Go to Prologue
"KACEY" Kate yelled and ran through the field. She emerged on the other side unaffected and dropped to the ground next to Kacey. "That was an incredibly foolish thing to do. Why do you have to be so damn stubborn?" Kacey was silent as she held both hands on her head. She finally looked up.
"Tell them to take the field at a run. Less time, less exposure. It was like a whole lot of static electricity hit me all at once. What a rush." Kacey stated.
"Run through the field. Do not walk." Kate called. The Marines and Doctor ran through unscathed. The Doctor knelt down to check Kacey who was still on the ground.
"Take ten, guys." Kacey stated and took a long drink of water. She sat down.
"Does not seem to be any damage Colonel. Although your heart beat is well over one hundred, it is slowing down. Any dizziness?"
"Not now. But right after I came through it was like a downed a bottle of dad's favorite brew. That too has faded."
"The Doctor continued to monitor Kacey's pulse and breathing.
"Heart beat is still high but it is almost back to normal. Want to try standing?"
"I could joke and say I thought I was standing but I will not" Kate offered Kacey a hand up which she accepted after a slight hesitation.
"Andromeda to rescue team." The sound came from the radio at Kacey side. Kate pulled it off and keyed the mike.
"At least the radio seem to be working. Go ahead Andromeda."
"Katie, is everyone all right?"
"We are. Kacey got zapped a little but she is all right now."
"We saw her go down."
"I will tell you all about it when we get back." Kate turned to see Kacey's eyes flash in anger.
"You just could not resist could you Captain." Kacey snapped and held out her hand for the radio. Kate handed it to her. Kacey clipped it to her belt. "Move out" She ordered and walked quickly away from Kate.
Kate had to run to catch up to Kacey longer stride. "Hold on there Colonel." Kate stated.
"GO BACK WITH THE DOC, CAPTAIN." Kacey snapped.
"NO GOD DAMN IT." Kate swore. You need to hear me out Colonel. So damn it, you are going to listen to me. Yes, you have the video lock on you. So do I. It is not only for our own protection. It is also in the regulations that we have a video record of all missions away from the ship. Whether you like it or not this is the way it has to be and will be each and every time we leave the ship."
Kacey ignored Kate's speech and turned to the Major on her right side. "Any readings on the ships yet?"
"Not yet Colonel. Looks like they did not have time to start the distress beacon. Look you can see where they tried to fly and where they got knocked back down." He pointed to the marks left by the Stingers. "Wait Colonel something is coming through. It is the distress beacon on Stinger Seven."
"Six kilometers straight ahead, Colonel."
"We have about two hours until dark to get there and set the perimeter. Double time. Lets move it everyone. Private stay with the Doc and Captain in case they fall behind."
"Yes ma'am" The private said and moved closer to the Doctor.
"I will be at your side, Colonel." Kate said.
"Suit yourself Captain. Think you can keep up?" Kacey snapped.
They ran off with the Marines close behind. Through brush, over rocks and around holes, they ran across the terrain. Kate kept pace with Kacey for the first couple kilometers. Her breath came in gasps, while Kacey barely seemed winded. She started to fall back. In a second of perverse pleasure at Kate's inability to keep up, she called back, "TOO MUCH TIME SPENT BEHIND YOUR DESK, CAPTAIN?
The comment angered Kate. She dug down to whatever reserves she had left and caught up to Kacey.
"Just like Drop Out Canyon back home eh Colonel?"
"Without the fifty pound packs on our backs. This is a piece of cake, Major." Kacey joked. They ran for almost an hour.
"Colonel, there are the ships." The Major pointed to a spot about a half kilometer away.
"Good eyes Major." Kacey stated as they headed for the downed ships.
With in minutes they had arrived at their destination. The Doctor was close behind. Kate dropped to her knees, winded. Kacey ducked behind the stinger to hide the smile when Kate dropped. The Doctor climbed onto the wing without pausing to catch her breath.
"He is alive. Someone hand me that red bag." She placed the bag on the wing, opened it and removed a neck collar and back board. "I will need someone on the other side." Doctor McCloud said and waited until a marine climbed up. "Hold his head still while I put this collar on." Once the collar was in place, she said, "Now I need you to lean him forward just a bit so I can slip this back board behind him." The Marine followed her orders. "Good. Now as soon as I get this board in place, gently move him back and we can get him strapped on." They finished with the first pilot and she moved out of the way. "I need to have the pilot out of the stinger so I can fully examine him. She dropped down off the wing and went to the second ship. "We will need to do the same thing here. Major seeing how you are now an expert, would you help me again." He laughed and went to the Doctor. They went through the same procedure with the second pilot.
"Doc how are they?" Kacey asked.
"Good thing you planned on spending the night out here. These men can not be moved tonight."
"All right we will get you a work area set up. Pull out the tents and blankets from behind the pilots seats. Then pull out all the shock sticks they have to set up a defensive area. Bring out any portable lights they have also. Then we can set up a guard rotation schedule." Kacey ordered.
"What do you need me to do Colonel." Kate asked. "I know what you want to tell me to do, but please do not say what you are thinking."
"Pull out any supplies you can find from the back of the Stingers. There is food and fire materials back there. I will get the supplies from this one. There should be battery packs for the lights back there also. We will need those."
Kate pulled all the supplies from the Stinger and laid them on the ground. The first pilot was out of the ship and laying on a blanket. The doctor knelt by his side and checked him for any broken bones. When she finished her exam she went to the second pilot. When she finished, she reached into her equipment bag and removed splints, tape and bandages.
"What did you find Doc?" Kacey asked.
"They are both unconscious. There is no evidence of concussion. Between the two men they have three broken bones. Two legs and an arm, plus some questionable sponginess on a few ribs. The bones will have to be set before we can move them. I will need some help in setting the bones, but I want to tape those ribs before we try anything like that. If the ribs are cracked I would rather they did not break and puncture any organs. There may be some internal injuries, but I have no way to knowing until we can get they back to the ship."
"You have plenty of volunteers Doc." Kacey stated. Four men stay with the Doc. Four work on getting those tents up then get the lights working. The rest of you start setting out the shock sticks before any night creatures decide to get nosy." Kacey ordered.
"How far do you want you set the perimeter, Colonel." Major Anderson asked.
"Five hundred meters." Kacey stated and walked away. She pushed the private call button on her communicator. "Kacey to Natalia" She heard nothing but static. She tried again with the same results. She pulled the radio from her belt before she even tried to talk the static filled the air. Kacey climbed into the Stinger, put on the head set and flipped the radio switch. "Stinger Seven to Andromeda."
"Go ahead Stinger Seven." She heard Liam's voice in her ears. "How are you doing Kacey, lass"
"I am okay dad. We have both pilots out of their ships. They have a few broken bones. Be advised that there is no way we will be able to get back tonight. The pilots can not be moved yet."
"Aye lass. Keep up posted."
"Will do dad. If you need to get in touch with us, call Stinger Seven or Eight. My portable radio is not working. Neither are communicators. That field is affecting communications. The Stinger radios seem to be the only ones not affected. Dad could you transfer me to Natalia?"
"I will lass. Take care of yourself and your sister. You are being transferred now."
"Hi sweetheart. I am so sorry we will not be back tonight. Can I have a rain check on dinner?"
"Of course you can. Are you able to say anything about where you are?"
"We are inside section eleven. We can not move the pilots tonight. Hopefully tomorrow we can."
"Are you all right? Liam said you were knocked on your ass by some sort of force field."
"Got zapped and landed on my knees not my ass. I was loopy for a couple minutes, but I am fine now."
"How are you and Kate doing?"
"I have not knocked her out yet. That is a point in my favor."
"Should I let Anya know?"
"That is a good idea. I imagine Kate will try to contact her. I have to try to find her to tell her to use the Stinger radios."
"I love you Kacey" Natalia said. "Please be careful out there and return safely to me. Promise me you will be careful. I want to spend a lot more years with you." Kacey heard Natalia's voice catch.
"I love you right back . I promise, I will be very careful and come home safely to you. We will have a lot of years together. Keep a light lit in the window so I can find my way back to you." Kacey heard Natalia cough to cover up a sob that almost escaped.
"Kacey will you promise one other thing?"
"If I can."
"Try not to hurt Kate. Knocking the Captain on her ass would not look good on your record."
"I promise sweetheart. See you tomorrow. Have a good night."
"The bed will be empty tonight." Natalia said and signed off.
Kacey sat for a minute after she signed off. She sighed and left the stinger. She heard one of the men scream and the sickening sound of bones being let. She approached the group.
"How is everything going Doc?"
"All bones are set. I can at least give them something for the pain they will have tonight. We just need to get them under cover in case the weather changes."
"We can do that. Move them closer together and get the tent up over them. Doc, you and the Captain can have the second tent."
"You take the second tent Colonel. I will have to stay near the pilots through the night to adjust their splints and give them any pain medication they might need." The Doctor said.
"All right Doc. Has any one seen the Captain?"
"She was helping the men set out the shock sticks, Colonel."
"Thanks." Kacey said and walked away. She followed the line of shock sticks and nodded her approval of the job the men did." She caught up with them as they were setting the last stick in the ground.
"Good job guys." Kacey stated.
"When do you want them turned on?"
"Now. They have eighteen hour batteries. That will take us through the night. Break out the extra batteries in case we need them for tomorrow night."
"What about the lights Colonel?"
"Set them at the corners of the campsite. Where did the Captain go?"
"She headed back to camp about ten minutes ago."
"Finish up here and then we will break our the rations" Kacey walked off. "Damn it Kate where the Hell are you?"
To be continued...
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