CHAPTER 40 A
Kacey's wings were restored after the hypnosis session. Right after the session, she felt most of the gaps were gone. She knew there might be others, but she no longer worried about them. She remembered the important ones and that was enough. That was what really mattered.
Both sisters knew they had a few things to answer to Patricia about. Thankfully the statute of limitations had long expired on youthful indiscretions. Unless the person they had to deal with was their mother. To a mother there was no such thing as statute of limitations. Patricia was angry with both of them. Kacey, for even thinking about getting into trouble and Kate for keeping them a secret. Even though the incidents happened when Kacey was a teenager, Patricia was not ready to let either of her daughters out of that particular dog house.
They had not told her what had happened, yet she was angry she had to find out there were secrets kept from her during Kacey's hypnosis. Eventually they both knew she would corner them and demand to be told.
Andromeda was once again on her journey. The repair and upgrades to the tower and dome on Titan were complete. Their next scheduled stop was a six week journey to the ice covered planet of Uranus. With no breathable air, only qualified engineers in full E.V.A. suits would be permitted to enter the self contained dome to make repairs and upgrades. The further they travelled from the sun the colder the planets would be.
Until they reached the Kuiper Belt, the farthest point that any humans had travelled. Once past the belt, they had no idea what they would find. They expected to reach the belt by mid to late summer. Meteor storms were a real and present part of their lives. At this point they could either see the storms as they started their journey to the sun or on their return journey.
Kacey took her shuttle out daily since Kate had reinstated her flying privileges. She enjoy flying and wasted no opportunities to get out among the stars. The beauty of those little balls of gas sometimes took her breath away. Her shuttle allowed her to be closer to the stars than the thick hull of Andromeda.
Marriage to Natalia was a constant source of enjoyment for Kacey. they were approaching their four month anniversary. Kacey planned a romantic dinner with dancing afterwards. When their duty shifts were over each day, they would take walks around the ship after dinner. They would visit the shops on deck eight where Kacey would purchase a little gift for Natalia. She showed Natalia how to check her credit balances when she worried about the amount of credits Kacey spent.
They finally worked up the nerve to visit the back room of the shop that carried the "Toys" In a courageous moment, they added to their collection, Kate and Anya had given them for Christmas. They had yet to gather the courage to try any of the items except for the massage oils that they both enjoyed. They finally sat down and watched the entire video, yet both were hesitant about putting into action what they had learned.
Natalia showed an aptitude for cooking. Under Patricia's tutelage she quickly picked up the culinary skills. She also found her niche in the Science Department. She enjoyed all the different parts. Anya was an excellent instructor. Lately Natalia was learning how to work the Star Navigator console on the Bridge. While she was there, Kacey tried to spend as little time on the Bridge as possible so that she did not distract Natalia or make her nervous. She remained in the Hanger area unless called to the Bridge.
Kacey had returned from her guard flight and was still in her flight suit. She sat in her office to work on the never ending list of reports. If she were to be completely honest, she was hiding from her mother. Kate was also. They had gone as far as pulling extra duty shifts to avoid family dinners. Eventually the stars would line up and they would no longer avoid the confrontation, both knew was coming. They may be two of the highest ranking officers on Andromeda, but rank meant nothing to Patricia. She was their unofficial Commander in Chief. The woman who could and did scare four star Generals and Rear Admirals spit less. A summons to appear could come at any time. A summons neither woman had the courage to defy.
"Colonel O'Malley to the Bridge."
"Damn." Kacey said to her empty office. "On my way." She responded into her communicator.
Kacey left her office and within minutes walked onto the Bridge. Natalia looked up from her console as Kacey walked out of the lift. Kacey threw her a quick wink before she sat down.
"How are things out there?" Kate asked.
"Very quiet. I did run into several meteor ion trails, but that was the extent of the excitement. Did your scanners pick up anything, Anya?"
"We did, but they look to be several days old."
"My scanners registered the same. We should start seeing some meteors as they either start their journey or finish it. Let's face it we know next to nothing about where they spend they vacation times."
Kate laughed. "Vacation times?"
"Yeah, they could be laying on a beach somewhere with an astral drink in their hands"
"You can be weird at times. I do hope that when they do show up, you cancel all your guard flights."
"Of course Kate. My pilots already know the flights could be cancelled at a moments notice. How am I weird? We don't know very much about them."
"Just checking little sister."
"Younger, Kate. Was there a reason you called me here or just to visit?"
"As a matter of fact there is a reason. Come into my Ready Room."
A feeling of dread came over Kacey as she followed Kate. She quickly scanned her brain to make sure she had not broken any rules in the past two weeks.
"Relax Kacey, you did nothing wrong. At least that I know of. Did you check your messages?"
"I did not have a chance. I just returned to my office and was about to work on reports when you paged me. Did not have time to get out of my flight suit or even grab a coffee. What's up?"
Kate poured her a coffee. "We have a command to appear for tomorrow night."
"We both knew it would come eventually. I am really surprised she lasted as long as she has. Can you come up with a Red Alert so that we have to postpone" Kate shook her head no. "What is the absolute worst she can do to us?"
"Kacey, think, this is mom we are talking about."
"Does Anya know what happened?"
"Mostly she does. How about Natalia?"
"I told her right after the hypnosis session." Kacey put her cup on the desk and walked to the window. "Kate" she said as she looked out at the stars. "There were things I said during that session that I think we really need to talk about." She continued to stare out the window.
"Kacey you really don't ..."
"Kate, please, let me get this off my chest or conscience. You did not deserve the way I treated you on that rescue mission. I did not want you to quote regulations at me. I do wish you had told me about mom's request before then. I was glad you were on that mission, yet I was so afraid of making a mistake in front of you. I did not want to disappoint you. My pilots lives depended on me making the right decisions. I wanted to much to ask for your guidance, but, I knew I would not be able to keep the respect for my people if I ran to my older sister at the first sign of trouble. But I really wanted to. I was glad you came up with suggestions even though I tried to act tough. Then I saw you crying after you talked to Anya. I didn't know if I cause some or all the hurt you were in. I wanted to talk to you, to tell you that we would get back. That no matter what, I would get you back to Anya and the girls. To tell you that everything would work out." Kacey turned from the window. "To tell you that I... that I love you. That no matter how much we argue, Kate, you are still my sister, my best friend. To tell you, that you are still my hero."
Kate felt her eyes fill up halfway through Kacey's speech. By the end, she was crying freely. "I am so sorry for the way I treated you Kate. For making you cry then and now." Kacey said.
Unable to speak, Kate went to Kacey and put her arms around her taller sister. Kacey held, Kate and let her cry.
"Kacey, that night you were not the only reason I was crying. Yes you were part of it, but so was missing Anya and the girls and being so damned stiff and sore and for being so frustrated that no matter what I wanted to tell you, just kept coming out all wrong. What I wanted to tell you that night was that I was damn proud I was able to see a whole other side of you. I got to see first hand just how incredible a leader you are I did watch you for a short time that night before I fell asleep and I thought of that skinny kid I let follow me around. Now that we are adults it is no longer a case of you following me, but rather, I would follow you anywhere and do it proudly."
Kacey sniffed. "Great now we will both have red eyes when we walk out of here."
"So we wait awhile. Come on have another coffee and we can visit. Maybe even be able to come up with some sort of explanation to tell mom tomorrow."
"Might as well get everything out in the open. That way we don't have to ever have to worry about them again." Kacey admitted.
"Everything? Kacey there was just the one time with the spray paint."
"You are forgetting the time I took dad's speeder without his permission and backed it into a tree. You took the blame because I was only fifteen and did not have a license. Or the time when I was twelve and I went to visit you at the Academy without telling them."
"Little sister, if those are the only things shady in your past, you are safe. Me on the other hand have kept a lot more from her."
"Then it is a good thing you are not on trial tomorrow."
"Okay. What is the worst she can do? Send us to our rooms without dinner? We are both too old to spank."
"On what?" Kacey demanded.
"On who is doing the spanking."
"Kate you have got to be kidding." A raised eyebrow was her answer. "That is just so wrong." Kate laughed. "You can't honestly say that you and Anya do that?"
Kate laughed harder. "Kacey after four months of marriage you are still such an innocent. Do I need to send you more reading material and videos? Tell me, have you ever just smacked each other's backsides when you were playing around?"
"Once. We were both being lazy and needed to get ready for our duty shifts. Some how spanking and foreplay just do not belong in the same sentence."
"Little sister you have so much yet to learn."
"Why is it that whenever we are not arguing, but trying to have a normal conversation, it always turns to sex?"
"Hell Kacey, if we only discussed normal things, you would never step outside the box and try different things. You would be eternally in the dark about all the good things you are missing out on and could be enjoying.." Kate typed several lines into her computer and hit send.
"How about we try this. What do you have planned for the rug rats birthday next month or for your anniversary?"
"Anya and I have decided to just have a quiet dinner maybe some dancing afterwards. We have talked about a small party for the girls, the family, a few of their friends from school and a few adult friends."
"I have an idea I want to pass by you both. I was thinking of giving them my keyboard and give them music lessons that they both want."
"Your key board, Kacey?"
"Look, Kate, they are both too small for my violin or guitar, so I thought the keyboard would be a good place to start their musical education. Please let me do this for them, Kate."
"I will talk to Anya." Kate said. "Thank you."
"Who knows maybe you will give it another try."
"No Kacey. You inhereited the musical ability in this family."
"Does that ever bother you?"
"Not in the least. We each have our talents. I can draw and you are lucky to be able to draw a straight line with a ruler."
"That is so very true. Let me know."
To be continued...
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