Go to Prologue
Kate heard the gunshot as she stepped off the lift. Rhea Torino was close behind her. They both ran down the corridor to three seventeen.
"Damn it Kacey, I told you to wait for back up." Kate said. "Captain Jensen to Sick Bay."
"Sick Bay Doctor Pence."
"Doctor we need medical assistance in Marine crew quarters three seventeen. You may need additional medical staff preferably a woman Doctor. And Doctor bring Maria Montoya with you."
"Help is on the way Captain."
Kate pushed the door open and took in the chaos in the room. From Private Hastings bloodied and bruised on the bed to the tangled bodies of a semi naked Castor on top of... "Oh my God" Kate shouted and dropped to the floor. Kate pushed Castor off Kacey His staring eyes told her he was beyond help. She felt his neck for a pulse anyway.
"Commander find something to cover Private Hastings with and something for this piece of trash here." She pointed to Castor.
"Yes ma'am" Rhea answered and went to the closet for the required items. She gently placed a blanket over the Private's nude body. Then threw a sheet over Castor.
Kate knelt down next to an unmoving Kacey She felt her neck and found her pulse strong. Kate opened Kacey's blood soaked shirt looking for a wound. Finding none she breathed a sigh of relief. Gently she took Kacey shoulders and slid under her head so that it rested in Kate's lap. The movement forced Kacey to take a gasping breath. She tried to sit up but was held in place by Kate.
"Lay still you crazy kid." Kate ordered. "Are you all right? Damn it Kacey, I told you to wait for back up."
"Kate I am fine. Just had the wind knocked out of me. How about letting me up?"
"No you just lie still until the Doctor gets here" Kate ordered.
"I am fine Kate."
"How about we let the Doctor verify that."
"He was raping her Kate. He beat her. I could not let him hurt her any more. I had to stop him." Kacey explained.
Maria entered the room. She saw Veronica lying on the bed and hurried to her side. The damage was evident. Cut lip, black eye and she knew there was other damage she could not see.
"Ronnie, I am here." She said softly.
"Maria, I am so sorry," Veronica cried out.
"Sorry for what dearest."
"I could not stop him. He was waiting for me when I stepped out of the shower and hit me. Then he... Maria he..."
"I know sweetheart." Maria tried to lift the blanket but Veronica had a tight hold on it. "Ronnie the Doctor is here. This is Dr. Olive Macloud . She is one of the best we have. She will take good care of you."
"Don't leave me Maria. Please don't leave me." Veronica pleaded.
"I promise I will not leave you. Now you have to let the Doctor check you out. You need to let go of the blanket Ronnie." Maria rubbed the hands that were clenched around the blanket. The hands relaxed enough so that the Doctor could lift it. There was a large bruise forming on her chest. She gently pressed on it.
"I do not think there are any broken bones. We will check it out once we have her in Sick Bay. How about your head? Any dizziness or double vision?"
"That's good. Lets get you down to Sick Bay and check every thing out. Gentlemen would you bring that stretcher over here and then leave the room?" The Marines did as they were asked. "I will make sure she has only women attending her." The Doctor stated. "Doctor Macloud to Sick bay."
"Get room two ready, I will be bringing a patient down. Make sure only women are on rotation for her."
"Will do Doc."
"Captain, Commander I could use your help."
Kate helped Kacey into a sitting position and stood up. "Stay there." She ordered, before she went to help the Doctor.
"Commander if you would stand next to Maria and Captain over here by me, we are going to get Private Hastings on the stretcher. Roll up the sheet and we will lift her over." They followed the Doctor's action and stood ready. "On three. One... two... three." Together they moved the Private onto the stretcher. "Commander would you escort Maria and Private Hastings to Sick Bay."
"Certainly. Captain will you be all right here?"
"Yes, if I need help with my very stubborn and foolish sister I have several Marines that will help me." Kate stated. She noticed the still flashing red lights. "Computer cancel red alert." The lights stopped.
"Hey who are you calling stubborn?" Kacey asked from her spot on the floor. "Can I get up now?
"Absolutely not Colonel." The Doctor said. "I need to check you out first."
"I am fine Doc." Kacey argued and tried to stand. Kate placed a hand on her shoulder to hold her down. " Damn it Kate let go. I just had the wind knocked out of me."
"Stay still Colonel. That is an order." Kate stated.
"Yes Captain. But this is really not necessary." Kacey continued to argue. "I am fine."
"Where did you get your medical degree from?" The Doctor asked as she shone a light in Kacey's eyes. She checked her shoulder. "No signs of another concussion and the shoulder feels fine. Any shortness of breath? Pain? Dizziness?"
"No, a little where that pig bastard plowed into me and no." Kacey answered.
"I still want to see you in Sick Bay." The Doctor stated. I will get a hover chair to take you down."
"Hell no Doc. I can walk." Kacey argued.
"Doctor," Kate spoke up. "I will walk her down to Sick Bay."
"I know my way Kate. I do not need an escort."
"Your choice little sister, me or mom. Choose. Besides I do not want you to have a memory lapse and forget your way to Sick Bay."
"All right all right. You sure do not play fair Kate."
"Life is not fair, Kacey get used to it. What do you expect when I have a sister who does not know how to follow orders." Kate held out a hand and helped Kacey to stand up. Lieutenant would you get someone in here to clean up?"
"Yes Ma'am. We will take care of everything and see about getting the Private other quarters. I do not think they will want to come back here."
"Good idea. I will leave it in your hands. Come on Colonel." Kate took hold of Kacey's arm. "You have an appointment in Sick Bay."
Kacey was aware of the barely disguised anger radiating from the smaller woman at her side. "You may as well get it off your chest before you explode Kate."
Kate looked at Kacey. When she spoke her words were clipped and precise. "Do you realize how incredibly stupid your actions were? You could not wait two minutes for back up? Do you have some sort of death wish?"
"I could not wait. He could have killed her while I stood by waiting for back up. I was not about to let that happen Kate."
"So you take him on yourself. He was crazy Kacey he could very well have killed you."
"My main purpose was to get his attention focused on me not the Private. You saw what he did to her. I have taken on bigger guys than him and won. I may be dented, but I am still alive and breathing." Kacey stopped walking so abruptly that she almost pulled Kate off her feet.
"What is it?" Kate asked, concern in her voice.
"Oh my God." Kacey gasped . "Castor, I think I killed him. He came at me and grabbed the gun. It went off just as he crashed into me. He was too close for the shot to miss."
"Yes he is dead. Kacey he did not give you any choice. You were protecting yourself and Private Hastings."
"I killed a man."
"He was no man, Kacey."
"A human being then. What difference does it make. I took his life. I need to contact the General, I need to..."
"First of all I doubt an animal like Castor could ever have been called a human being. He was a dead man the second he attacked that guard in the Brig. Who did it, does not matter. Your hand, my hand, or any number of the crew who were searching for him. As for contacting the General, that can wait. Sick Bay can not."
"You do not understand Kate, I taunted him. I told him about his father. I wanted him to come at me to get him away from Hastings. We argued. I told him I would kill him before I let him harm another person. He dared me to do it. I wanted to kill him Kate. I think I was happy he ran at me and grabbed the gun. I had my finger on the trigger. We had it drummed into our heads that you never pull a gun unless you had every intention of using it. One thing they never tell you is how lousy you would feel afterwards."
"Was this the first time you have had to defend your self with these results.?" Kacey nodded. "You had no choice. It was him or you. To be perfectly honest I am not shedding any tears because it was him. We can go around and around with this. The results will be the same every time. You did everyone on this ship a service today. Lets get you checked out." Kate pulled on Kacey.'s arm to get her moving again.
To be continued...
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