Go to Prologue
The rescue team arrived back at Andromeda. The injured pilots were being treated in Sick Bay. Kate and Kacey's family waited for them to arrived. They had a brief reunion before they were both escorted to their quarters. Kate leaned against Anya's shoulder. She felt as if every muscle was screaming in protest to the abuse her body went through the past two days.
Kate sat on their couch and spent time with their daughters while Anya filled the tub with very hot lightly scented water. She started the small whirlpool. When everything was ready Anya joined Kate in the living room. "Your bath is ready Kate." She said holding out her hand to Kate. "You girls behave yourself out here." She told the twins.
"We will mama." The said together.
Anya helped Kate off the couch and walked her into the bathroom. She started to undress Kate, who was too sore and tired to move. Once her dirty clothes were off and into the laundry chute, Anya picked Kate up and placed her gently into the bubbling water.
"Darling this is heavenly. Thank you." Kate stated.
"You are very welcome, my Kate. You relax for awhile. I will take the girls and bring back dinner."
"You are so good to me. How did I get so lucky?"
"Luck had nothing to do with it. You just had the good sense to marry me." Anya kissed Kate and left the bathroom. Kate lay her head against the back of the tub and let the bubbles soothe her sore muscles. Within minutes she was asleep. She was still asleep when Anya and their children returned almost an hour later.
Anya let the now cool water out of the tub and turned off the whirlpool. She wrapped a large towel around Kate and lifted her from the tub. Anya carried her to their bed and pulled the blankets up over her nude form. Kate did nor stir..
Kacey lay on their bed after taking a shower. She was in her favorite thread bare, around the quarters, clothes. Kacey promised Natalia she would not move while Natalia went for their dinner.
The little sleep she had got the past two nights had caught up with her. Kacey was more than content to just lay there. All the exercise and fresh air from the rescue added to her desire to just relax.
She thought about all the reports and reviews she still had to finish. Time was getting short to do them, yet she could not muster the ambition to get up, and work on them. 'Tomorrow' she thought, 'tomorrow, no matter what happens, I will finish them. No matter how long it takes.' She had never sent in a report late and she was not about to start.
'Maybe Kate will leave me alone and not try for what ever round of arguing we are on. Yeah right. Maybe I will be able to walk on water or sprout wings and fly. That would probably be easier.'
Kacey woke long before the six hundred hour wake up call. She sat at her desk and read over the mission regulations from command. She found what she was looking for before the first hour had passed. There it was in black and white. Video recordings of all off sight, off ship and away missions. "Damn it" Kacey thought. 'It is in the damn regulations.' She re read the regulations again.
"Video locks should be on the department heads if they are on the mission. However the placement of the video locks will be at the Captain's discretion. "Gotcha Kate."
"Good morning." Came the sleepy voice from the door way. "How long have you been up?"
"Couple of hours. I could not sleep anymore, so rather than bother you with my tossing and turning, I got up." Kacey answered.
"What are you doing?"
"Just a bit of research on the mission regulations."
"Did you learn anything?"
"Yes damn it, Kate was right about having a video recording of all away or off the ship missions. Even the engineers fixing the relay towers are being recorded."
"Then you will be cutting her some slack on this?"
"I would if this little bit was not in the regulations. 'Video locks should be be on the department heads if they are on an away mission. However who the locks are on is at the Captain's discretion."
"Why are you so against having the video lock on you?"
"Truthfully?" Natalia nodded. I do not want there to be any sort of recording of my screwing up. That way no one can say that I was not able to live up to my family's reputation and name." Kacey stated. "I am so afraid of letting them down. I am only human. Eventually I will screw up."
"I do not think that will ever happen. You are excellent at your job. Very good at what you do."
"That night we were out there, Kate and I shared a tent. I pretended to be asleep so I would not have to talk to Kate. I had an epiphany of sorts while I lay they pretending to be asleep."
"What was that."
"The reason I was on the defensive and took it out on Kate was that I was so scared of screwing up in front of her. Or screwing up and have everyone see it. Each time we even came close to having a normal conversation for more that two minutes, one of us would say something and we would be off again butting heads. I walked or in a couple case ran away on some sort of trumped up reason."
"Have you tried to explain this to Kate?"
"No and I never will."
"One thing I have discovered in my many years is never say never." Natalia said. "How about joining me for a shower before our day begins?"
"That is an offer I will not refuse." Kacey shut down her computer and joined Natalia in the shower.
Kacey sat in her office. The stack of reports was slightly smaller than earlier in the day. Her crew reviews took longer as each had almost forty categories that she needed to fill out. They were the most important, as the yearly raises and promotions of her people were based on her reviews.
She gave the men who went on the rescue mission the day off. She had crews out mapping the Northern section. So far without any problems. It was quiet in her office. She had soft music playing in the background. A quiet she knew would not last. Even the radio was quiet. She realized she had tempted fate when the door chimed. Kacey looked at the monitor to see who was at the door.
"Damn it." She cursed.
Kate sat in her Ready Room going over her report of the rescue mission and viewing portions of the mission. Most of the video was distorted by the electro magnetic field, which was good as she could leave out all the arguing between her and Kacey
The Bridge Crew had little to do while they were on the ground. Only security could never leave their posts. Most of the crew was outside enjoying the fresh air. She could not blame them. If she did not have reports to file she would be out there also. Anya was still with the botanists. They would not be back for several hours. The girls were in class which were being held outside in the sunshine rather than in the confines of the ship. Even her mother and Liam were somewhere on the surface.
Kate suddenly felt restless and wanted to talk to someone. Admit it Kate you want to talk to Kacey, you need to get the air cleared between you. She thought. "I admit nothing" Kate said out loud to that little voice that would not be quieted. You know what you need to do, so get up off your ass and just do it. Go talk to her.
She had not seen or heard from Kacey since their return the day before. "Damn it" She stated and went to push the private channel button on her communicator. She stopped herself. Kacey would probably ignore her hail. "Computer locate Colonel O'Malley."
"Colonel O'Malley is in her office." The computer responded.
"No time like the present." Kate said. She pushed away from her desk and left her ready room. "I will be in Colonel O'Malley's office if anything comes up." She told Security.
"Yes ma'am. There is nothing brewing. Everything is quiet."
"We can only hope it stays that way." Kate responded and entered the lift. "Hanger " she said as the doors closed.
Kate checked the smaller office first, then made her way to the larger office in the back of the hanger and rang the chime.
Kacey looked at the monitor to see who was at the door. "Damn it." She knew she could just ignore the chime, pretend she was not there, but knowing Kate, she probably already did a computer search. "Come in" She called out.
Kate entered. "I was afraid that you would pretend not to be here." Kate said.
"I thought about it Captain. But knew you had already had the computer rat me out."
"I did." Kate admitted. "Those new?" She pointed to the glasses Kacey wore.
"Yes, I need them for computer and close work. Needed them when I was in the Academy. How are the muscles?"
"Not as stiff and sore as they were yesterday, thanks to Anya's magic hands. One of the things that mission showed me is how out of shape I am. I thought I was in good shape but now I know that I was only deluding myself."
"I can give you some exercises to work on that will bring you back to your physical peak." Kacey stated.
"All right. Maybe next time you take me on a five kilometer run, I just might be able to keep up with you."
"You did not do so badly, Captain." Kacey admitted. Is there any thing else Captain. I have a lot of reports to write."
"Yes damn it there is." Kate stated. "We really need to talk Kcey."
Kacey sighed, took off her glasses and placed them on the desk. She got up and poured herself a cup of coffee. She held the pot up to Kate who nodded. Kacey poured a second cup. She handed the cup to Kate and sat back down behind her desk.
"All right Captain. Go for it. What's the topic for our argument today?" Kacey asked.
"Can we set some ground rules first?" Kacey nodded. "No losing our tempers so we can get this cleared up today."
"Not making any promises, but I will try." Kacey answered.
"I will accept that. Knowing you as well as I do, the first thing you did this morning is check the regulations on away missions."
"Now do you understand why I have to order that video locks."
"To a certain extent Captain. However the regulations also state, that while the locks should be on the department heads, it is the Captain's distraction who the lock will be on. Should Captain not must."
"I know what the regulations say."
"Then why the hell do you insist on putting the lock on me?"
"I have my orders." Kate replied.
"From General Millhouse? Admiral Tacker? Joint Chiefs? High Command? The President?"
"No, no, no, no and no. This comes from a much higher office."
"Then who Captain? Who has more power than the President? I really do not feel like playing twenty questions. Complete truth Captain."
"Think about it for a minute, Kacey Who is the one person who can scare the Admiral and General spit less."
"Mom?" Kate nodded. "What the fuck. Why Captain?"
"Can we lose the formality Kacey? I will explain everything if you stop calling me Captain." It was Kacey's turn to nod. "She found out about the regulations after you got hurt on Marcus Prime, she made me promise that no matter what sort of mission either of us or Liam went on, we would have the video lock on us I don't like it, you hate it, but..."
"But it is mom." Kacey finished.
"No one like being under a microscope, but it really sets you off. Why?"
"I have my reasons Cap... Kate."
"Help me to understand Kacey. Talk to me."
Kacey was silent for a long time. Kate did not think she would say anything so when Kacey started to talk, Kate listened without interrupting.
"Reverse out positions, Kate. Put yourself in my shoes. A position where my father was a well respected Admiral, your older sister a highly decorated ship Captain, Your father a distinguished Commander. The you come along and no matter what you do or how hard you work and try to live up to that legacy, you always feel as if you fall short. Then to have your every mistake or misstep, or error in judgment recorded for everyone and their pets to see. Then get the feeling that those around you are comparing you to your older sister. I am not saying that is happening, it is just a feeling. With the video locks on me, I feel that everyone one is watching, hoping I would fail or screw up. That is why, Kate."
"Where is the insecurity coming from Kacey I thought we had sent that out an air lock months ago."
"I thought so too, but then you came on the rescue mission and it all came back. I was so afraid of failing in front of you." Kacey stated. "I sent you my report on that mission first thing this morning."
"I read it. As usual you down played your role in it." Kacey shrugged. "Do you know what I have been doing this morning?"
"Same thing as I have, reports and reviews? Kacey answered.
"Not just any report, but the report on the rescue mission. I sent you a copy. You should read it."
Kacey shrugged, minimized the page she was on, brought up her inner ship mail and opened the report. She put her glasses back on and spent several minutes reading the words Kate had written. Kate poured them another cup of coffee while Kacey read. She walked around the office and read all the commendations, awards and certificates that hung there. All listed Kacey's name. There was even her invitations to join both the military and civilian symphonies and the two medals that were awarded for her mission on Marcus Prime. Kate was impressed there were so many. She turned to see Kacey watching her.
"I gave all those to mom, but they wound up on my walls when I let her decorate my office." Kacey said.
"I knew you had won awards Kacey, but God damn, I didn't know there were so many. Let me tell you little sister, you have absolutely nothing to feel insecure about"
"I look at those every time I come in here, see the name on them and think that it is someone else with the same name that did all those things. Then your report made me sound like..."
"Like an extremely competent leader who cares very much about the people under her. A leader who can look at the whole picture. One who is not afraid to take chances for the good of the troops, yet flexible enough to listen to her people if they have a different solution. A leader I would be proud to follow any day."
"Damn Kate, I don't know what to say."
"Here is a thought. Say thank you, shut down your computer and let me buy you a drink."
"Thank you Kate, but I have to pass on the drink. I have too many reports to finish up."
"So do I, but they will still be there later today or even tomorrow. Anya and Natalia will not be back until dinner time. Lets go"
"What the Hell. All right, but one drink only. I have to get these reports done." Kacey said and locked her computer. She did not shut it down as she fully intended on returning to finish her reports.
To be continued...
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