugi asked him.

“Oh yeah, absolutely. Oh hey… your PADD is blowing up now too, see if yours is annoyed.” he said, sensing Tsurugi’s handheld was receiving backlogged messages.

“Not mine, and she knows I’m on duty anyway.” he said, not admitting that he’d be ok if she was annoyed. He thought it was funny when Rumiho was angry with him. He still recalled that she looked pretty cute when aggravated.

He checked his messages and sure enough she had made some sort of backhanded comment in the time since he was cut off. Mostly because she was asking questions related to ship design lately. Seems she was setting up for a trip to meet her father who was a Captain on an experimental model of Sovereign class. She seemed as if she wanted to impress him. He had been told by now the family dynamic she had.

His initial thoughts were that it was unfortunate she barely knew her father but he encouraged the opportunity to change that. He also thought her mother sounded like an engineering goddess and he told Rumiho he wanted to worship her at an altar. That always got a good reaction.

This time though he replied that he wished she wanted to impress him as much as a Captain Daddy. He smirked as he pocketed the phone.

“Dude… I can feel that you know…” Dilan said, looking at him and sensing the feelings coming from Tsurugi.

“Just another day in paradise.” Tsurugi said with a smile to him as they looked out over the island.

Dilan laughed, “Living the dream buddy, living the dream.” as they were beamed up to the ship.

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OOC This is a special double length chapter… no special reason, I just had no self control when I wrote it because I never wrote much on Shadowfax lore before now. I did at once point consider writing a series of shorts about the ship. Maybe I still will one day. Enjoy the backdoor pilot that might never lead anywhere.


Chapter 3: The Holy Floating Head of the Shadowfax

Floating in the absence of standard gravity was always an enlightening experience. Rumiho could generally feel stuff in the artificial atmospheres of spacecraft better. A slight wobble in the air around her made her open her eyes, she was facing the shuttlecraft’s ceiling at the moment.

Swinging her legs slowly she reoriented at the cockpit to confirm what she suspected, the shuttle had dropped out of warp and the computer had begun orienting it toward a larger object in the vicinity.

Reaching out to slowly re-establish gravity plating, which dialed up slowly to 0.75G giving her time to acclimate before it returned to full. She moved to the flight seat and hailed the nearby ship.

“U.S.S. Shadowfax, Shuttlecraft Lycoris, arriving in proximity for rendezvous.” she sent on the standard frequency. The ship shortly replied, a female voice.

“Lycoris, copy arrival. Sending vectors for docking action. Doors open in five, ping tractor control at 100 meters.” a communications officer replied.

“Copy Shadowfax, setting flight path, will direct to shuttle control.” She confirmed and began setting the shuttle to follow a path to landing in the ship’s main shuttlebay on computer control.

The Shadowfax was quite a sight. This was the first time Rumiho had seen the ship in person, but her father had sent photos and digital models before too.

The ship was nominally considered a Sovereign class ship, though it didn’t follow the typical load out and trim of one. This ship was a custom job according to what her father told her.

How did he explain it again? She tried to recall.

Instead of trying to recall she pulled out her handheld and fired off a quick text.

「Shadowfax ついてどのよう説明した?」
(Shadowfax tsuite dono yō setsumei shita?)

Rumiho typed, asking Tsurugi how he described Shadowfax in an earlier conversation after he had looked up information on it.

He replied with,

「スクロールアップ。」
(Sukurōruappu.)

‘Scroll up.’ Rumiho sighed in annoyance.

「 持ってない。」
(Mottenai.)

She replied she didn’t have that message anymore.

He must have had the chat log still because he replied far too fast with a lot of text, Rumiho read through it quickly.

Shadowfax was a late era Block 4 build of the Sovereign class family incorporating both standard and up to date systems and technology from a number of existing variants and incorporating some then-prototype elements of the now-in-service Archon class. The latter was easy to spot, Rumiho noticed, as the ship sported a chevron main hull section indicative of the Archon subclass of the Sovereign Block 5. The rest of it looked more like a traditional Sovereign, though the devil was, as they say, in the details.

Rumiho didn’t fully understand it as she wasn’t an engineer like either of her parents or Tsurugi, but supposedly while custom variants like this were not as outwardly common, it was true that even among same class ships there were hundreds of tiny little differences and 2 identical looking ships were rarely 100% identical as each ship is made with slightly improved or updated technologies or designs than the next when spread out over a long term design life.

This as opposed to bulk order ships she had read about, usually coming after big rebuilds like the Inquiry fleet following the loss of Utopia Planitia or the recent explosion in subclass variants following the Iconian War. The Sovereign was an older, but very reliable ship family. She wasn’t an engineer, but as a spaceflight enthusiast and starship flight operator in training, she couldn’t resist getting a nice look before her shuttle was pulled into the shuttle bay by tractor beam.

After completing landing procedures and shutting down the shuttle engines, she made sure to Safe the craft as she opened the hatch and grabbed her bag, stepping out into a rather spacious shuttle hanger. The walls in darker colors sank the bright lighting giving it a faux natural light look to it rather than a washed out glowing wall look of some other Starfleet interiors.

Taking a few steps with a look around, she was greeted by a deep male’s voice she had heard many times in messages.

“This isn’t even the impressive part yet.” he said as she refocused to see the man stepping up to meet her. Wearing the ship’s local uniform variant, a take on the new Odyssey standard with some relocated color sections and a slightly older badge type, was the ship’s commanding officer: Captain Kawamori Tadashi. Aka, Rumiho’s somewhat estranged father.

“Pap… ahem… Captain, Cadet Mitsuki reports as ordered.” she said, correcting herself and handing out her PADD with her orders document. She wasn’t in the chain of command on this ship and was officially just visiting. The travel was under official orders however, as she was rendezvousing to take her to Deep Space 13 for her transfer to the station’s Academy Annex. Tadashi had managed to get the travel to line up with his own transfer to command of the local fleet operating in the area.

Tadashi chuckled a bit, “Nice catch, Orders received Cadet, You can consider yourself relieved of duty for now. Eric will take your bag to guest quarters. I was asked to stop by the bridge for a minute, so you can get a peak now if you like. Formal tour can come later.” he said as a crewman came up to take her bag for her. She wasn’t going to say no to seeing her father’s bridge even if only for a bit.

Relaxing, Rumiho stretched, “Thanks papa.” she said this time. He smirked, turning to lead her as they walked to the shuttle hanger exit.

“Is your hair always so… vibrant?” he wondered aloud.

“As regs allow.” she said with no further explanation.

“I suppose I’m not one to talk anyway.” he added with some mirth. Tadashi had a rather unorthodox look for a ship Captain. Unlike the archetypal senior officer with proper cut, the man had neck length stylized hair. Supposedly he was known informally by nicknames like ‘Anime Spaceman’ and according to one strange official communication record, ‘Holy Floating Head.’

“It’s neat to see your ship up close finally! It feels like finally visiting a historical location from a show, hehe.” she says, referring to the stories Tadashi often sent home to her of his adventures via subspace.

“She’s running smoothly now, we just finished a refit at 39 Sierra before departing for DS13. Logged almost 2500 light years across the mission before we came back to the core sectors. Feels like early days again. Engines are happy, though Lotty is still tripping over default settings from drydock.” he explained. Rumiho had heard ship engineers get set in their customized way of working and refits were dreaded because everything got reset. She also recalled ‘Lotty’ referring to LCDR Charlotte Kavanaugh, the Chief Engineer on record for the ship.

Rumiho nodded along politely. She could feel the awkwardness between them.

Tadashi and Rumiho spoke and had met in person in the past… a couple of times anyway. He may have been her father but his duties basically meant he was pretty much not involved in her childhood at all. This and that he and her mother had divorced in Rumiho’s infancy was also why she had her mother’s surname.

They entered the turbolift, “I know you aren’t as interested in the engineering metrics, sorry, old habits. Kaname-san eats that stuff up… well she did, now she gives me that ‘stop talking about your obsession’ look.” he said, more amused than bothered.

Rumiho snickered, “Her patience is as small as her attention span, I got that look a lot… especially if I talked about Starfleet things.”

“Heheh, yeah that tracks. Bridge.” he said to the lift, “I’ll show you the part you’ll like before I take you to quarters. Be warned, we don’t have a standard bridge layout. I consulted early on in the build to design something different but we’ve had to restructure things pretty radically over the years too.”

“Hai, As long as I’m not in the way.” she added.

“Nah, it’s a quick visit. Later we can have you on to get a proper tour of all the senior stations and other ship areas if you like.” he said, sighing a bit, “We’ll figure out how to do this eventually.” he said, this time not talking about the ship, but about the two of them. It was an acknowledgement that they weren’t very accustomed to each other.

Rumiho nodded, “Thanks for the chance to get to know you Papa.” she said. He didn’t have to reassign Shadowfax from the frontier at all. He took a new mission in local patrol and short range exploratory analysis specifically because Rumiho could attend the Academy Annex in the same sector. It wasn’t a permanent change she knew. It was a waste of this ship’s usefulness, but he seemed dedicated to being around until she graduated.

He nodded, the lift door opened to a short corridor. He fixed a bit of hair and straightened his face, “Hold onto yourself.” he said as he stepped forward.

Walking through the opening to the bridge, an automated voice sounded off almost instantly, “Kanchou, Burijji-in.” with a volume loud enough to ensure the entire deck knew he had arrived.

Rumiho thought it funny the computer announced ‘Captain on the Bridge’ not just in Japanese but also… kinda informally. She figured Kanchou was spelled 艦長 which was a rather nostalgic term like ‘Shipmaster’ but could easily be seen as the title of Captain as opposed to the rank. The part that was funny was burijji-in, it was just ‘Bridge in’ spoken in romanized Japanese as loan words. It wasn’t even a real sentence. She suspected the voice said burijji-auto when he left.

Her dad was kinda silly, she thought, for setting that up. It was kinda neat though too. She stepped across the threshold after him and the entire expanse of the bridge deck engulfed her vision. Her eyes widened because Tadashi wasn’t lying, this was not a typical Starfleet ship bridge.

Instead of a traditional enclosed room with a variety of consoles situated around one or a few central chairs, the entire deck was an open floor plan with at least two levels, but there could easily have been more she couldn’t see below.

The top level, where they exited onto, stretched out from the back entrance like an island with two forward console stations each occupied, on the right side of the island was what looked like an Ops station. She guessed the right hand forward station was Conn (aka flight officer or helm, what she was training to do).

The left side that is usually Ops on most ships was unclear, though the Commander at it matched the photo of the ship executive officer that Rumiho had looked up earlier. No central chair sat in the middle of the island. In fact it was clear both by looking, and the fact Tadashi had moved over to it, that his station was off to the left slightly and in the back if you are facing the viewscreen. It wasn’t just a chair but also a sort of mini-desk and console of its own with readouts of some kind.

Just off the top level area to the left was a rather impressive looking sensor globe projected as a hologram that seemed to be a mixture of an astrogation unit as well as reading nearby transponders and relative position and vectors of ships. Rumiho could make out what looked like the trail of her shuttle in a looped replay that seemed to be going on. There was currently one officer at that station.

At first glance it was hard to see the view screen with all that visual distraction, but as Rumiho took a second to look around past the central island she finally realized she couldn’t see the screen in front because there wasn’t a central screen at all. The entire bridge bulkhead was a main screen that wrapped around the room displaying a faux exterior view from the bridge of space with digital screens and information being displayed centrally on the wall screen as needed.

It was so overwhelming that she only just realized her father snickering a bit at her reaction.
“Gomennasai… You were right, this is… unique.” she admitted.

“And that’s just the base stuff, it’s normal for people’s minds to ignore the unusually uninteresting sight because it just doesn’t register immediately.” he said somewhat confusingly.

“Hmm?” she said with a tilt of her head to one side.

He reached to turn her to look to the right side of the bridge, she started in surprise as she found herself looking at what seemed to be the head of… something… about 3 meters tall on its own rising up from below the upper island level and taking up a fairly large about of the right hand side of the bridge. The alien was of a species she had never seen before, but its head seemed to not be entirely organic as it has a pseudo-metallic matte look to it. It turned slightly, looking at her as parts on the ‘face’ as such it was parted and moved and a reverberating voice came out.

“Greetings, you must be the Cadet Mitsuki that Kanchou was describing. Well met fellow star traveler.” the large alien said.

A smaller woman in uniform, a skirt variant Rumiho noticed as others had them too but not every female officer did, walked up. She had light purple skin with some form of tendril like appendages instead of hair on her head and silver eyes, she spoke a soft soothing tone,

“Don’t let his appearance intimidate you, Telos is a giant plushie, I promise.” she says, giving a form of wink to Rumiho as she continues walking on after dropping a PADD in Tadashi’s hand.

“Nani…?” She says simply before collecting herself and giving a light bow to the being known as Telos and other bridge officers that have taken notice of her presence and reaction, “Hello, I’m Cadet Mitsuki, traveling on board for a few days. Thank you for having me and nice to meet you all.” she says, more formally than it seems anyone on the bridge felt is necessary… well except the XO, she seemed like the type to have a forever neutral expression.

Tadashi pats Rumiho’s shoulder, “It’s a lot, I know.”

The Conn officer smiled and waved to her, the XO simply nodded, and a few others gave approving and reassuring looks as well. It was only then that it dawned on Rumiho…

“Papa…” she said slowly.

“Hmm?”

“Is your entire bridge staff…” she started to ask but unsure if it was rude to point out. Eventually the woman from earlier, who wore a Chief Petty Officer insignia on her collar walked by, aiming for a ramp on the right that led down off the island and toward Telos’… station? It was unclear at the moment what was down there. She paused as she walked by Tadashi and Rumiho and as if knowing what Rumiho was thinking she chimed in.

“Yes, the entire bridge staff is female except for the Captain and Telos… and we only assume Telos counts as male, they claim the distinction is irrelevant.” she says with a bubbly shrug and a smile as she cheerfully heads off to whatever duty she was carrying out, PADD in hand. Rumiho made a guess she was some form of staff NCO.

Rumiho slowly looked over at her father, “The entire bridge is women?” she asked a bit incredulously.

Tadashi looked pensive at first, “Are they? Hmm… I hadn’t noticed.” he says, unconvincingly, and turns, “Come on, let’s get you settled. We’ll come back later to make full introductions and such.” he says, leading her back to the turbolift corridor.

“Coward…” his XO said with a mild shake of her head.

“Don’t take your eyes off those monitors!” Tadashi said in reply, to the entire bridge it seems, this was met with a few grins and smirks. An inside joke perhaps.

Of course, as they walked into the lift, “Kanchou, burijji-auto.”

She called it.

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