Go to Prologue
"Sounds like Kacey is awake and angry." Anya stated. Everyone could hear the sounds of pounding on the door and Kacey's voice raised in anger.
"How long until we are out of Megaran space?" Kate asked
"I am not sure. According to our charts another 30 minutes at the very least least, Captain."
"The sooner we are out of their space the sooner I can open that door before she breaks her hands."
"Or the door, Katie." Liam added.
The stars zoomed by. Kate sat in her chair. She rested her head on her hands as she stared at the floor in front of her. The sounds of banging continued for several more minutes. When they suddenly stopped, Kate looked towards the door
Natalia and Patricia watched Kacey beat on the door. Finally Natalia stepped between Kacey and the door. Kacey raised her bound hands to hit the door but stopped when Natalia stepped in front of her.
"Kacey please stop." Natalia pleaded and took Kacey's battered hands in hers and kissed them. "Please look at me." She waited until the blue eyes lowered. "I love you. I would have stopped you. One way or another I would not have let you leave this ship. You told me we would have a lot of years together. You promised me. Did you lie about that?"
"No. I did not lie to you. I wanted us to have many years together. I still do." Kacey answered softly.
"How could we have those years if you had left? You would not be here with me so how would we have those years. Come away from the door and let me look at your hands. Please?"
Kacey stepped away from the door. Her shoulders slumped in defeat and walked to the window. Patricia pulled out the first aid case from the closet and broke open a cold pack which she placed over her daughter's hands.
"Thanks mom." Kacey said softly. Patricia patted her daughter's cheek.
"I want you to listen to me, Kacey. I want to remember one thing about this situation. You remember that Kate acted out of love by stopping you. Your sister stopped you because she loves you. Make sure you remember ." Patricia left her daughter standing at the window.
Natalia put her arms around Kacey waist and rested her head on Kacey's shoulder, as the both stared out at the stars.
The stars continued to zoom by. Five minutes of quiet went by, then ten. Kate continued to stare at the floor. Liam took his place next to her. He placed a comforting hand on her arm. Kate did not look up but covered his hand with hers.
"Captain, as close as we can tell we are out of Megaran space." The Lieutenant stated.
"Keep us at warp nine for fifteen more minutes the drop to warp seven. How far off course are we?"
"Close to a million kilometers, Captain."
"Get us back on course, Lieutenant and resume our course for Saturn."
"Yes ma'am. At our present speed we will be back on course in about four hours."
Kate nodded and stood up. She looked up at Anya. Saw the love and concern in the blue eyes. Kate drew strength from the love radiating back at her. She took a deep breath. Kate knew what she had to do now.
"Commander Torino, you are with me." Kate stated. Rhea left her post and took her position at Kate's side. "Computer open Ready Room door. Jensen Captain Alpha Zeta nine seven four two gamma."
The door opened. Natalia and Patricia looked up as the door opened. Kacey did not move. Kate motioned for the two to leave. The door closed behind them. Kate noticed the dents in the door, and was in awe of the raw power that would inflict damage on the titanium door.
"Computer locked Ready Room door."
"Lock on," the computer responded
Kate took another deep breath and walked to her desk. Kacey had not changed her position or even acknowledged anyone was in the room. The silence was thick. When Kate spoke it was not an order, but a request asked softly.
"Kacey would you join us please?"
It was several heartbeats before Kacey turned away from the window. Several more before she moved away from the window and sat down. Kate noticed Kacey's hands. Red and swollen from banging against the door. The cuffs still in place.
"Rhea, please remove the cuffs."
Rhea reached into her pocket and removed a knife which she used to cut the flex cuffs off. Kacey's wrists had angry red welts from the cuffs. She did not acknowledge the removal and held her hands in the same position as if the cuffs were still on.
"We have quite a problem Kacey Striking not one but three fellow crewmen, disregarding a direct order, not to mention the damage you did to my door." Kacey remained quiet. Her eyes fixed on a spot on the desk in front of her. Would you like to say anything in your defense?" Kacey remained silent her eyes still on the desk. "Damn it say something."
"What is there to say Kate. I am guilty."
"Commander, tell me exactly what you did after you left the bridge. Leave nothing out." Kate ordered.
"I gathered six security and we went to the hanger. We waited until the air lock doors opened and converged on Colonel O'Malley's shuttle. The ramp was closed. I stood in front of the shuttle and asked the Colonel to open the ramp and exit the shuttle. At first she did not respond. I asked a second time. She then shut down the shuttle engine, opened the ramp and exited." Rhea stopped her narration and looked at Kacey.
"Continue Commander. I want to know everything that happened."
"Before the Colonel opened the ramp I instructed my people that they were not to touch her, unless she resisted. I informed the Colonel of her arrest. The guards surrounded her. Two of them grabbed her arms." Rhea paused again. A raised eyebrow from Kate and she continued. "Up until that point the Colonel had not resisted. Once my guards grabbed her arms, she lashed out. Knocked out the two holding her with elbows to their jaws. The third was knocked out after he tried to subdue the Colonel by jumping on her back. She pushed him off and against the shuttle. It was at that point that I stunned her and put the flex cuffs on her. The Colonel had not made any overt threats or actions until she was grabbed, Captain. My guards caused her reactions. They were told not to touch her. I revived my guards and we carried her here."
"So first contact was made by your guards."
"Yes ma'am. They were told hands off unless she resisted. She did not resist in any way My guards are responsible for their own injuries. The Colonel was defending herself from acts of aggression from my security."
"This is the absolute truth Commander? Will hanger videos back up what you have just told me?"
"If there is an inquiry, are you willing to state the same under oath?"
"Yes ma'am I will." Rhea looked Kate squarely in the eye.
"Kacey is that what happened?"
"If Commander Torino said it, then it is true." Kacey responded never raising her eyes. "Commander are your guards all right?"
"They are fine. Royally pissed off that you were able to take them out, but fine."
"Tell them I am sorry
"Commander in your opinion, should the charges of striking another crewman be dropped?"
"Yes ma'am, without any doubt in my mind."
"Okay, those charges are off the record. That leaves disobeying a direct order. Anything you want to say in your behalf?"
"You know my reasons, Kate."
"I need you to state your reasons."
"I did not want anyone to get hurt on my behalf. The loss of one is infinitely better than the loss of many."
"So you were going to sacrifice yourself to protect the ship and the people on it."
"You can look at it that way. I thought to draw them out and away from Andromeda. Have them chase me and leave the ship alone. Then I planned to find a way to meet up with Andromeda later."
"Are you bucking for another medal?"
"That was not my intention."
"Let me ask you this. If the shields had not been raised and the launch doors command had not been overridden would you have left?" Kacey was silent. "I order you to answer."
"I don't know. You took away my right to choose my course of action, Kate. You did not trust me enough to make the right choice." Kacey said, her eyes finally leaving the spot she had starred at and tracked to Kate's.
The level of despair that Kate saw in Kacey's eyes shocked her. "What are you thinking Kacey?"
" I... I have always been proud of the fact that I have never gone back on my word. I almost did that today Kate. I promised Natalia that we would have many years together. My actions would have made that promise worthless."
"I apologize for not trusting you enough to make the right choice. And for taking the choice out or your hands. But now I have a choice to make. I can not overlook the fact that you disregarded a direct order. I can send you to the Brig or confine you to your quarters with video surveillance."
"You do what you think right, Kate."
Kate worried about the lack of fight in Kacey. Normally they would have been yelling and cussing at each other. The quiet, defeated version of her sometimes volatile sister unnerved her.
"Commander, what is your recommendations?"
"Captain, sending the Colonel to the Brig would be a waste of valuable man power. If confined to quarters, the Colonel could still be useful."
"No less than two weeks and no more than six weeks."
"You do not consider that a bit lenient?"
"Taking the circumstances into consideration, no ma'am."
"I agree. Colonel O'Malley for disobeying a direct order, you are sentence to be confined to your quarters with full video surveillance from the hours of zero seven hundred hours to eighteen hundred hours for a period of two weeks. Punishment to begin immediately. Is there anything you need to get from your office?"
"Yes Captain, there is."
"Very well. Commander you and I will accompany the Colonel to her office, then to Sick Bay to make sure there is nothing broken in her hands. I can see the dents in the door from here."
"Colonel will you give me your word that you will not leave your quarters without permission for the duration of your confinement or do I have to put a computer lock on."
"For what it is worth, you have my word Kate.".
"I accept your word. Lets go get what you need from your office." The all stood and walked to the door. "Computer open Ready Room door.
To be continued...
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