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Title: Out of Communications Range
Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Genre: Humour
Rating & Warnings: PG (language, reference to sexual content)
Words: 615
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Summary: When O'Brien doesn't answer Sisko's hail over his combadge, Sisko and Odo assume the worst. In this case, however, their pessimism may not be called for--and may, in fact, make things a touch awkward.
Author's Notes: Because everyone in Star Trek jumps to conclusions way too often, and it has to have bitten them in the ass at least once or twice over the years.

If you like what you've read, please consider supporting me on Patreon! I'm currently minimally employed, so every little bit helps.

"So what you're saying, Constable," Sisko summarised, "is that it would take a highly experienced engineer to get past the force fields we've set up."

"Correct. And since our last sighting of Alloran was on Level Four of the habitat ring. . . ."

"Let's hope she doesn't decide to pay the Chief a visit," Sisko finished. He tapped his combadge. "Sisko to O'Brien."

No response. Sisko shared a look with Odo before trying again. "Sisko to O'Brien. Chief, are you all right?"

Silence.

"Computer, locate Miles O'Brien."

"Miles O'Brien is in his quarters," the computer reported.

"She could have removed his combadge and left it behind to throw us off the trail," Odo suggested.

"Maybe. Let's find out for sure."

Even with disabling and re-enabling the force fields as they went, it took little time for the two of them to reach the Chief's quarters. Sisko rang the doorchime, but, as he'd expected, there was no response.

"Computer, initiate emergency security override, authorisation Sisko-One-Alpha."

He drew his phaser, slapped the door panel, and rushed inside before the doors had finished parting.

The main living area was empty and silent. Sisko gestured for Odo to search Molly's room and the spare one on the left; he would check the O'Briens' bedroom on the right.

Silently, Sisko slid forward. His heartbeat was loud in his ears, but his hand remained steady. He halted just outside the limits of the door sensor to take in and let out a breath.

Then he lunged forward, phaser primed. The doors slid open, and—

"What the fuck?"

"Shit!"

Sisko had just enough time to get an eyeful of Miles and Keiko O'Brien, both very surprised and very naked, before he'd whipped himself right out of the room. He leaned against the main room's wall, hand over his face.

Immediately, Odo was out of Molly's bedroom and striding toward him. "What is it, Captain?"

"Don't" —Sisko held up his hand— "don't go in there, Constable. And it would be a good idea to step out of sight of the doorway."

Odo stopped, frowning. "And why is that?"

"Just . . . trust me on this."

"All right."

He sounded dubious, but he joined Sisko next to the wall all the same. Only once Odo had settled in, arms crossed, did Sisko slide his foot along the floor just enough to catch the sensors.

The moment the door opened, the Chief's voice rang out. "Captain, what the hell is going on?"

"Sorry, Chief," he called back. "When you didn't answer my hail, the Constable and I thought you were in trouble."

"Odo's there too?"

"I am. Why didn't you answer?"

"I was busy!"

"Too busy to answer a simple hail?" Odo demanded.

"Yes, actually. He was," Sisko cut in. At least he could spare O'Brien that small piece of embarrassment. "All right, Chief, we'll let you . . . finish up. Contact us as soon as you're done."

"I'm definitely finished now," Sisko just barely heard him mutter; there was a snort from Professor O'Brien. Then, louder: "Yessir."

"Good. And keep your doors locked—Odo and I are on the trail of a fugitive who was last seen in this area." He couldn't help his smile. "We wouldn't want her walking in on you as well."

". . . No, sir."

Sisko pulled his foot back; the door to the O'Briens' bedroom shut again. Only then did he sigh.

Odo gave him a look. "Now can I ask what's going on?"

"You can—but trust me, you don't want to know." He crossed the room to the front door and raised his phaser once more. "Come on, Constable. We have a criminal to catch."
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