Natalia spent several days going over the reports from the persons involved with the case against Sergeant Castor. She interviewed all those involved, and decided that she also needed to talk to the Sergeant.

Natalia still stayed in Kacey's quarters. Technically she should have been assigned a place in the crew quarters. Because of her friendship with Kacey, she was allowed to remain. Kacey had not yet been released to return to her duties and began to chafe under the restrictions.

They spent their time talking and getting to know each other. Their relationship had not progressed past the kissing stage. Neither was ready to take that step.

Most of the former residents of Marcus Prime had all been transferred to the rescue ships and were earth bound. A few received permission to remain on the Andromeda. Extra supplies had been loaded into the cargo and storage bays. The ship continued on its journey.

Over morning coffee, Natalia informed Kacey about her plans to interview the Sergeant.

"Absolutely not." Kacey stated. "You are not to go within twenty feet of him. Request denied."

"You forget Colonel, you are not my commanding officer. That will be up to Captain Jensen to decide." Natalia countered. "Kacey, in order to prosecute the best I know how, I have to talk to everyone, including him. I have a meeting with the Captain shortly to get her permission."

"If Kate gives you permission, I will go with you."

"No you can not."

"Why the hell not?"

"Kacey, you will be testifying against him. You can not be privy to what he says to me."

"I will hear it all at the trial anyway. What difference does it make when I hear it?"

"The information could color your testimony."

"Then you will have an armed escort." Kacey stated.

"He is behind bars he..." At Kacey's look she stopped. "An armed guard it is." Natalia stood on tiptoe and kissed Kacey's cheek. "What are your plans today?"

"I have to go see the Doc. Hopefully he will release me to return to duty. Even desk duty is better than no duty. Then I may go visit with mom or work on that new piece of music."

"Meet me for lunch?"

"Certainly, thirteen hundred hours good for you? One p.m. in regular terms."

"Ha ha I knew that. I will be there." Natalia picked up her computer and left their quarters. Kacey left shortly after her.

Kacey wandered the ship after she left Sick Bay. Her exam by the Doctor was not as good as she wanted. She did score a minor victory by getting the Doctor to allow her to return to desk duty with absolutely no flying. She had a little bounce in her step after she left Sick Bay. She went to the Hanger to visit with her crew. She had visited almost daily and missed the action and interaction with her crew. She checked out the repairs to her shuttle. She had yet to view the entire video. All she had seen was the short clip shown at the awards ceremony. Maybe it was time to watch the whole thing. 'No, why do I need to see it. I lived it. I do not need to see the damn thing to show me what I did. But maybe just the part Kate and the General teased me about. Kate has the code. ' She thought. 'Quit kidding yourself O'Malley you just want to know if Kate gave Natalia permission to talk to Castor.' So do it" She said out loud.

"Colonel O'Malley to Captain Jensen"

"Go ahead Colonel."

"Kate are you free?"

"Sure come on up to the Bridge."

Kacey walked off the lift watched the view screen. "Sure makes a person feel small and insignificant."

"Come into the Ready Room. Commander you have the Bridge."

"Aye Katie."

Kate walked to her desk. "Coffee or are you still on a two cup a day restriction?"

"Thankfully that restriction has lifted. Although mom still acts like it is not. I would love a cup."

"What have you been up to? I have not seen you in a couple days."

"Oh I have been really busy, wandering the decks."

"Bored little sister?"

"Younger sister Kate and hell yes I am bored. Doc has finally released me for desk duty only, starting Monday. He has not cleared me for flying yet.

"Is that wise?" Kate asked. "Mom will not like that at all. Have you told her yet?"

"Natalia and I are having lunch in the mess hall today. I will tell her then. Hopefully she will not yell too much in public. Speaking of Natalia."

"The real reason for your visit." Kate said with a smile. "Before you ask, I gave her permission to talk to the Sergeant."

"Kate." Kacey interrupted.

Kate held up her hand to stop her protest. "I agreed, with the stipulation that she has an armed guard of your choosing. You can not be one of them. Neither can anyone who witnessed his behavior. I mean it Kacey you can not be any where near the Brig when Natalia talks to Castor."

"I won't Kate. I know just the two Marines to assign her."

"Do it." Kate ordered. "Anything else on your mind?"

"Yeah there is. I am not sure how to tell you this without sounding like a complete goof."

"Can't be all that bad. Are you and Natalia getting along all right?"

"She is very easy to talk to."

"Talk? Kacey do not tell me that all you two do together is talk."

"Of course not Kate. We laugh and joke around, she listens to me play. We kiss."


"And nothing."

"Do you find her desirable?"

"Hell yes, but..."

A thought jumped into Kate's mind. "Kacey have you ever had sexual relations with anyone?".

"No. Damn it. Kate, here I am twenty eight and still uncharted territory. I think I was the last living virgin over the age of 10 on Earth. Something that belongs in a museum. Do not even think about laughing."

"No Kacey I will not laugh. What about Natalia?"

"I think she has the same problem as I do."

"It is not a problem little sister."

"What if when the time comes, I can not... do not know what to do?"

At that admission Kate did smile. She opened her personal computer. Then typed several lines and hit send." I just sent you some reading material. The information on those pages helped me, I am sure they will help you."

"You? But you and Anya..."

"We were not always an old married couple. There was a time when we needed the information I just sent you.

"Please do not tell mom. She still sees me as a child sometimes. I do not want to give her any new ammunition."

"Your secret is safe with me, Kacey. One final piece of advice. Relax. Things will happen when they happen. Let nature lead you through."

"I will try. Now I had better let you get back to work. Thanks Kate."

"You are very welcome."

They walked out of the Ready room together. Kacey headed for the lift then down to the Hanger, while Kate went to her chair. Liam looked at Kate who smiled.

"Every thing all right Katie? I did not hear any yelling."

"Everything is fine Liam. Just some girl talk."

"Ahh" was all he said.

To be continued...

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