Go to Prologue
Wearing fatigues, Kacey strode into the Cargo Bay turned Hanger, where her troops were gathered. The Stingers were lined up on three sides of the Bay. Pilots, Mechanics and Engineers were grouped around the Stingers, going over ever nut, bolt and clamp. They made sure everything was tightened, greased and oiled. Having parts falling off while in the vacuum of space meant instant death to the pilot and the loss of a vessel. Neither could be replaced.
Kacey watched the activity around the bay. These were her troops. She felt the swell of pride as she watched them pay more attention to their tasks than to her. She was not here to disrupt their work. Except for...She spied the soldier behind the planes. Her presence was noted by the Captain, who was about to call the troops to attentions when Kacey held a finger to her lips to silence him. She motioned him to her side and pointed to the man in the corner and what looked like a women's head.
"Damn not even a week into the mission and he can not keep his hands to himself." The Captain whispered.
"Call the crew to attention, Captain." Kacey ordered.
"Yes ma'am. Ten Hut" the Captain ordered. Every man and women snapped to attention including the man they were watching. He turned to face them. Kacey saw the women try to straighten her clothing.
"Private would you wait in the office?"
"Yes ma'am" She saluted with a shaky hand and left.
"Sergeant, explain what you were doing?"
"Just taking a break ma'am. Me and my girlfriend were just making plans for later, ma'am."
"I see." Kaceys voice was cold, but her eyes shot flames. "So the reason you had her hands pinned above her head was?
"Just a game ma'am"
Aware of the crew still at attention, and watching the drama, she said. "At ease. Back to your duties everyone." She turned back to the Sergeant. "Not you Sergeant. You are still at attention."
He snapped to attention. "You do realize that sexual harassment or any form of harassment is strictly against the law. You could be arrested, court martialed and imprisoned."
"Like I said ma'am were just fooling around."
"Did you at any time inform the Private that you were, as you put it, just fooling around? I ask this because from where I was standing it sure did not look like she was enjoying your attention. Captain I want this man confined to quarters until I talk to the private and get the real story."
"Armed guard ma'am?" He questioned.
"Not yet, but set the code so that you and only you can let him out. Come into the office after you have locked him up. Dismissed" Both men saluted and left. The Captain had a tight hold on the Sergeants arm.
"Lieutenant Wilson would you come into the office" Kacey called to the officer close by."
"Yes ma'am." He put down the tools he was using. He picked up a cloth to clean his hands and joined Kacey at the office. He held opened the door for her and followed her into the small room. Every inch of the walls were covered with pictures of air craft old, new and future, from that very first air craft to the very latest Star Traveler. Blue prints rolled and placed on most of the surfaces except the desk, which was empty except for a computer. Kacey booted up the computer and set the machine to record. There were four chairs around the desk.
"At ease Private. Please be seated." Both the Private and Lieutenant waited until she sat before they did. "Private, I have heard one story from Sergeant Castor. I would like to hear your side."
"Colonel, I hate to cause any problems. Could we just forget this happened?" The Private asked, her voice shaky.
Kacey sighed. "No Private this can not be swept under the rug. First of all this was witnessed by two other people so there is no way I can let this go. If he has been harassing you, he will harass others. This is a long mission and this sort of thing must be stopped now."
"All right ma'am."
"I am going to record this for your protection. Take your time and tell us what happened."
The Private took a shaky breath and began. "It started at breakfast this morning. I was eating breakfast when Sergeant Castor came in."
"Did you ask him to join you?"
"No Ma'am. He invited himself. He sat along side of me instead of across. He pulled his chair really close, took the hand computer I was using out of my hand and put his arm around my shoulder. I asked him to remove his arm. He laughed but removed his arm."
"Was there anyone else in the dinning room at the time?"
"There were several people there, but I don't know if they saw anything. Although the cook did come over and ask about the food."
"Your mother ma'am."
"Then you probably have a witness. She is very perceptive that way. What happened next?"
"Sergeant Castor said he had been watching me for the past couple days and that with his guidance he could help me advance faster. He said that under his care I would advance to Sergeant in no time. He then put his hand on my thigh. I removed his had, grabbed my hand computer and stood up. I told him I was not interested in his sort of help. Then I left the dining hall."
Kacey watched the Private take a breath then noticed her hands were shaking more than before. She stopped the recording and went to the coffee pot that was always on. "Would you like a cup of coffee? Tea? Water? " She asked both the Private and Lieutenant.
"Coffee would be great. Thank you ma'am. I did not get to eat breakfast." The Lieutenant nodded acceptance. Kacey noticed the Captain outside the door and motioned him in. She held up the coffee pot. At his nod, she poured four cups which she handed out. She set out sugar and creamer The Captain took the fourth chair.
"The Sergeant is locked in his quarters Colonel and only I know the code."
"Good. Make sure it stays that way. Private do you feel up to continuing?" She nodded. Kacey turned the computer back on and started the recorder. "After you left the dining hall what did you do?"
"I came here to the hanger and started my assigned tasks."
"Colonel, I can vouch for the Private. I came into the hanger around oh seven hundred hours and she was already at work," The Lieutenant stated.
"Noted Lieutenant. Continue Private. Did the Sergeant come any where near you during the morning?"
"Yes ma'am twice. Both times he said he the same thing that he could help me. I told him again I was not interested in his sort of help. He kept trying to touch me and I had to keep backing away. Around ten hundred hours I told the Lieutenant I was taking a bio break and left the floor."
"She did inform me of the break, Colonel."
"Private, After you left the hanger, what happened?"
"I returned about ten minutes later and the Sergeant was waiting for me. He grabbed my arm and forced me into the corner behind the tool cases. He tried to kiss me but I turned my head. I tried to pushed him away, but he pinned my hands above my head, he slapped my face and started to unzip my coveralls. That is when Captain Taggart called attention."
"Private I have to ask you a question. Do not think I ask this because I do not believe you. Just the opposite, but did you at any time, indicate that you would be open to his advances?"
"Absolutely not Colonel. I am in a committed relationship with Maria Montoya, the head nurse in the sick bay. We have been together for about five years."
"I believe that is all the information I need at the moment. Captain, Lieutenant do you have any thing you would like to ask Private Hastings?" Both men shook their heads no.
Kacey shut off the recorder.
"Colonel, could I ask a question off the record?"
"Of course." Kacey replied.
"What happens next?"
"To you, absolutely nothing. The Sergeant however, I need to bring this to Captain Jensen as she is my superior officer on the ship. Would you like to take the rest of the day off or return to your duties?"
"I think I want to return to work."
Kacey noticed the Private was shaking more than before and that her face was wet with sweat. "Private Hastings are you by any chance hypoglycemic?"
"Yes ma'am from time to time but it does not interfere with my duties. As I said before I did not eat breakfast this morning."
"Lieutenant, please escort Private Hastings to the dining hall and get her some food. Stay with her until she eats."
"Dismissed." The two left leaving the Captain and Kacey alone.
"Hell of a way to start a mission, Captain."
"That is for sure Colonel. Did you know about the Sergeant's service record before he came on board?"
"Wish I had. He was one of three I was ordered to take and not ask questions. I will definitely be thanking General Millhouse for putting this on my shoulders."
"Maybe he was hoping you would get so mad at the Sergeant you would stuff him in an air lock and send him into space."
"That may just happen. Captain I need you to report what you witness this morning as well. As soon as possible."
"You will have it by lunch Colonel."
"Now I get the privilege of dumping this on Kate's desk." Kacey retuned the Captain's salute, picked up the recorder and walked out of the office. She touched the communicator on her wrist. "Colonel O'Malley to Captain Jensen."
"Go ahead Colonel."
"I need to see you immediately Captain."
"Meet me in my Ready Room."
Kacey entered the elevator and headed to the bridge. Without a word she exited the elevator and strode across the bridge to the Ready room..
To be continued...
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