Go to Prologue
Kate sat in her command chair staring out at the vast display of stars on the view screen. They had several days of quiet travel. No excitement to ease the boredom that was creeping into their lives. She was all caught up on her paperwork so she did not even have that to fall back on. She sighed.
The ship had no problems that needed her immediate attention. She suddenly envied Kacey who always had something to occupy her time. If she was bored, she could take her shuttle out for her rotation at the recon missions she sent her Stingers on. With Liam enjoying a day off, she did not have the entertaining banter to occupy her mind. She sighed again.
Her personal message screen beeped. Kate pulled it forward and smiled at the message there. "Bored, my Kate?"
Kate typed a response. "Is it that obvious?"
"Only to me. It is quiet, why not take a walk around the ship?"
"Thank you darling."
Kate stood up. "I am going to check out the other departments. Commander Torino, you have the Bridge." Kate walked behind Anya and ran her hand over her wife's backside as she passed by. She entered the lift.
"Deck two." She said, when the doors closed. Engineering was always a beehive of activity. No matter how boring and quiet other areas were, something was always going on in Engineering. There were thousands of problems that could crop up in a heart beat, if the staff did not constantly check and recheck the hundreds of gauges on the engines that powered the huge ship. Even a drop of one tenth of one percent in the power could mean a big difference in speed.
The massive engines hummed softly. The staff moved from console to console taking readings and making adjustments as needed. Kate nodded to the staff who looked up long enough to acknowledge her presence. Commander Bella Torino hurried to her.
"Captain, is there anything I can do for you?"
"Just visiting Bella. Any problems?"
"We had a slight fluxuation in engine four earlier, but all we needed to do is adjust the oxygen flow. Purring like a kitten now."
"Very good. Carry on." Kate said and left Engineering.
She walked the length of the ship to the science department, The egg heads were all bent over their tables studying the specimens they had collected. Not one looked up from their microscopes as Kate entered. She left not wanting to disturb them.
She peaked into the classroom, but did not go in. Kate spied their daughters. Their heads titled at identical angles as they did their work. Kate smiled at the sight and left before they noticed her.
She entered the lift. "Hanger", she stated. Within seconds she stepped off the lift. The air lock doors were closed and the launch door opened. She watched as the ships returned from their recon mission. Kacey's Shuttle led the group of ten Stingers as they landed. Kate watched Kacey expertly taxi and park her shuttle in the space assigned to shuttles.
Kate knew the air lock door would not open until the launch doors were closed and air pumped back into the hanger. The pilots could not leave their ships until that happened. In less than five minutes all the stingers had returned and the massive launch doors closed.
She heard the hiss of air as it filled the space between the two sets of doors. The airlock would not open until the atmosphere was restored. A green light lit up and the air lock doors opened. Pilots opened their cockpits and removed their helmets. They left their Stingers. Kate watched as Kacey lowered the ramp on her shuttle. She made her way over and entered.
"Permission to come aboard, Colonel." Kate said.
"Come on in Kate. What brings you down to my domain?"
"Just taking a walk around the ship."
"Is it that evident? Anya picked up on it earlier."
"It is only evident to those of us who know you. But I know what you mean. I was not scheduled to go out until tomorrow. It is very quiet out there. The most exciting thing we saw was a bunch of shooting stars. Hard to know which one to wish on. Got time for a coffee?"
"Always have time for coffee little sister."
"Younger Kate. Come into my office." Kacey stated as they walked off the shuttle. Kacey closed the ramp. "Major after lunch have the next group go out."
"Will do Colonel."
They continued to the office. Kacey poured each of them a cup of coffee and sat behind her desk. "I want to show you something." I picked it up this morning. " Kacey unlocked the desk drawer and removed the small box which she handed to Kate.
Kate opened the box . The ring nestled on a bed of blue velvet took Kate's breath away. The green stone winked out at her from the platinum band.
"That is beautiful. Natalia is going to love it."
"I certainly hope so."
"Are you having doubts or second thoughts?"
"So that means you are afraid she will say no."
"Yes. We love each other, but..."
"Why the doubt?"
"What if what we have enough for her? What if she does not want to get married? What if..."
"Look you can what if until the end of time, but I firmly believe that when you ask her, she will say yes.. Are you still planning on asking her Christmas?"
"Or Christmas Eve after the party when we are alone."
"Bridge to Captain Jensen."
"Go ahead Commander."
"Sensors have picked up several large masses about a million kilometers away."
"Colonel O'Malley and I are on own way." Kate said. "Let's go see what is brewing."
Kacey locked the ring box back in the drawer and followed Kate out the door.
To be continued...
Return to the Academy