Kacey strolled onto the Bridge. All eyes were on her as she assumed the command chair.

She smiled. "Captain Jensen is going to all right. The Doctor removed the breathing tubes.She woke up for a short time and talked to us. She is going to be fine."

There were smiles all around the Bridge.

"I am not sure when she will be released from Sick Bay or when she will be able to return to duty. So for at least a short time longer, you are stuck with my inexperience. With everyone's help, I hope I can live up to Kate's standards."

"Colonel, you are doing a fine job."

"Thank you Lieutenant." Kacey told the pilot. "Open a ship wide channel."

"Channel open Colonel.


Anya and Kate listened as the tone signaled a ship wide announcement.

"This is acting Captain, Marine Colonel Kirsten O'Malley with an update on with a Captain Jensen's condition. She has greatly improved. She woke up and was able to talk to us. Thank you again to everyone who volunteered to be guinea pigs to get the medicine needed to bring her back. Thank you also for all the get well cards and emails. I will personally see that she gets everyone of them." The tone sounded again to end the announcement.

To save her voice, Anya handed Kate a pad and pen.

"What happened?" Kate wrote.

"You had a very bad reaction to a hornet sting." Anya explained.

"After that. Why all the tension between Mom and Kacey?"

"After we returned to Andromeda, Patricia accused her of not watching out for you. She blamed Kacey for your injury."

"She didn't?"

"Unfortunately yes. To make matter worse, Kacey blames herself." Kate shook her head no. "We found out the Doctor needed the exact hornet that stung you, Kacey returned to the planet to get what the Doctors needed. Patricia forbid her to go back down, but Kacey defied her and went anyway. They had a really bad argument when Kacey returned. They have not really spoken since then. I think that hug Patricia gave Kacey is the first time she has allowed Patricia to touch her."

"What are we going to do about them?"

"I do not know. Patricia hurt Kacey at a time when she was already fragile because she blames herself for your injury. We have all tried to talk to her, but no matter what we say it does not convince her. They only person who can probably reach her will be you."

"I will certainly do that. Will she bring the girls tonight?

"Kacey said they would bring them by after dinner. Is there anything I can get you now?"


Anya laughed"Some things never change. Let me check with the doctor."

"Couldn't you just sneak one in?"

"No Kate I will not. You need to behave." Anya kissed her."I will be right back."

Anya left Kate's room. Kate lay her head back against the pillow and waited. Anya returned with a cup in her hands. Kate's eyes lit up.

"Do not get excited, this is tea." Kate frowned. "But if you are good you can have coffee tomorrow."


Kacey and Natalia walked the girls to Sick Bay to visit their mother. They were excited about finally getting to visit.

"Remember what I said demons, your mother is not allowed to talk so you have to take it easy on her, Okay?"

"Okay, Aunt Kacey." Erin said.

"Will we be able to have another sleep over tonight?" Erica asked.

"Do you want to?"

"Yeah." They said together.

"What do you think Aunt Natty? Want to keep the demons for another night?"

"Of course. They can stay with us as long as Kate is in Sick Bay. Will you stay here again tonight?"

"If that is what it takes for Anya to get some rest for a few hours, I will." Kacey said. "Talia, when we get there I will let you three go in so Kate does not get overloaded with visitors."

"Is that the real reason or are you afraid?"

"Yes I am. I am so afraid Kate will blame me. I do not think I could stand to hear her say that it was my fault."

"This is not that big a ship, you will not be able to avoid talking to her forever. Or your mother either."

"I know, Talia. I think I may have sprouted a yellow streak up my spine."

"Are you sure about that? I did not see one when you came out of the shower with just a towel on." Natalia told her. "Part of me says no, do not do it, but you are not ready to face what she might have to say to you. You have not forgiven yourself. So I will do it this time. Let me ask you this, if you plan on going back later so that Anya can rest how are you going to avoid talking to Kate?"

"I had planned on waiting until she was asleep."

"Kacey." Natalia sighed.

"I told you, there is a big old yellow streak." Kacey said. "What if I do this, I will escort you to Kate's room and then leave."

"All right Kacey. For now and only because I love you."

"I love you right back. Thank you Talia."

Kacey held the door open for Natalia and the girls to go into Sick Bay. She led them to Kate's room. Through the window, Kacey saw her parents standing near the bed.

"Mummy." The girls cried as they ran to Kate's side. Anya picked them both up and placed them on the foot of the bed Natalia entered right behind them. Kacey backed away from the room and left Sick Bay. Natalia turned to find Kacey gone and shook her head.


"Will Kacey be joining us?" Patricia asked"

"That was the original plan, until, as she put it, she developed a yellow streak up her back. She is afraid to hear what Kate started to tell her earlier."

"Damn." Kate rasped.

"Kate you are not supposed to talk." Anya told her.

"This can not continue." Patricia stated.

Kate wrote on the pad and held it up. Find her and bring her back here.

"Katie do ye think you should?"

"I am still the Captain of this ship.

"Aye Katie." Liam said and pressed the private call button on his communicator. "Kacey return to sick bay." There was no response. "Kacey." He tried again. With still no response. "Computer locate Colonel O'Malley's communicator."

"Colonel O'Malley's communicator is in Sick Bay."

Liam left the room to find his daughter. He returned moments later with Kacey's communicator in is hand.

"You visit, Katie. I will find her." Kate nodded. Liam left the room.

"Mummy is Aunt Kacey in trouble?"Erin asked. Kate nodded.

"Is she going to get a spanking?" Erica asked.

This broke the tension in the room as the adults started laughing.

What about it Natalia? She wrote

"I do not think I am big enough or strong enough to do that." Natalia answered.

We can get you all the help you wouldneed.

"I will think about that and get back to you."

How are you feeling?

"I have a little morning sickness, but other that that I feel great. The question is how do you feel?"

"Better by the minute. I can not wait to get out of here."

"That will probably not be for a couple more days, Kate." Anya told her.

"Mama can we have another sleepover at Aunt Kacey and Aunt Natty's tonight?"

"Kacey asked them earlier. They have been really good."

Anya looked at Kate who smiled at their children. They both nodded.

Thank you for the beautiful card you made for me. I love it. Anya read what Kate had written. How was school today?

"There was no school today, Kate. It is Saturday."

How are your music lessons?

"Aunt Kacey is teaching us a special song for you and mama." Erin said.

"You are not supposed to tell, Erin. It's a secret." Erica told her sister.

"I can't tell you what it is cuz it is a secret."

Kate laughed and wrote. I promise we will be surprised, my darlings.

"Mummy why did you sick from a bee?" Erin asked.

"Before you get writer's cramp as well as laryngitis, let me try to explain it Kate." Patricia offered. Kate nodded her permission. "When your mother was your age, she got stung by a hornet which is a very big bee. She got very sick because she was allergic to what the hornet put in her. You mother is supposed to carry a special pen with her to stop her from becoming sick if that happens again. That way she can take the medicine right away."

Who thought we would run into hornets, hundreds of millions of kilometers from Earth?

"Regardless you will carry one when ever you go on any away mission. Right Kate?"

Kate knowing when not to defy her mother, nodded readily.

"The Doctor is making up several pens for her to carry. The pens will be part of her away gear and will also be put in every shuttle." Anya said.

"What does llergic mean grandma?"

"Could I try to explain this?" Natalia asked.

"Certainly, Natalia."

"Do you remember what happened last night when I dropped the pepper? We all started sneezing." Both girls nodded. "Being allergic is like that. Some people will sneeze, some with get itchy or bumpy if you touch something like poison ivy. Some people will get" She made a funny face, "Oozy." The girls giggled. But some people like your mummy will get really sick."

"Oh, that's bad." Erica said.

"It can be very bad. So we have to make sure your mother has the special pens with her all the time. You can both help make sure she does. Okay?

"We'll help so mummy doesn't get sick again. Right Erica." Erin asked her sister.


You are going to be a great mom, Natalia.


"Computer locate Colonel O'Malley using skeletal match."

"State security code."

"O'Malley, Commander, Zeta, Ro , seven, one, three, Omega."

"Colonel O'Malley is in the Forest Area."

Liam took the lift to the forest deck. He entered the forest and look around for his daughter. He searched through the trees until he found Kacey sitting under an apple tree, with her back against the trunk. She stared up into the canopy of leaves and fruit. He sat down beside her.

"You know lass, taking or shutting off your communicator is against regulations." He handed it back to her. Kacey put it on her wrist.

"Are you mad at me, dad? I imagine Kate is furious with me."

"I am not mad at you lass, neither is Katie. We are both very worried about you. I have never seen you run from anything in your life. Why now?"

"Dad I don't know what I will do if Kate blames me. Maybe I should just resign."

"You listen to me , lass. You will not resign.You said you would not believe Katie's injury was not your fault until she told you herself.Just how is that supposed to happen when you are hiding from her? She can not tell you if you won't see her. You are not now nor have you ever been a coward."

"I was going to go back after she was asleep to sit with her so that Anya could rest."

"What about you? You need to rest also. You can not stay up all night with Katie and run the ship all day. We do not need both of you in Sick Bay."

"I slept for a couple hours this morning, when Anya came back."

"You have a lot on ye at the moment. I know you are trying to keep every one's plates spinning right now. You do not want to disappoint Katie, your mother or I. Lass we are so proud of the way you stepped in to help Anya and keep the ship flying. That took courage. Now all ye have to be doing is take a wee bit more of that courage and talk to Katie."

"Daddy, I can't."

"You can lass. I have faith in you." He stood up and held his hand out for Kacey. After a long hesitation she reached up and took his hand. Liam helped her up. They walked out of the Forest to Sick Bay. Kacey had a tight hold on his hand as if to keep herself from bolting again.

She hesitated when they entered Sick Bay and she noticed everyone was still visiting.

"Wait right here." He ordered. Kacey nodded. Liam went into the room and whispered to Patricia.

"I have an idea. Before it gets too late, I have a nice chocolate cake that needs to be eaten. What do you say we all go back to your aunt's and we can have desert?"

"Can we mama?"

Anya looked at Patricia who mouthed Kacey and pointed to the hall way.

"You know I think that is a great idea. I may even join you. You girls tell mummy good night."

The girls took turns going to the head of the bed and hugging Kate. "Good night my darlings," She whispered. "Be good for your aunt and try to save me a piece of cake." She kissed both girls.

Anya helped them off the bed. She leaned over to kiss Kate and told her, "Kacey is in the hall. I will be back later, my Kate. I love you."

" Love you", Kate mouthed.

Natalia went to Kate's side. "The girls will be fine. Please be gentle with Kacey. She is very fragile right now."

"I will try." Kate whispered.

Natalia left the room. She spied Kacey in the doorway of an empty room and hugged her. "Show time Colonel."

"Is she mad?"

"I don't think so. Even if she is, I have seen her madder. Buck up and get it over with. I love you."

"Love you, Talia." Kacey leaned down and kissed Natalia.

Kacey took a deep breath and walked to Kate's room. She knocked on the door frame. Kate motioned for her to come in and close the door. Kate held up the pad and in big block letters was the word SIT.

Kacey sat next to the bed. "Kate I..." Kate held up her hand to stop Kacey as she wrote on the pad. Kacey looked down at the floor as she waited for Kate to finish writing. Kate tapped her on the head when she finished.

You look like Hell. When is the last time you slept?

"I slept for a couple hours this morning. I was worried about you. You were really sick Kate and it was all my fault."

How so?

"I let my guard down. I was not as observant as I should have been. I talked you into going back down there. I told you I would guard your back, but I didn't. Mom even told me that."


"Was she really Kate." Kacey asked. Kate wrote several lines before she handed the pad back to Kacey.

Of course she was wrong. You were not the only person at that meeting who wanted another crack at that planet. Your opinion means a lot, but in the end, it was my decision."

"So if I had said, give up on the planet, would you still have gone back down?"

Yes I would have.

"What about what mom said?"

As I said before she was wrong. When she said that, she was upset worried and scared. She regrets that she ever said it and upset that she can not take back the hurt she inflicted on you. I do not blame you. It was an accident. No one could have prevented it from happening.

"I could have been more observant. I should have been more aware of the dangers."

"Kacey, there was nothing you could have done differently. So you let your guard down for a short time. We all did. Do you think Anya or Rhea blames themselves? Why put all the burden on your shoulders?

"It is part of my job, Kate, my responsibility. "

A job you are extremely good at. Don't even say not this time. I trust you.

"Would you trust me to have your back if we went on another away mission?"

Of course. I want my best people with me.

Kacey took a ragged breath as tears filled her eyes at Kate's trust and confidence in her. "That mean a lot, Kate."

Good now go get some sleep so that you do not back my ship into any trees.

"I am not driving. I would like to stay with you at least until Anya comes back. If that is all right?"

Of course, on one condition.

"What is the condition?"

Kate wrote several lines. Put the burden down for awhile and you lay your head right here on my bed and close your eyes for a few minutes.

Kacey read what Kate wrote and looked at her. Kate patted the bed next to her.

"All right, but just for a couple minutes. Do not let me fall asleep." Kacey rested her head on her arms and closed her eyes. She felt Kate scratch her head just like when they were children. "That will not work any more Kate."

"Shh." Kate kept up the light scratching as Kacey let down her guard and relaxed. Kate felt her relax and smiled as Kacey's slow even breathing told her, that her stubborn sister was falling asleep. She kept up her light touch as Kacey fell deeper into the sleep she so desperately needed. Kate looked up as a shadow fell across her window. She motioned for her mother to come in. Kate held a finger to her lips. Patricia nodded in understanding as she went to the closet to remove a blanket that she gently placed over Kacey's shoulders and back.

"Some things never change do they? " Kate shook her head no."That always did put her to sleep. Although I think she would be more comfortable in her own bed." Kate shook her head no again. "We talked Anya in resting for awhile. She will be down later. Were you able to talk to her?"

Kate wrote on the pad. Natalia said she was fragile, but I soon found out how fragile she actually was.

"A big part of that was my fault." Patricia stated.

Maybe. She was lost and floundering after I was hurt. She blames herself."

"Then I came along and cast her adrift when I accused her of the same thing." Kate nodded as she kept up the light scratching on Kacey's head.

Give her time, mom. She needs time to process everything and find her way back.

"Then we shall set out flares pointing her way back." Patricia said. "Now you should get some sleep."


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