CHAPTER 29 A
The hour for Kacey's return had come and gone. Natalia did not start to worry until an hour had passed and there was no word from her. She tried to reach her on the communicator with no response. She finally called Kate.
"Yes Natalia. Is anything wrong?"
"Have you heard from Kacey? She should have been home over an hour ago and I can not reached her on the communicator. Could she be out of range?"
"Only if she were a thousand kilometers away. Let me check the video lock on her and get back to you."
"All right, Kate. I will wait to hear from you before I start to panic."
Kate went to her computer and pulled up the video lock on Kacey. What she saw, scared her. Kacey lay unconscious on the floor in a semi darkened room. Her hands and feet were tied to posts that had been pounded into the floor. "Oh my God." She exclaimed. Kate pushed the private call button. "Dad, you and mom have to come to our quarters immediately."
"Aye Katie, we are on our way."
"Within a short time the door chimed. "Come in" Kate called out.
"What is wrong Katie?" Liam asked.
"Kacey has been taken. We need to be with Natalia when I tell her. Dad I need you to go back over the video footage to see what happened."
"Aye Katie. That I will." Liam sat in front of the computer and backed up the footage.
"Kate we should get Doctor Amstell here just in case." Anya stated.
"Would you do that please. Have her come here first." Kate said. "Tell her what is going on so that she can be prepared."
"Captain Jensen to Rhea Torino."
"Rhea, get as many Security and Marines armed and meet me in the Hanger in thirty minutes. Kacey has been taken and we need to find her."
"Will do Captain."
"Katie, it looks like Kacey and her lads were knocked out before she was taken."
"Can you see who did it?"
"Aye. It was that damn princess that has been after Kacey."
"That fucking bitch." Patricia swore which totally shocked her family. "Kate you do what ever you have to do to get you sister back safely."
"I most certainly will, mom."
"Katie, if we are going to be putting armed men and women out on her world, Queen Dyan needs to be informed."
"Would you do that dad? I need to coordinate things."
"Aye lass. I will keep in touch." Liam picked up Kate's computer and headed for the door.
"Liam please be careful?" Patricia pleaded.
"I will Patsy." He kissed her cheek and headed for the door.
"Dad wait." Kate stopped him. "Computer, video lock on Commander O'Malley."
"Lock on." The computer responded.
"Thank ye lass." He said and left.
The doctor walked in as Liam left. "Captain, Commander Jensen said Natalia may need my services?" She placed her medical bag on the chair.
"Yes. With Kacey taken, I wanted you with us in case the news brings on her labor."
"That is a possibility, Captain. I have medicines with me in that event." Doctor Amstell stated.
Kate rubber her hands over her face. "This is one message I really do not want to deliver." She said. Anya put her arms around Kate. "Thank you darling. Time to get this over with so I can go find Kacey."
They left their quarters for the short walk to Kacey's. Kate rang the bell. Natalia opened the door. She back up shaking her head when she found them all standing there.
"No, no please no. Please don't tell me Kacey... Please Kate no." She cried as her knees buckled. Anya caught her before she hit the floor and helped her stand. Kate put her arm around Natalia and between the two of them walked her to the love seat.
"From what we can see on the video lock, Kacey and her officers were sedated. Kacey was taken by Taki and some other Vernans. She is alive but being held captive."
"You are sure she is alive?"
"Yes she is unconscious but breathing."
"I need to see her." Natalia stated.
Kate nodded for Anya to pull up the real time video for Natalia. She placed the computer on the coffee table so that Natalia could watch.
"Anya, I need you to bring up the footage of the attack. You are going to talk us through the route they took."
"Of course. Kate I have also asked for a doctor to go with you." Anya stated.
"Thank you darling. I wasn't thinking about the other Marines. What would I do with out you?" Kate said. "Natalia, we will get Kacey back."
"I can give you something to relax you Natalia." Doctor Amstell told her.
"No. I want to watch you get Kacey back."
"All right little sister. I will make sure Kacey is back in your arms."
"Bring her home, Kate, please bring her home."
"You have my word." Kate kissed her cheek. Then kissed Anya, the girls and her mother. As she walked out the door she said, "Computer video lock on Captain Kate Jensen."
Kate ran for the lift. "Hanger" She said as the doors closed.
Anya set up the three computers on the coffee table. "We will be able to watch all of them." She said as she brought up the videos of Kate and Liam. Natalia leaned forward as far as she could. The doctor sat beside her and checked her pulse. She brought out a stethoscope to listen to the babies heartbeats. She could not get good reading because of the position Natalia was in.
"Natalia lean back for a minute so I can check the babies."
Natalia did as she was told never taking her eyes off the monitor in front of her.
"Anya" Kate's voice came over the communicator."
"We are preparing to board the shuttles. There are forty armed Marines and Security with us. Rhea and Bella are here. With Dad and Kacey off the ship, you are the senior officer. I will contact you when we get to the airfield."
"We can see you on the monitor. I will lead you through my Kate."
"Has dad checked in?"
"Not yet. We see him also. He has just arrived at the palace. He has two Marines with him.
"Good. Keep me posted."
"They watched Liam race up the stairs and pound on the palace door.. With in a short time the door opened. Liam pushed past the young servant.
CHAPTER 29 B
"WHERE IS THE QUEEN?" Liam demanded.
"She is dining with her family sir."
"I NEED TO BE SEEING HER IMMEDIATELY."
"Of course sir. If you will wait in the library, I will inform her of your arrival after they have finished their meal."
Liam grabbed the servant by his shirt and lifted him off the floor. "LISTEN TO ME, YE LITTLE PISSANT, THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. I WILL BE SPEAKING TO THE QUEEN NOW. DO YE UNDERSTAND?" The servant nodded. "THAT'S A GOOD LAD. NOW YE JUST BE POINTING ME IN THE DIRECTION OF THE QUEEN." The servant pointed with a shaking hand to the room at the end of the hall. "GOOD LAD. NOW YE JUST BE GOING ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS AND BE LETTING ME GET ON WITH MINE. He put the servant down and walked briskly to the door. Liam banged on the closed door and quickly pushed the portal open which surprised the family.
"Commander?" The queen said.
"I am sorry for barging in on your meal, your majesty." Liam stated and went quickly to Taki. He grabbed her arm and hauled her out of her chair. He shook her. "WHERE IS SHE DAMN YE? WHERE DID YE TAKE ME DAUGHTER?" He demanded and shook Taki.
Taki tried to move away from Liam, but he held tight to her arm.
"Really Commander." The queen protested. "What are you talking about."
"Your daughter and others attacked Colonel O'Malley and three Marines. They were knocked out with some sort of drug."
"Do you have any proof of this?"
"Aye your majesty, I do indeed. We have a video recording of the whole thing. They waited until all your people were gone then fired darts at them. A real cowardly trick to be pulling. They kidnapped me daughter and I want to know where she has been taken."
"Taki is this true?"
"Why would I do something like that?" Taki asked.
"Ye had been stalking her since we arrived. She wanted no part of ye, but ye would not be taking no for an answer. So ye ambushed her. We have ye on video. WHERE IS SHE?" He shook her again. "WE HAVE SEEN YE DO IT. SERGEANT BRING UP THE VIDEO OF THE ASSAULT." He ordered.
"Yes sir." The Sergeant placed the computer on the table, pushing the plates out of the way. He brought up the video. The Queen sat down to watch. She watched the video without comment. When it ended, she stood and walked to pull a silver cord. A servant quickly appeared.
"Send for the constable immediately." She ordered. The servant bowed and backed out of the room.
"Mother." Taki protested.
"You will be quiet."
"Tis a good thing we have to be having a video lock on our people when they are off ship or we would not be knowing what happened to me daughter." Liam stated. "Please princess where did ye take her?" He pleaded. "She remained defiantly silent. "Your majesty, me other daughter, Captain Jensen, would like to be out looking for her sister. She will be having armed crew with her, using this same video to locate Kacey."
"I will have my people help."
"No your majesty. Do not be doing that. For your people's safety. The crew will not be knowing friend from foe. We only want to be finding Kacey, not be hurting innocent people."
"Very well, Commander. Your people have my permission to search for Colonel O'Malley"
"Thank ye, Queen Dyan." Liam said as he touched his communicator. "Katie, Queen Dyan has given her permission to be searching for Kacey."
"That is good to hear. Anya will be talking us through the route they took."
Kate arrived at the airfield and found the Marines who were still unconscious. The doctor checked them out and removed the small darts from their necks.
"Report Doctor." Kate ordered.
"All three had these small darts in their necks." he sniffed the tip. "It is odorless. Their vitals are all good. They are sedated. I hesitate using a stimulant to wake them without knowing the drug that was used to knock them out. I suggest letting them wake up naturally." He gave his report. "I would like to get them into a shuttle."
Several men rushed forward to get the downed Marines into the shuttle. Once that was taken care of Kate posted a guard on the shuttle and called Anya.
"We are at the air field. The Marines were sedated. We have them in a shuttle. Dad was able to get Queen Dyan's permission to search. Where do we go?"
"Go across the airfield until you get to the Hanger."
"Time to head out people. Weapons set to stun only." Kate ordered and they started across the field. "How is Natalia?"
"She is hanging on Kate. The doctor is keeping a close eye on her." Anya watched her absent mindedly rub her stomach. A habit every pregnant mother picked up. She turned back to her computer and watched Kate's progress. "When you get to the Hanger, go to the right. There is a gravel path."
"We see it."
"Follow that path until it splits, then take the left fork." Anya told her. She looked at Natalia who suddenly sat up.
"Breathe through the pain. Nice slow steady breaths." Doctor Amstell spoke softly. "You are doing good." She checked the babies again and smiled. "Once the pain ends, try to relax." She placed a watch on the coffee table, then pulled a pad and pen out of her bag. "That's it. Now a nice deep breath to help you relax." She checked the time on the watch and made a notation on the pad.
Patricia watched from the kitchen as she prepared a meal for everyone. The girls sat at the counter, oblivious to the drama behind them.
"Anya we are at the left fork." Kate's voice sounded.
"Follow that until you come to a small stone building. Kate you had better pick up the pace."
"What is wrong?" Anya looked at Doctor Amstell who nodded.
"It looks like Natalia may be in labor."
"Understand." Kate said. Time to move it people. Kacey is needed elsewhere." They walked faster. Their lights cutting through the growing darkness. Within minutes they came to the building. "Where to now Anya?"
"Kacey is inside the building."
"Damn the door is locked. Use the phasic rifles to melt that damn lock." Kate ordered. "Someone go back and bring a shuttle here."
"I got it Captain." One of the Marines stated and ran back towards the airfield. Several Marines trained their guns on the lock and opened fire. The lock melted. One Marine kicked in the door. In the middle of the room, Kacey was slowly moving against the bonds that held her to the floor. She was mumbling. Thy worked to undo the ropes holding her in place.
"Anya, we have Kacey."
"That God. Natalia did you hear that?" Anya turned to see another contraction hit.
"Breathe through the contraction. Do not hold your breath. That will come later. You are doing good." She listened to the heartbeats again. "The contraction is ending. Nice deep breath and relax. Twenty minutes since the last contraction." She wrote the time on the pad.
"Anya, we are waiting for the shuttle to arrive. We should be back to Andromeda in about twenty minutes."
"I will let Liam know." Anya said as she pushed the private call button. "Liam."
"Kate has found Kacey. She is waiting for a shuttle to bring them back. You had better return also. Natalia is in labor."
"Aye lass. I will be there shortly." He said.
Natalia lay her head against the back of the love seat and closed her eyes. "Doctor if the babies are born tonight, how dangerous is it for them?"
"Other than low birth weight, the danger is very low. They are only a few weeks early. Their organs are all developed. They might have to stay in the nursery for a few days to get their weight up to five pounds which is the minimum safe weight."
"Anya can you see Kacey?"
"I can. They are walking her on the shuttle. She seems to be semi awake and walking with help."
"Good. I really need her with me." Natalia said. "Doctor would it be all right if I had a cup of tea?"
"We have a way to go yet so yes you can."
Patricia filled the kettle and put it on the heating unit which turned on automatically. She took cups and tea bags from the cabinet. "Doctor would you like a cup of tea?"
"That would be great. Thank you Mrs. O'Malley. Honey and lemon if you have some."
"Anya we are taking off now. Kacey is sort of awake. How is Natalia?"
"Definite labor. Liam is on his way back also. We are still at Kacey's."
Patricia brought a tray with four cups on it along with containers of honey and lemon and the teapot. She filled each cup from the tea pot and handed one to each woman. Anya looked over at her daughters who were eating their dinner. Natalia took a sip of her tea and quickly put the cup down as another contraction started.
"Don't fight the contraction. Nice slow steady breaths. Let you body do what it needs to do." She checked the watch as the contraction ended. "Seventeen minutes since the last one and forty seconds in duration." She reset the watch and listened to the heartbeats. "Both strong and steady. You and they are doing fine. Nice deep breath and let it out slowly."
CHAPTER 29 C
Kacey sat dazed on the seat in the rear of the shuttle, as the doctor checked her over. She wanted to slap his hands away, but her arms were extremely slow in responding to her brain. It was easier to just lay her head back against the wall and close her eyes, while the doctor did his job. Within seconds the drug's effects took her back under. Kate sat next to her.
"She will be fine as soon as the drug wears off." He stated. "I have to say Captain, Colonel O'Malley has a very strong constitution. The other Marines have yet to wake up yet she walked out of that building."
"There is a reason for that Doctor." Kate told him. I am not sure how she knows, but somehow she knows her wife is in labor and needs her. She was mumbling Talia needs me."
"I have sent the others to Sick Bay to let them sleep off whatever was on those darts. I would like Colonel O'Malley there also for observation."
"Would you be doing anything different in Sick Bay than she could do in her quarters?"
"Not really. I will release her to you and her quarters. Just make sure she is not left alone."
"That I can guarantee."
"Until we have some knowledge about the drug that was on those darts, just let her sleep it off. How far apart are the pains?"
"Fifteen or twenty minutes. I am not sure."
"Then she has a ways to go. Just let Colonel O'Malley sleep."
Kacey slept until they reached Andromeda. The shuttle touched down. Her eyes flew open. "Talia." She called out.
"Easy Kacey. We will get you to Natalia. Try to stand." Kate said.
"Captain, we have her." Two Marines went to Kacey's side and each took an arm which they pulled over their shoulders. They linked arms behind Kacey and helped her stand. Together they walked off the shuttle and into Andromeda. Kacey fought to stay upright until she got to her quarters. It took all her concentration to keep putting one foot in front of the other, until they reached her quarters. She made several attempts to put in her code and finally gave up and rang the bell. Anya opened the door.
"Thank God." Anya said, and backed up to allow the Marines to walk Kacey into the living room. They placed her gently on the couch. Her head at an angle on her shoulder. Anya hugged Kate.
"Kacey." Natalia called out.
"Hi honey I'm home." Kacey said and fell back to sleep.
"What is wrong with her?" Natalia asked.
"It is the drug they used to knock her out with. The doctor said to just let her sleep it off. Hopefully by the time you need to go to the hospital, she will be awake enough to go with you." Kate told her. "How far apart are the pains?"
"Fifteen minutes. The last one ended just before you came in." Patricia said and handed Kate a cup of coffee "Should we try to lay her down?"
"Do you want her to take a swing at you, mom? You have seen how she reacts when someone touches her.
"At least wedge a pillow under her head."
"Let me move her." Natalia said as she struggled to get up. Anya and Doctor Amstell helped her to her feet. She went to Kacey and moved her shoulders down onto the couch and moved her legs until she lay flat.
"Talia?" Kacey mumbled and went back to sleep.
"I am right here sweetheart. You sleep." Natalia said and kissed her forehead. "Do you know what they used?" She asked Kate.
"The Doctor has no idea which is why he can not give her a stimulant to wake her up. Maybe dad has found something more. Where is he?"
"He called earlier. He is getting changed and will be over shortly."
"Bridge to Captain Jensen."
Kate sighed. "Some times it really sucks to be Captain." She said. "Go ahead Bridge."
"There is a message from Queen Dyan. She would like to come aboard."
"Permission granted. Have Security escort her to Colonel O'Malley's quarters."
"Now what does that woman want?" Patricia asked. "Hasn't her family caused enough problems?"
"Mom, you can not blame her for what her daughter has done." Kate responded. She may even be able to tell us what Taki used."
"Perhaps, but no one is to be left alone with her. Do you all understand me?"
Natalia walked around the room. She could not sit still and felt the urge to move around. Anya kept a close eye on her and was at her side when the next contraction started. Natalia stopped and leaned into the quiet strength of her sister in law. Natalia placed her hand on her back as the contraction hit it's peak and started to ebb.
Anya talked her through the contraction. "Nice slow even breaths. You are doing great Natalia."
"When does all that fancy breathing come in?" Managed to say as the contraction ended. She took a deep breath and continued walking.
"Fourteen minutes with fifty four second duration." She reset the watch and jotted down the information on the chart.
The door chimed. Kate glanced at the monitor. "Come in." She called out. Liam escorted Queen Dyan into the room.
"Your Majesty." Kate stood to greet her. Patricia went into the kitchen, unwilling to be in the same room as the Queen.
"Captain, I have some information on the drug Taki used. My Security searched her rooms after she was arrested and found this." She handed Kate a small bottle. Kate in turned handed it to the doctor. "I was able to talk to our healers who gave me the medicine to counter act the sedative. She handed the bottle along with several syringes directly to the doctor.
"Did the healer tell you how much to administer?" Doctor Amstell asked.
"She said to go to the first line on the barrel. She also said it will work faster when injected into a vein."
"Doctor Amstell looked at Natalia for permission to give Kacey the injection. She in turn looked at Kate and Anya who both nodded. She hesitated and gave her permission.
"Should I roll up her sleeve?" Natalia asked.
"You had better. She will take a swing at any one else." Kate said. "We do not need any broken bones."
Natalia unbuttoned the arm of Kacey's flight suit and pushed the sleeve up. The Doctor prepared the injection, then knelt on the floor next to Kacey.
"Hold her hand so that she does not knock me on my butt and turn her arm over."
Natalia held Kacey's hand while the doctor quickly found the vein and injected the stimulant. Kacey jumped. Within minutes her eyes opened. She smiled at Natalia.
"There are the baby blues I love." Natalia said.
"What the hell hit me?"
"A very powerful sedative, Colonel." Queen Dyan stated. "Colonel O'Malley, I want to apologize for my daughter's behavior. If it is any consolation, she is under arrest for her attack on you."
Kacey sat up. Patricia brought her a coffee. "Thanks mom." Kacey stated. "Queen Dyan, please sit down. Would you like something to drink?" She sat down.
"If it would not be any trouble, I would like a cup of tea." Patricia brought another cup and filled it from the still hot tea pot. She handed it to the Queen. "Thank you Mrs. O'Malley."
"Queen Dyan, I am not a head doctor, but it seems to me that Taki needs help. She needs to understand what the word "No" means.. I certainly hope she learns that lesson soon." Patricia stated angrily.
"Mrs. O'Malley, I understand how you feel. I knew that Taki was attracted to Colonel O'Malley, and thought that it would fade. Unfortunately it did not. I should have." She said. " Colonel, after what has happened today, I will understand if you stop the flight training."
"I will not punish your people because of the crimes of a few."
"Kacey. How can you even think about continuing?" Patricia asked.
"Your mother has a right to be suspicious after your attack and I can not fault her for that." Queen Dyan stated.
"Mom this is my decision. I will not go back on our agreement. Only Kate, as Captain can override my decision and stop the training."
They all looked at Kate who looked at Kacey. "I will not have it on my conscience that we left a civilization defenseless. That we turned our back on them and did not do everything in our power to help." She held up her hands to stop Patricia's protests. "BUT, there will be an armed guard on my crew at all times. This, your Majesty is non negotiable."
"I fully agree, Captain." Queen Dyan said and shook hands with Kate. She finished her tea. "From the look of things you have your hands full right now, and I must get back to the palace. Colonel, Mrs. O'Malley I wish you luck with the imminent birth of your children."
"I will walk ye out." Liam offered. They left. Natalia resumed her pacing while Kacey finished her coffee. She took a few steps and stopped as another contraction started. Kacey went to her side. With Anya on one side and Kacey on the other, they held her arms.
"Umm, I think something is happening." She said and looked at the floor where a large wet area appeared on the carpet.
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