In 2179, he was promoted to the rank of captain, and was given command of the newly commissioned USS Benjamin Franklin, and he choose DePalma as his first officer. Ikushima's first mission was to apprehend a pirate named "Billy Devil". Ikushima defeated a fleet of pirate vessels in Sol's asteroid belt, called the Battle of the Belt, but was unable to capture the pirate who committed suicide.
Two years later, while on patrol, Ikushima was exposed to fatal levels of radiation during an overload of his ship's impulse reactor. After the engineering crew was incapacitated, Ikushima knowingly exposed himself to the radiation while attempting to prevent a meltdown that would have destroyed the ship, saving the crew at the cost of his life. (TNG novel: The Haunted Starship)