Go to Prologue
Kacey returned to her office. The new glasses she wore helped against the eye strain computer work caused. She continued to whittle away at the stack of reports she needed to complete.
"May Day, May Day, May Day" The radio came on.
Kacey keyed the Mic. "Come in Stinger leader. What is the problem?"
"Two stingers down, Colonel. They hit some sort of electro magnetic field. Dropped like stones in section eleven. The field knocked out the engines for a short time. They restarted inside eleven, but when they tried to rise they were knocked back down."
"Unknown at this time Colonel."
"What is your location?"
"Section ten about two kilometers from the barrier leading to section eleven."
"Set out your distress beacon. We will be there as soon as possible."
"Roger Colonel. Beacon up and running."
"Colonel O'Malley to Sick Bay."
"Sick Bay Doctor McCloud."
"Doc I need you to meet me at my shuttle. Bring as many medical supplies as possible. We have two stingers down. Injuries unknown"
"Give me five minutes to gather the supplies I will need."
Kacey left her office calling for her pilots as she ran outside. "All Beta shift pilots report to your stingers. Two ships down Section eleven. Need rescue."
Kate and Anya heard the pilots communicators beep and Kacey's voice as they strolled around the ship. All around them the pilots scrambled. Kate waited for Kacey to contact her on the nature of the emergency. When no message came through, Kate stalked off. Anya shook her head at the train wreck that was about to happen.
The pilots stood around Kacey as she filled them in on the problem.
"We have two ships down in section eleven. We do not know at this time exactly what brought them down. We will land in section ten and go in on foot. Break out regular side arms. We don't know if the phasic rifles will work in eleven. Also make sure you have protective gear, plenty of water and rations. I am not sure how long it will take us to get to the downed ships, so be prepared to spend the night out there. Get your preflight checks done while we wait for the Doc to get here. "
Kacey started for her shuttle to do her preflight check. "Hold on there Colonel." Kate ordered. Kacey rolled her eyes.
"What is it Captain? I am in a bit of a hurry, we have an emergency situation?"
"Yes I know but that is only because I heard your call to your pilots. You did not think to let me know."
"There is no time to get into this now, Captain. I have two pilots who may be injured out there. I do not have time for reports. Sergeant would you help the Doc load her equipment into my shuttle?" Kacey started to walk away.
"Stop, Colonel. We will discuss this now not later."
"I do not have time for this. I need to get to my men. Your damn report will have to wait."
"You are right. Time is important. You can give me your report on the way. I will go with you."
"Whatever, Captain. Just stay out of my way." Kacey walked away from where Kate stood fuming. Anya joined her as Kate called Liam.
"Liam you have command."
"What is going on Katie.?"
"I am going with Kacey on a rescue mission"
"Do you need back up?"
"We have it."
"Be careful Katie and tell your sister to do the same."
"I will try. She may not want to hear that from me." Kate stated. "I know I will regret this. Computer put video lock on Colonel Kacey O'Malley and Captain Kate Jensen."
"Lock on" The computer responded.
Kate turned to kiss Anya. Kacey's voice came over her communicator. "Captain we are leaving with or without you."
Kate ran onto the shuttle shutting the ramp as she entered. She strapped in. Kacey lifted off as soon as Kate sat down.. The shuttle rose quickly. Kate felt her ears plug and had to swallow several times to pop them. At two hundred feet, Kacey pushed the throttle forward and the shuttle shot off, followed closely by the stingers. They headed toward section ten where the crews were waiting.
Kate sat rigid in her seat, anger radiating from her, as she listened to Kacey talk to her Marines.
"Is there someplace large enough for all the ships to land?"
"Yes ma'am. We are right above it. I am sending you the coordinates. All other stingers out here have joined us,"
Kacey checked her readouts. "Have received the coordinates. What else can you tell me?"
"As near as we can figure the down stingers are about seven kilometers inside eleven. That electro magnetic field is disrupting our scanners so we can not get a clean readings."
"We will have to go in on foot then. What does the terrain look like?"
"Mostly flat, but rocky and lots of scrub brush."
"Looks like we are going to be taking a hike. Feel up to it Doc?"
"Whatever you need me to do Colonel." The Doctor responded.
"My troops will help you carry your equipment."
"Stinger one, be advised our E T A is five minutes."
Kacey put down the mic. "I would like your report now Colonel." Kate ordered.
Kacey sighed. "Two ships down, injuries unknown at this time, Captain." Kacey spat out
"What brought the ships down?"
"Some sort of electro magnetic field." Kacey keyed the mic. "Stinger one our E T A is two minutes."
"That is your entire report?"
"It is all I know at this time Captain. Look Captain, the welfare of my men is my first priority. Not stroking your ego. Once we land, you either keep up or remain with the shuttle. Understand?"
Kate felt herself start to lose control of the tight control she had on her temper. She began to speak when she was cut off.
"Stinger One I have you in sight." Kacey stated as she slowed the shuttle down. They hovered over the landing sight. "Pull in as close as you can. Just keep the ramp clear." Kacey ordered. The shuttle landed first. They watched the stingers line up beside the shuttle.
Once all the ships were down, the pilots gathered around Kacey and Kate. "We have no idea what that field will affect so leave your phasic rifles here. Take just you side arms. Grab your survival packs. More that likely we will be out here over night. So be prepared. Take out any shock sticks you have for the perimeter. Sensors are not picking up anything from inside eleven. I need volunteers to help the Doc carry her equipment." Several hands went up. "Make sure you have plenty of water and rations. We will fan out and do a ground search inside eleven. Stay with hollering and sight distance. I will take point. Captain you stay with the Doc. Some one get the Captain and Doc field packs."
"Colonel, a word in private." Kate spoke.
Kacey sighed and walked a short distance away. "Be ready to move out as soon as I return." Kacey ordered. "What is it Captain?"
"Are you sure you want to leave the rifles."
"We do not know if they will work inside that field. We are not carrying anything we are not certain will even work. Chances are, we will have to carry out the injured pilots. The rifles are not essential at the point."
"Look Captain, I have taken part in many of these types of rescue operations before. Can you say the same? The rule is you take only what is absolutely necessary for survival. The rifles are not necessary."
"If you want to carry a rifle do so, but for once, can't you just accept the fact that I have more experience in these matters and that I know what I am doing?" Kacey walked back to her men.
The Sergeant handed Kate a side arm which she accepted and strapped around her waist. He helped to put on the survival pack. The weight felt strange on her back.
"Move out." Kacey ordered as she pulled on her pack. She set a comfortable pace. The troops fanned out behind her. Kate and the Doctor were in the middle of the line.
In less than twenty minutes they arrived at the edge of section ten. The air in front of them rippled with energy. The ground was clear of any plant life on both sides of the field.
"Can we get any readings on this thing? Do we know if it is harmful to organics? Kacey asked.
"No readings at all Colonel. It is like there is nothing there but air."
"It is evident something is there. We can all see it." Kate stated. "We have no idea if we can even get through it."
"One way to find out, Captain." Kacey picked up a rock and threw it at the field. They heard a slight noise as it went through and watched it land on the other side. "Well that worked. Now we will see if it is harmful to people. No one moves until I tell you." Kacey ordered and walked towards the field.
"Colonel stop." Kate ordered.
"Not now Captain." Kacey shot back and stepped into the field. She dropped to her knees on the other side.
"Kacey" Kate yelled.
To be continued...
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