"What?" "I asked if you were all right." "Why the Hell are you asking that?" "How can I not ask? You suddenly turn into some kind of dare devil and you want to know why I asked if you are all right?" "I have not turned into any sort of dare devil, Kate." "Then just what you call it when you decide to play chicken with those masses out there?" "Scientific Experiment." Kacey turned away to watch the activity in the Hanger. "That's all it was?" "Captain to the Bridge." Kate sighed. "On my way. This is not finished Kacey . We will get back to this later."

"I have no doubt about that at all, Kate." Kacey said without turning around.

Kate watched her for several seconds before she opened the ramp and left the shuttle. Kacey watched her walk away. She did not leave the shuttle until Kate entered the lift.

"Bridge" Kate said as she entered the lift.

She exited onto the Bridge and took her seat. "What is going on?"

"We have an incoming message that the computer is trying to translate."

"On screen." Kate ordered. After several minutes of watching the strange symbols repeated the computer was ready.

"Translation is coming through Kate." Anya stated.

Strange craft, why are you attacking us?

"This is Captain Kate Jensen of the United World Star Traveler, Andromeda, we were not attacking you. We are scientists who come upon your civilization on our way to Saturn."

They waited for Kate's words to be translated. Almost ten minutes elapsed before the next series of symbols appeared.

"Did the sensors pick up any weapons?"

"Nothing Captain."
"Scan them again." Kate ordered.

"No weapons at all, Captain."

"There is another translation coming through."

"We are a peaceful people who do not like outsiders. Please leave us in peace."

"We are not looking for any sort of trouble. We thought we had discovered an asteroid field and only wanted to study it. We will leave your territory immediately." Kate said. "Set our course around this area. Warp five."

"Aye Captain. Course laid in. Warp five." Lieutenant Minor stated.

The ship changed course and headed around the strange rocks.


Kacey finished closing up her shuttle and went into her office. She sat behind her desk staring at her computer. She watched the replay of their latest trip. With no propulsion or weapons signatures, they had no way of knowing that the large band of rocks was not what it appeared to be. She felt the ship start to move.

"We must be going around the rock band. Those mysterious rocks or what ever the hell they were will remain a mystery." She said to herself.

With quarterly reports due again, she closed out the replay of the aborted mission and pulled up her report program. Kacey pulled herself out of the funk she found herself in and started to work on the reports. She worked steadily without interruption for several hours.

Her stomach rumbled to remind her that she had not eaten since breakfast. Kacey locked her computer and decided to go to the Mess Hall. Natalia was working the late shift all week so she would not be available for lunch. She tucked her glasses in her breast pocket and grabbed her hand computer and left her office.

Kacey sat at her favorite table and programmed her selections into the table top menu. She opened her computer. Within minutes her mother brought over her lunch. Once again she found it was not what she ordered.

"I don't know why I bother ordering when you just disregard my choices and bring me what you want." Kacey stated. She had a hard time keeping the sarcasm from her voice.

"Then save yourself the aggravation and just let me decide, Kacey"

"Mom I am an adult and..."

"Stop right there young lady. You may be an adult in years, but you will always be my child. The sooner you realize that mother's really do know best, the better off you will be. You will just have to deal with it." Patricia stated and walked away.

Kacey put on her glasses and continued her research while she ate lunch. She pushed the empty plate away and finished the ubiquitous glass of milk her mother insisted on giving her. Patricia brought her a coffee as a reward.

"Thanks, mom. Lunch was delicious as usual."

Patricia sat down across from Kacey. "How are you doing dear?"

"I am fine mom. Before you ask, Natalia is fine also. She only went to Sick Bay for a routine physical. We are great. There is nothing wrong with either of us, professionally or personally."

"I am happy for that update, dear, but I was only making conversation."

"Sorry mom. That makes me two for two in pissing people off today. It has been that sort of day ." Kacey finished her coffee.

"Another one dear?" Patricia asked. "Don't worry I am not mad at you."

"I have to get back to my reports."

"I know Natalia is working the late shift so why not you have dinner with your father and I?"

"I am not sure how long I will be working. Natalia may call me to have dinner with her, but I will keep your offer in mind."

Kacey closed her computer, kissed her mother's cheek and left the Mess Hall.. Patricia watched her leave. Liam was right, there is something going on with their daughter.

To be continued...

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