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The Bridge crew was quiet when Kacey and Liam stepped off the lift.
"On screen." Kacey ordered.
The large view screen changed to show an alien. If it were not for the light green color, the face on the screen could have been human. They heard the lift door open. Kate held up her hand for quiet as they watched Kacey.
"This is Colonel Kirsten O'Malley, United World Marine Corps, acting Captain of the Star Traveler Andromeda."
"I am Chancellor Hime of the Gellary World. State your business here."
"We are explorers from Earth on a journey to discover what lies beyond our known planets."
"You are a long way from home, Colonel."
"Yes sir. We are in the second year of our mission. We hope to make contact with other civilizations. To make new friends, learn new customs, map out new planets and study new cultures."
"If you come in peace, then you are welcomed here."
"Thank you sir. I assure you Chancellor, we do come in peace. With your permission, I would like to send our small flyers out to map your planet. This information will be for our Star Charts only."
"We can furnish you with the Star Charts necessary for your journey."
"That is very kind of you Chancellor."
"You ship is invited to land so that we can exchange ideas and learn from each other."
"We will need a very large area to land Chancellor."
"We have such an area, Colonel, that is fifty kilometers from our main city that will accommodate your ship."
"Thank you sir. We have Shuttles that can transport us to your city."
"That is acceptable, Colonel. It will take us two of your Earth days to have everything prepared for your visit."
"It will take us that long to get Andromeda prepared to land."
"I will contact you when everything is ready."
"Thank you Chancellor. We will wait for your call."
The large screen went dark.
"Well done lass." Liam said as he patted Kacey on the back.
"You are right Liam, very good job Kacey." Kate said.
Kacey turned to see most of her family standing near the lift. Broad smiles on all their faces.
"How long have you been there?" Kacey asked.
"We came up right after you, Kacey." Anya stated.
Natalia went to Kacey and threw her arms around her wife. "I am so very proud of you." She said and kissed Kacey's cheek.
"After that fantastic job you did handling First Contact, are you sure you don't want to change positions?" Kate asked as she came to Kacey's side.
"Not on your life, Kate. That chair and position are all yours. I am only keeping it warm for you
"Well you certainly handled that. I too am very proud of you little sister. You showed Chancellor Hime the right amount of respect."
"Didn't think I had it in me?"
"I have always known you had it in you. Now turn the Bridge back over to Lieutenant Vargas. You duties are over."
"With her arm around Natalia, Kacey said, "Yes Captain. Lieutenant Vargas, you have the Bridge." They headed to the lift. "Kate, how was the Chancellor able to speak English so well? Should I have asked him that?"
"No, questions like that are better suited for a face to face meeting. Kacey, you handled First Contact just as I would have. You did a great job. I am proud of you.
"That really means a lot to me, Kate. I was so nervous. Did it show?"
"Not in the least. You went into Marine Mode and the rest is History. Kate said. "Mom stayed with the girls so that Natalia could witness you moment of glory. The whole thing was relayed to our quarters so that they could watch you.
"Aunt Kacey, we watched you on the monitor." Erin said as she ran to Kacey.
"He was such a pretty color." Erica said and followed her sister. Kacey bent down and picked them both up.
"Are we going to land and see more people that color?" Erin asked.
"Will we get to meet him?" Erica asked.
"Girls, take it easy on your Aunt." Anya said, as she took Erin from Kacey's arms. "You are going to hurt yourself picking them both up."
"Nah. They are still just a bunch of giggles. Isn't that right demon?" She tickled the child in her arms. Erica giggled. "Kate will this meeting call for formal attire?"
"Just the first face to face. After that it will be regular dress for the remainder of our visit. Unless there is a formal function." Kate stated.
"Kacey." Patricia was at her side. Kacey handed Erica to Liam and faced her mother. "I am very proud of you."
"May I hug you?" Kacey nodded. Patricia put her arms around her youngest child. After a slight hesitation, Kacey hugged her mother back.
In that simple gesture, she felt a loosening of the hurt and anger that had been her companion for the past several days. Everyone watched the slight relaxation in Kacey's shoulders and knew she had taken a step forward in forgiving Patricia.
To be continued...
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