CHAPTER 10 A
Once the decision was made, Natalia lost no time in working out the details. She tried to visit each ship of survivors from Marcus Prime. That meant that she was away from Andromeda the last few days before the rescue ships arrived. She talked to Kacey, several times a day. She made no mention of her plans. With each call, she felt Kacey withdraw farther from her. Natalia knew it was because Kacey did not want to pressure her or influence her decision. After she overheard Kacey and Patricia, Natalia talked to Patricia and Anya as well as Kate. They promised to keep her secret. Kate had been working on getting everything approved.
Kacey stayed in her quarters after Natalia left to visit her people. She knew she was not good company so she stayed away from everyone. She spent time working on her music. She was composing a special piece of music she hoped she would be able to play for Natalia. Her fingers itched to pick up her violin to lose herself for awhile in her music.
"Damn shoulder" She said several times a day. She sat down at the key board and played the notes she had written. One handed playing did not give her a true feeling for the melody. The true test would be how the music sounded on the violin. The day the ships arrive broke all her resolve. The Doctor removed the final brace and just had a muscle wrap on her upper arm for support. She wore her usual around the quarters clothes.
She picked up her violin, tuned it and rosined her bow. As she started to play. Her arm felt stiff and clumsy . She hit several wrong notes until she felt her fingers fall in the rhythm of the notes. The music filtered out into the corridor.
Natalia in her new clothes, along with Kacey's family in their dress uniforms gathered in the corridor. They listened to the music for a short time. A military honor guard waited for their commander.
"At least it is not that noise she plays when she works out." Patricia said. "That noise can rupture your each drums."
When Kacey hit a wrong note Kate said. "That is not a recording mom."
"Kate ring the bell." Patricia ordered. Kate rang the bell and they waited for a response that did not come. "Liam use your code."
"Aye Patsy darling." He moved in front of the key pad. Blocked the pad from view and pushed the code. Once the code was entered, the door slid open. The group silently entered and listen to Kacey play. Natalia stood behind the family hidden from view. Kacey, oblivious to her audience kept playing. Liam taking in his daughter's barely covered form, closed his eyes.
Natalia whispered to Anya "I thought everyone exaggerated her talent, but she is incredible. Even the recordings do not do her justice."
"Yes she is. She gets so lost in the music, she does not even realize we are here." Anya responded.
When the piece ended they applauded. The applause caught Kacey completely off guard. She turned to see her family watching her. Patricia stood with her arms folded and a frown on her face. A blush crept up her face.
"Did the Doctor okay this?" Patricia demanded.
"When he was here earlier said I could start to use my arm. As long as I took it easy." Patricia sniffed in disbelief.
"Kacey would ye mind putting some clothes on?" Liam stated with his eyes closed.
"I am covered, dad."
"Not by much lassie." He responded.
"We can discus this later. Right now you need to get into your dress uniform."
"What the hell for? Why is everyone dressed up"
"We have a ceremony to attend. In the bedroom now Kacey" Patricia ordered. "Kate give me a hand." The two women hustled Kacey into the bedroom.
"This is going to be good." Liam said. "Natalia, stay out of site."
He made it way to the storage area where Kacey stored her supply of liquor. Anya took glasses and a tray from cabinet and set them on the counter. Liam helped himself to a glass of Irish whiskey. He poured Natalia and Anya glasses of wine. He also poured one for his wife. For Kate and Kacey he poured brandy. Anya gave milk to the girls and made them sit at the table. When they walked out of the bedroom twenty minutes later he handed them their drinks. Kacey placed her saber, hat and gloves on the chair and accepted her drink.
"Katie, would ye do the honors?"
"I would Liam." Kate answered. "Colonel it is my great pleasure to introduce you to our newest crewman. Had to pull a few strings to get this approved, but please welcome crewman Natalia Esperanza." Natalia stepped out of the shadows in her new dress uniform.
Kacey was speechless. Her breath caught in her chest. A nudge from Kate started her breathing again.
"How did... when did..."
"Does this mean you are happy over these events?"
"Hell yes I am happy." She met Natalia half way and leaned down to lightly kiss her. "I really wanted you to stay, but did not want to pressure you."
"I know, we can talk later."
"Hey you two we have a toast to make." Liam stated.
"Sorry Dad." Kacey took a step back.
"To crewman Natalia Esperanza, welcome to the crew of the Andromeda and to our family."
"Here, here" Every one raised their glasses.
"Welcome aboard Natalia. I still have a question. Why the fancy clothes?"
"This is only the start. Now finish getting dressed so that we are not late." Patricia ordered.
Kacey picked up her saber and attached it to her belt, where it banged against her leg. The high gloss shine of her shoes reflected the light. She pulled on her gloves and placed her hat squarely on her head at the regulation distance. She checked her reflection to assure herself that the uniform was correctly worn.
"Your arm please Colonel" Natalia said with a smile. Patricia took Liam's arm, Kate took Anya's. With the twins leading the way they left Kacey's quarters. When Kacey stood in the door way, Natalia stopped until they heard. "Ten hut" Four of her Marines waited for her. They saluted. Kacey returned their salute.
"We are your Honor Guard Colonel. Please come with us." Two Marines walked to the front of the group as two walked behind Kacey and Natalia. Kacey shrugged. They stepped off in precision.
To be continued...
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