Patricia found them two hours later still asleep. She backed quietly out of the bedroom and went into the kitchen. She placed their lunch in the heater to keep it warm. She turned as her daughter's tall form came out of the bedroom. Her eyes still had that glazed half asleep look. Kacey pulled the bedroom door almost closed, not wanting to disturb Natalia who was still asleep.

"Hi mom." Kacey said quietly.

"I did not mean to wake you." Patricia stated.

"You didn't. I was just dozing and being lazy. I can not believe how tired I get."

"That is all part of the concussion dear. I brought you some coffee. Sit." Patricia ordered.

"That would be heaven right now. Join me?"

"I see the Doctor was here."

"Yeah and he gave me this smaller brace. I can at least use part of my arm and even move my shoulder a little. Then he said they will stimulate the my hair where they shaved it to cover the bald spots. Maybe tomorrow or the next day, as soon as the bandages come off."

"That is good news."

"I may be able to lose the brace completely in a few days. I still have to take it easy while the muscles and tendons heal from being pulled. Can you join me or do you have to get back to work?"

"I have a couple of hours before I need to go to back the Mess Hall. Something on your mind?" She brought the coffee to Kacey and a tea for herself.

"Last report has the rescue ships arriving in three days." She said without preamble.

"I heard that also. What are you going to do?"

"I don't know, mom."

"Kacey even a fool can see that you have feelings for Natalia. Do you want her to stay?" Patricia asked.

"I can not ask her to stay mom."

"That is not what I asked you. Do you want her to stay?"

"Yes, but I still can not ask that of her."

"Why in heaven not?"

"She is their leader, mom. I can not ask her to turn her back on her people on the chance that there might be something developing between us. Something that is bigger than friendship."

"Of course you can."

"All right say I did ask her and she stayed, then we find out there was nothing but friendship between us, she would end up resenting the fact that I asked her to stay which could lead to her resenting me. I would rather we part as friends than to have her resent or even hate me for influencing her decision."

"That will not happen Kacey"

"How can you be so sure?"

"Let me ask you this. How do you feel about Natalia?"

"I like her mom. Really like her. I can not think of a time in my life when I have ever felt this way about another person."

"For what it is worth, I believe she feels the same way." Patricia told her daughter. "I understand that this could be a very scary thing to happen. You have never opened yourself up to those sort of feelings"

"Scary, you bet you a... I see how strong the love between you and dad is and between Kate and Anya."

"So it is love now? A few minutes ago it was like?"

"I don't know what I am feeling. At times I look at her and my heartbeat starts racing and I can not seem to be able to take a deep breath."

"So tell me about that cozy little scene I walked into earlier."

"Nothing to tell. We were talking and both fell asleep. Besides I am not a person to kiss and tell." Kacey admitted.


"Damn it, you did it to me again." Patricia laughed. "All right we kissed."


"And nothing. We fell asleep."


Natalia lay on the bed listening to the soft conversation in the dining room. She knew it was wrong to eavesdrop but she could not stop herself. She needed to know if Kacey had the same feelings she had. Listening to their conversation she knew what she had to do. She got off the bed, went in to the bathroom where she splashed some cold water on her face to chase the cobwebs of sleep from her brain, before she joined Kacey and Patricia.

"Why didn't you wake me?" Natalia asked.

"You looked so peaceful, I did not want to disturb you. Mom brought lunch. Are you hungry?"

"What time is it?" She asked.

"Almost fourteen hundred hours." Kacey answered.

"For those of us who do not speak military, what does that translate into."

"Almost two p.m."

"I will have to pass unfortunately. I have a meeting with my advisors and cabinet in about thirty minutes. I should head out now. I am not sure how long it will take me to find them. See you at dinner?"

"Sure." Kacey answered flatly. They watched her leave. Kacey got up and walked to the window.

"Don't do this to yourself, Kacey"

"Do what, mom?"

"Think the worse. Think this meeting means something bad. Natalia has a responsibility to her people, even if they no longer have a home.

"Then how can I ask her to give up her responsibility. To turn her back on her people."

"You could ask her what the meetings are about. I am sure they are not top secret. I am going to make an observation. Seems to you that the way you are tearing your self up, that what you feel is not just a case of liking her. You love her. Time to admit it Kacey if not to me then to yourself."

"How can I be sure?" Kacey asked her mother.

"Darling, love is never sure. How did you feel when you kissed her?"

"It was nice. Very nice."

"That's all? Nice?" Patricia watched Kacey's reflection in the glass. Saw the smile light up her face. "No need to answer that dear. Your smile says it all."

"Then I am a coward, mom."

"Coward? I think not. A coward would not have rushed into a quake ravaged building to save someone. A coward would not have picked up a Queen to get her to safety. A coward would certainly not have piloted a ship when injured."

"You make me sound like some sort of hero mom. I was following orders. That is all following orders."

"You keep telling yourself that Kacey. But know this, I saw that video. What I saw screamed hero, not coward. But love, now love is in a class all by itself. It can be scary as hell but most definitely worth holding on to. There is a saying from a very old movie that fits this situation perfectly. 'Sometimes you just have to close your eyes, grit your teeth and jump the fence. It's not even high.'" Patricia wrapped her tall daughter in her arms. "Things will work out Kacey as long as you are willing to take that chance. Give Natalia the chance. Give her the choice. If you do not tell her how you feel she will not know."

"Thanks mom." Kacey said as she returned her mother's embrace.

"Now come eat your lunch. Maybe I will let you have another cup of coffee."


Natalia sat at the head of the confrence table. She held her computer and read. She was early for the meeting and used the time to read the documents in front of her.

She had a few options at her disposal. She would need to talk to her people. She could or rather should visit the other survivors before the rescue ships arrived. She needed to talk to Kate aboout using one of the shuttles and a pilot to take her to the other ships. The door opened to admit her cabinet and advisors.

"Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Pleae be seated, we have a lot to discuss this afternon."

To be continued...

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