Kate woke to find Anya at her side and Kacey still asleep. She watched her sleep, happy that her stubborn sister was able to get the rest she needed.

"Good morning my Kate." Anya said as she leaned over to kiss her. "How are you feeling?"

"A lot better." Kate replied her voice still raspy.

"You should still rest your voice, Kate. Can I get you anything?"

"Coffee." Anya smiled. Kate looked back down at Kacey. "She is going to be so stiff when she wakes up."

"Probably. Patricia and I just followed your orders. " Anya stopped scratching Kacey's head to allow her to wake up. "I had better make that two coffees.

Kacey moved.When she opened her eyes, she realized her head still rested on Kate's bed. She sat up quickly and groaned as her spine protested the position she had forced it into for many hours.

"Oh that hurts. Damn it Kate you tricked me."

"Do not be angry with Kate. You needed to rest and were just too stubborn to give in. We just helped you."

"It is good to know that old trick still works." Kate rasped.

"Exactly who is 'we'?"

"Does it really matter?" Kacey nodded. "I started, then mom took over and Anya relieved her. Do you have a problem with mom touching you?"

"Hey are you supposed to be talking? You still sound a little hoarse. Maybe you should still rest your voice."

"I will see about your coffees." Anya stated as she left the room.

"My throat feels a lot better today. You did not answer my question."

"I am not going to answer it either. Please drop it."

"That is not something I think I can do. Look you have several reasons to be angry with her. But you can not let it rule your life."

"So I should just forget what was said? Pretend that every thing is just golden between us? I can not do that. I just can not Kate."

"That is not what I am saying at all. She loves you. "

"I have never doubted that. As long as I do what she says, when she says it and without question. You know right after I returned from getting the nest and we argued, I asked her if the situations were reversed if she would have been so quick to blame you. She could not answer that.You were always the golden child, while I have always been her problem child."

"Do you honestly believe that?" Kate asked.Kacey nodded. "That is not true. We had our problems also. Granted I never openly defied her, but I did in subtler ways.Yes, you were a handful at times, but you were never really all that bad. You were just an endless bundle of energy.Mom and I had many disagreements when I was growing up. You probably do not remember them because you were a child then." Kate cleared her throat. "She was scared and worried at the time she struck out at you. You did not deserve that, considering that it was you and your fancy flying that may have saved my life. Then you went back down there, which really did save my life. Even though you defied mom to do it. That took a lot of courage to do. Now you have stepped in to take command of Andromeda. From what I have heard you are doing a remarkable job."

"Well it is a job I will be very happy to turn back over to you."

"From day one you have carried a lot on your shoulders."

"Falls on you first, Kate. Only the residual falls off on me."

"Well then little sister, between the two of us, we are a force to be reckoned with. The universe better watch out for us." For the first time in days, Kacey laughed."

"That is an encouraging sound." Patricia said from the doorway. She pushed a cart into the room with three covered breakfast tray on it. "How are you both feeling this morning? I brought something for your back, Kacey. You are probably stiff and sore."

"Thank you, but I had better go shower and change..."

"Kacey, when was the last time you had something to eat?" Patricia asked.

She was silent. "Kacey?" Kate spoke.

"I am thinking." Kacey replied. "Natalia made me a sandwich."

"That is the what, how about the when?"

"The night you were hurt." Kacey said. "I think."

"Kacey, are you trying to make yourself sick?" Patricia asked.

"Of course not. There was a lot going on. Eating was the last thing on my mind." Kacey snapped. Kate cleared her throat loudly in warning. Kacey looked at her.

"Sit and eat first." Kate ordered. "That was not a request."

"All right Captain." Kacey said with a slight smile.

Patricia put a tray on the bed stand for Kacey and on the table for Kate that she moved over the bed. Both zeroed in on the coffee first.


Kacey walked onto the Bridge with a smile.

"Good Morning." She said as she sat in the Command Chair.

"Good morning lass. I take it from your smile that Katie is better."

"Yes she is. She just has a slight fever that the Doctor hopes will return to normal soon. She was able to talk a bit this morning although she probably should not push it."

"Stubborness runs deep in this family, lass."

"You must mean Kate and mom." Kacey said ."

"And you out stubborn them both."

Kacey cleared her throat. "Any way, the Doctor said she maybe discharged in a day or two, once the fever is gone."

"That is good to hear, Colonel." Lieutenant Minor stated. "Uh not that you are... What I mean..." His voice trailed off.

"Relax Lieutenant, I will be more than happy to give the Captain back her chair so that I can get back to what I am better suited for." Kacey told him. "Anything I should know about?"

"We are still on course for that mass. The Stingers have been out around the clock. Sensors have picked up both Ion and propulsion signatures heading in the same direction we are."

"Then we had better keep our eyes open. Hopefully any civilizations out here will be more open to forging an alliance with Earth than the last ones we have met."

"That is for damn sure, Colonel."

"Are there any reports I should be going over. I really don't want Kate to have a relapse if her desk is covered with overdue reports."

"I have been taking care of any reports."

"Thank you. I probably would not know what I was looking at any way.I know how fast the reports can pile up. My desk is probably covered by now. There are just a few Mike can do for me. Has Mike been sending you the flight rosters?"


With the fever gone, Kate chafed under the restrictions of Sick Bay. She talked the Doctor into letting her have a computer to ease the boredom of laying around all day. She checked the status reports and the glowing reports of Kacey's handling the duties of Captain. Her evenings were filled with visitors. She had finally regained her voice and no longer had a sore throat from the breathing tube. The bandages that covered the puncture wound that the Doctor opened and drained was only covered with a small band aid to cover the stitches

Kacey brought her a small music player with several discs she knew Kate enjoyed. That way she could listen to something other than the voices of the Medical Staff. She would bring Kate a coffee each time she visited.

Only one problem still remained. While not openly hostile, Kacey and Patricia's relationship could be described as cordial at best. Kacey was glacially slow at letting go of the anger and hurt. Kate had to laugh at Anya's suggestion of locking them in a room where they would either have to settle their differences or duke it out and then they would keep the winner.

Kacey at least had stopped finding excuses to leave whenever Patricia came into the room. Kate looked up from her computer when she heard a knock on the door.

"My favorite sister bringing the nectar of the gods."

"I have to be your favorite Kate, because there certainly will not be any more of us." Kacey stated. Any news on when you will be sprung from here?"

"Maybe tomorrow if things keep going as well as they are."


"She said I could probably return to work on Monday."

"Monday? Today is only Wednesday. We should be at another planet by Friday."

"So how does it feel to be in charge of the whole ship?"

"Truthfully? It sucks. You are much better suited for that position than I am. I do not have your space instincts."

"I trust your instincts, Kacey."

"That means a lot."

"It is the truth. How is the crew?"

"Fantastic. They have been great in dealing with a novice."

"You do realize that half my Bridge crew is in love with you."

"I think Lieutenant Minor is bored. I have had us flying at warp four for the last few days."

"Why the ship can handle higher speeds."

"I am hoping to stretch the journey to the next planet out until your return and you are in the Command chair when we arrive."

"Don't be afraid to push the speed. Your pilots can map the planet before we make any decisions to scope out the land."

"Kate, I talked to Mike. He is Major Anderson. If you decide to go for a stroll he will go with you to cover your back."

"In addition to you?"

Kacey looked down into her coffee. "Instead of me, Kate. He will go in my place."

"Kacey look at me." Kate said and waited for her to look up. "You have to let go of the guilt. It was not your fault. Have you watched the video of that yet?"

"I don't need to see any damn video. I was there." Kacey snapped.

Kate typed a series of commands into the computer and handed it to Kacey. "You need to watch it. Just hit start." Kacey hesitated. "Now Colonel." Kate ordered. She watched Kacey closely as she viewed the recording of their mission. Kate could hear the conversation and their relaxed jokes and banter they had on their walk back,Kate saw her flinch when she bumped into the nest and was stung.

"You can hit stop now."

"Just what the Hell was that supposed to prove."

"Tell me what you just watched."

"We were walking back to my shuttle, laughing and joking around. Until you bumped into that God Damned nest. What is your point?"

"I bumped into that nest. You did not push me into it. We walked by that same tree on our way out and not one of us noticed that nest. You came out of Marine Mode for a short time and had fun."

"Marine Mode, Kate?"

"Yes. That hyper vigilent never relax your guard state that all you Marines seem to have. Since we lifted off I have maybe seen you completely relax at most, a half a dozen times. Not counting when you are playing your violin or when you were unconscious. I think the last time was when you slept on my bed. Do you ever fully relax even with Natalia?

"You mean the night you tricked me?"

"Hey you needed to sleep but were just to stubborn to give in. I honestly did not think it would still work." Kate laughed. "So if we decide to explore, you will be at my side?" Kate asked.

"Yes, I will be at your side."

"How is Natalia?"

"Definite morning sickness. What did Anya do for that?"

"Keep dry crackers by the bed. Tell her to eat several before she even attempts to get out of bed.. It will not completely take caré of it, but will at least keep the nausea under control. Anya could not stand the taste of coffee for her entire pregnancy. Not that she was ever a big coffee drinker."

"Natalia either. One or two cups a day but she mostly drinks tea. Can you just imagine if that were us. We would never survive."

They both laughed.


Kate sat quietly in the hover chair as they waited for the doctor to bring the discharge instructions and the special injection pens she would have to carry with her when ever she left the ship. Anya stood behind the chair with her hands on Kate's shoulders.

"Any sort of surprises waiting for me at home?" Kate asked.

"There was nothing going on when I left this morning, my Kate. Patricia said she would bring lunch by later. The girls were getting ready for school. Kacey and Natalia were getting ready for their shifts."

"Good. I want to spend a little time with you. Just the two of us."

"I think I can arrange a little quiet time." Anya kissed the top of Kate's head.


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