Go to Prologue
"Hold on you two." Kate said as Kacey and Natalia were leaving the courtroom.
"What's up Kate?" Kacey turned. "We were just on our way to a hot shower and stiff drink or four."
"After today we could all use that. but I need to talk to the both of you first."
"All right. Walk with us. I may even be persuaded to share my brandy with you." Kacey stated.
"Tell you what. I will join you in one hour. I want to get out of my dress uniform and shower myself. Castor has left me feeling dirty."
"One hour it is."
They parted company at Kate's quarters. Kacey and Natalia continued down the corridor to their quarters.
"You grab a shower first while I get the drinks set up. Who knows I may even find some snacks to hold us over until dinner." Kacey stated.
"I will not argue with that. Make the drink strong."
"You got it sweetheart." The endearment stopped Natalia.
"You know Colonel, that is the second time you have called me sweetheart. I think I like hearing that." She stood on tiptoes and kissed Kacey
"I definitely like that." Kacey stated with a smile. "Go shower or we will still be standing here when Kate arrives."
Natalia left. In the bedroom she stripped out of her dress uniform and grabbed leisure clothes. They were off duty, so there was no reason to remain in uniform.
Kacey put a disc in the machine and soft sounds of violin music played. She went to the kitchen took down a tray on which she placed glasses. She filled the ice bucket and put that on the tray next to the glasses. Next she took out brandy, whiskey and wine and brought everything to the living room. She searched her storage areas for something they could snack on. What little she found she brought into the living room. She gave a passing thought on reading more of the information Kate sent her. But with Natalia in the next room, she did not want to take the chance of Natalia finding out she was a complete innocent in the art of making love. She heard the shower shut off. Natalia came out of the bedroom shortly after.
"Ready for your drink? I did not know what you felt like having."
"I can wait until you shower. A person really should not drink alone. Go shower Colonel."
"Yes ma'am." Kacey saluted and left the room. She took off her dress uniform and hung it neatly in the closet. Her hat and gloves went into a special box which she place on the shelf. She grabbed her comfortable clothes, but changed her mind and grabbed sweats instead.
Natalia heard the shower start and went to her computer. She debated bringing up the information Kate sent her, but decided to wait until she was alone. It would not do for the worldly self assured Colonel to find out that she did not know the first thing about love or making love. She left the computer alone. Natalia sat on the couch leaned her head back and closed her eyes. She listened to the music. Sure the musician was Kacey herself.
The shower shut off and a few minutes later, Kacey walked out fluffing her short hair as she walked. She had just put on her communicator when it beeped to indicate a private message coming in. "Kate to Kacey"
"I wanted to give you warning to make sure you are decently dressed and not in those rags you love to wear. Liam is coming with me."
"Already thought of that Kate. Nothing indecent showing."
"Be there shortly. Kate out."
Within ten minutes the door chimed. "Come in" Kacey called out.
Kate and Liam entered. Liam was out of uniform as this was his off time.
He sat down and poured himself a drink." So what is it that you girls are up to, to be pulling me away from some very enjoyable down time with your mother?"
"Dad, that is way more information that I wanted to hear. Parents do not have sex."
"Kacey lass, don't ye be thinking that your mother and I have only had sex once."
"Dad" Kacey protested again.
"I agree with Kacey on this Liam. What you two get up to is none of our business."
Liam laughed as Kacey poured drinks for Kate, Natalia and herself. "All right girls I will not harm your sensibilities any more. So what is this meeting all about?"
"It's about the trial Liam."
"Your mother was not above bragging about the great job you girls did earlier. What she saw of it anyway."
"We found out some additional information, Liam," Kate said. "Castor is General Eden's son. He changed his name to cover up all the assaults and rapes he committed. The General was able to cover up his crimes and get his file locked. We were able to open his file and found out that the last person he raped was a thirteen year old girl who died during the assault. The General could not cover that up so he sent Castor on this mission."
"Good lord. Will ye be wanting me to get a firing squad ready?"
"No not yet. He has been stripped of all rank and dishonorably discharge. In addition he is confined to the Brig and will under armed guard, be on garbage duty for the duration of the voyage."
"I fell sorry for the guard. It is not exactly a rose garden there. What is it that you are needing me to do Katie?"
"I need you to be ready to assume command of the ship in the event I am demoted."
"That will not happen Kate." Kacey argued.
"It most certainly can. I forwarded a copy of the trial to the Joint Chiefs. There is also a meeting called for tomorrow morning that you both have to be present for. The mission could also be scrubbed."
"They will not be doing that Katie." Liam assured her. "After the hundreds of billions of dollars they spent getting this ship in the air, it would be an embarrassment for them. They do not like to be embarrassed."
"Once they see that video, they can not demote you. They will see that you were acting in the best interests of the entire ship Kate. There are civilians on board. Many of them women who would have been at his mercy if he wasn't stopped." Natalia added.
"What I would really like to know is how General Eden managed to cover up all his son's crimes and get that file sealed." Kate said.
"That is some family tree the General has. A son who is a rapist and murderer, two nephews who liked to steal speeders and himself who maybe paid off someone to seal that file. Not to mention all those other charges that mysteriously were dropped." Kacey said.
"Speaking of nephews, how are those two joy riders doing?"
"Great. I get nothing but good reports on them. I told the Major to give them more responsibility. I think they really want to make good. Maybe to show up their scum bag cousin." Kacey said.
"I still want to hear if anything happens." Kate said. Kacey nodded.
Liam's communicator beeped on the private channel. "Patsy darling, are you needing anything?"
"Are you still at Kacey's?"
"Yes I am."
"Stay there and tell Kate to stay also. Anya, the girls and I are bringing you dinner. We will be there in about thirty minutes."
The communicator went silent. "You heard you mother girls. Dinner is on the way. Thirty minutes gives up enough time to have another wee drink."
"Dad sometimes you are incorrigible." Kacey said with a laugh.
"No lassie. I am Irish." Liam said and raised his glass. The all laughed.
Dinner arrived and all talk of the trial and its possible aftermath was pushed into the background This was family time and the family was the core of their lives. From the oldest down to the youngest they knew the importance of family. Conversation was kept light and upbeat while they ate. Anya and Kate offered to clean up as coffee and tea was brought out as everyone else made themselves comfortable in the living room.
The girls went to the area where Kacey had her instruments. They knew better than to touch anything.
"Yes Erin, what can I do for you?"
"When will you teach Erica and me how to play the violin?"
Kacey walked over to the music area. "Hold out your left arms." She said as she picked up her violin. Kacey placed the instrument under Erin's chin. "How far can you reach?" Her small arm only part way up the length of the body. She did the same with Erica. "See how far your fingers are from the top of the neck?" They both nodded. "That means this violin is too big for you to handle. You need one that is much smaller. Unfortunately there is no place on board that we can get smaller violins. How about we try something else. She pulled out the bench. "All right rug rats climb up here." Once they were seated, Kacey took Erin's hand and place it in the lower keys. She then took Erica's and placed it on the higher keys. She placed her own hand on the middle keys. "Now watch me" She played the scale. Did you see what I did? Now you try. One note at a time. On the fourth note remember to bring your thumb under or else you run out of fingers." They hit the notes together. "Next note" The played the second note. "Now the third, now bring your thumb under and hit the fourth." The girls had trouble with moving their thumbs into position to finish the scale. They played the scale several times. Each time having the same problem with their thumbs because of the size of their hands.
"I did it better Erica' Erin boasted.
"No you didn't" Erica protested.
"Girls, no fighting." Anya called from the kitchen.
"Yes mama" The said together.
Anya and Kate finished with the cleanup and joined the others in the living room. "Will you play for us Lass?" Liam asked.
"Yes please, Kacey" Natalia agreed. "How about that piece you have been working on."
"That one is not ready yet." Kacey answered.
"It sounds great to me." Natalia argued.
"Sorry, not yet. It still is lacking something." Kacey said with finality.
"Natalia, what you have to know about my little sister is she is a perfectionist when it comes to her music. It will do no good to argue on that point."
"Only Kacey will know when it is perfect." Patricia added.
"All right, I will wait. But will you still play?"
Kacey thought for a minute, then programmed several selections into the device, picked up her violin. The music sheet showed on the wall. While the background music started she turned to Kate. "It is younger sister Kate." She started playing. When she finished playing the selections she had programmed she decided to play one final song by herself without the background music. She knew it was Liam's favorite song. One that was written over two hundred years ago. It was the section of Ireland he had come from ,Galway Bay. When she finished, Liam wiped a tear from his eyes.
"Lass you sure know how to pull on an old Irishman's heart strings." Kacey put her violin on its stand and joined her family.
The rest of the evening was spent just enjoying the love of family. A relaxing night before what could prove to be a very stressful day.
To be continued...
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