Go to Prologue
A week went by before the Military Board of Inquiry could be set up. Kate and Liam both excused themselves from serving due to their relationship to Kacey This was an impartial board picked by Commander Rhea Torino, Head of Security. The five member board consisted of three security members and two Marines. As senior officer Major Anderson conducted the inquiry.
"This Military Court of Inquiry is called to order. This inquiry is to decided if the death of Barry Castor was justifiable homicide, self defense or involuntary manslaughter. We, the judges will ask the questions. Due to the injuries sustained at the hands of Barry Castor, our first two witness have submitted signed depositions. These depositions were given under oath in front of the entire board of Inquiry, and will be treated as though the witness are here in this courtroom. "
Major Anderson picked up the first deposition. "This is from Ensign Michael Walls who was, at that time, the guard assigned to watch over Castor in the Brig. He stated under oath, 'Around zero four hundred hours, Barry Castor started to complain about feeling ill and in pain. I opened the cell door to check on him. At that time Castor attacked me and pounded my head into the wall until I lost consciousness.'" The Major picked up the second paper. "This is the sworn deposition taken from Private Veronica Hastings, who was attacked and injured by Castor. 'Barry Castor broke into my quarters and was waiting for me when I fished showering. He slapped me several times, knocking me over the bed to the floor. He punched me in the face and stomach. He then grabbed my hair, punched me again in the face. I tried to fight him off. I did managed to scratch him, which only made him madder. He punched me again in the face which knocked me onto the bed. He then sexually molested me. I heard Colonel O'Malley yell at him to stop. He did stop his attack and faced the Colonel. I heard them argue. From where I was laying I was able to see Castor run at the Colonel. They both fell to the floor and I heard the gun report.'
The Major placed the paper on the desk. "Do any of the Judges need any additional information from the witnesses?" They all shook their heads no. He looked at Kate, who paused before nodding for him to continue.
"The Board calls Colonel Kirsten Campbell O'Malley to the stand."
Kacey stood, adjusted her tunic and walked to the witness chair, where she swore to tell the whole truth.
"Colonel, why was Barry Castor in the Brig?"
"He was in the Brig because he was found guilty of assaulting Private Hastings in the Hanger. An assault that was witness by myself, Captain Taggart and Lieutenant Wilson. As well as being documented on several video cameras."
"So you confined him to the Brig?"
"No I had him confined to his quarters. Captain Jensen sent him to the Brig to await trial."
"Thank you for the correction Colonel. When you found out that Castor had escaped what did you do?"
"I joined the search for him."
"Is it not true Colonel, that you had not yet been cleared for full duty yet?"
"That is true. I was able to talk the Doctor into releasing me early to aid in the search."
"That is a feat in itself Colonel. Please continue."
"I went to the Hanger and had the Marines search every inch of the Hanger, all ships and parts storage areas. I then went into the office and checked the duty roster. I found that Private Hastings was not scheduled for duty until later that day. Given that Castor was fixated on her, I decided to try her quarters if only to warn her."
"Why did you not use your communicator?" One Judge asked.
"I did not want Castor to learn that I was on my way to Private Hastings quarters."
"Did you inform anyone as to your destination?"
"Not until I reached the Private's quarters. I informed Captain Jensen of my location after I found the code key pad shorted out."
"What did Captain Jensen do?"
"She ordered me to wait for back up."
"But you did not wait. Why is that Colonel?"
"There was no time to wait for back up. For all I knew Castor could have been murdering Private Hastings. I also knew I had to stop that from happening if at all possible. I pulled my gun, but left my rifle in the corridor. I found them on the bed where Castor was sexually assaulting Private Hastings. From what I could see Private Hastings had taken a several hits but was still trying to fight him off."
"You are absolutely certain Castor was sexually assaulting Private Hastings?"
"It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what was happening. I yelled at Castor to get off the Private and pulled him off of her. We argued then he charged at me. He grabbed for the gun when he crashed into me. The gun went off, but he still managed to knock me down."
"What did you argue about?"
"He told me to wait my turn, that he would get to me when he had finished. He said that I did not deserve being commander. Then he said it would not look good on my service record if I shot the unarmed son of a General. I told him his father was no longer a General and was awaiting trial for his part in covering up Castors crimes. It was at that point that he came at me."
Kacey waited for the next question which did not come for several minutes.
"Is that all Colonel?"
"Yes it is." Kacey answered.
"You are dismissed Colonel." Kacey stood and returned to her seat. Captain Anderson looked once again at Kate who again nodded for him to continue.
"Captain Kate Jensen to the stand." Kate stood and in much the same way as Kacey straightened her tunic before she walked to the stand took the oath and sat down.
"Captain, what did you do after you found out the Doctor allowed Colonel O'Malley to return to duty?"
"I ordered a video lock on the Colonel."
"Is that video available Captain?"
"Yes it is. Computer replay video of Colonel O'Malley from the time she left the Brig to take part in the search for Castor."
It took only a couple seconds for the video to begin. Everyone in the room watched the video display. They saw the entire search from Kacey's perspective play out just as she had testified.
"Why did you order the video lock on the Colonel?"
"I know my sister. Sometimes she has more guts than brains. Add that to the fact that she was not at full strength, I needed to protect her against herself. I would have done that to any person in this ship."
"Is there anything else you would like to add?"
"I do not."
"You are dismissed Captain. Ladies and gentlemen, we are in recess until the judges reach a verdict. Until that time this Military Inquiry is adjourned. The Judges stood and left the room. Kate walked to Kacey.
"Come on, I will buy you a cup of coffee while we wait."
"Why the hell not," Kacey answered. They walked out of the room. "Kate you have to stop doing that."
"Doing what?" Kacey asked
"Putting a video lock on me."
"I told you before, that is not going to happen Kacey. Especially when you go charging into situations that could end up in disaster. Those time when you really do have more guts that brains."
"Kate." Kacey protested.
"How can I make sure you do not get in over your head. You can be mad at me all you want. I will not and do not ever plan on dealing with mom in the event you get hurt. You will just have to learn to deal with the fact that I will continue to order a video lock on you when I think you are taking unacceptable chances."
"Does not seem right. I am an adult and yet you use videos to keep an eye on me. I do not need a baby sitter. Not to mention that we do not want to have to deal with mom because we are afraid of her."
"I am not afraid of mom" Kate protested.
"Of course you are just like I am. There is not a whole lot that I will ever admit to being afraid of. At times, mom can scare the living hell out of me and make me feel like a little kid at times."
"I admit to nothing." Kate stated. They started laughing. "Kacey, I found out something that you need to know. I only found out this morning before court. You were targeted by General Eden."
"Why was he after me?" Kacey asked.
"His oldest son was also up for this assignment. Eden was angry because his son was passed over and you were promoted and chosen. He pushed through Castor's assignment to undermine your command. He knew Castor would step out of line. If it happened before we got too far away, he could have you pulled from this mission and replaced with the older son. Castor was a rapist and murderer, so Eden used him to get to you."
"Why didn't you mention that in court?"
"It had no bearing on the case." Kate stated.
"Of course it does. It has everything to do with this case. It would show... damn it I don't know what it shows but there is something." Kacey protested.
"Drop it Kacey" Kate ordered. "I mean it, little sister, drop it."
To be continued...
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