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CHAPTER 35 A
"Shamrock report in." Kate ordered. "Andromeda to Shamrock report in." She ordered again. "God damn it Kacey report in" She received no response to her hails. "Captain Jensen to Major Anderson." Static was her only response. "Someone better God Damn report in." Kate ordered yet again.
"Andromeda, this is Stinger leader. Colonel O'Malley's and Major Anderson's shuttles are both down. We are landing to check them out. Last raider is bugging out."
"Thank you Stinger leader. I will send medical help."
"Appreciate that Captain. We have several injuries."
"Bridge to Sick Bay."
"Sick Bay Doctor Ryan Blue."
"Doctor, medical attention is needed in section nine. Amount and severity of injuries unknown at this time."
"I will gather supplies and personnel and meet you in the Hanger."
"Bridge to Hanger."
"Go ahead Bridge."
"Are there any shuttles remaining?"
"Affirmative Captain. You shuttle is still here."
"Get it ready. I will be right down."
"I have to dad."
"I know. Please be careful."
"I will." She kissed his cheek and headed for the lift with Anya and Rhea close behind.
They met the Doctor and several nurses in the Hanger. The Marines and security helped the medical staff load their equipment into Kate's shuttle.
"She is good to go Captain." The Marine stated. "Pre flight has been done."
"Thank you Corporal." Kate said as they loaded up the medical supplies. Rhea jumped into the pilot's seat. The shuttle lifted off. Kate took the copilots chair and put on the headphones. "Captain Jensen to Stinger leader."
"Go ahead Captain."
"Medical help is on the way. Can you give me any more information on Colonel O'Malley or Major Anderson?"
"The shuttles ramps are both still jammed. We were able to put the fires out."
"Yes ma'am. When that raider's ship exploded, they were both too close and the fireball hit them both."
"Shit. Rhea step on it." Kate ordered.
"Kate, Kacey will be all right." Anya said.
"YOU DO NOT KNOW THAT. HER SHUTTLE WAS ON FIRE WHEN IT WENT DOWN. THEY CAN NOT GET THE RAMP OPENED. DO NOT SIT THERE AND TELL ME SHE IS ALL RIGHT." Kate yelled.
"Kate, calm down." Anya stated. "Panicking is non productive."
Kate turned to give Anya a dirty look. "We will be at section nine in about two minutes." Rhea stated.
"We will finish this later." Kate told Anya.
"Indeed we will." Anya answered coldly."
"Stinger leader to Captain Jensen."
"Go ahead Stinger leader."
"We have the ramp to Colonel O'Malley's shuttle opened."
"Is she all right?"
"We are going in now Captain."
"Our ETA is about one minute."
The shuttle landed close to the lighted area. Kate jumped from her seat followed closely by the doctor. Anya, Rhea and several Marines helped the medical staff carry equipment. A triage area was quickly set up under the lights. Kate ran into Kacey's shuttle where she found her struggling to release her safety harness and arguing with a Marine.
"Colonel please stay still. You don't know if you have anything broken. Wait for the doctor to check you out."
"I am fine Sergeant. Just sore from the harness. Now help me out of this thing." She ordered.
"Colonel, sit your ass in that seat and stay put." Kate ordered as she cam into the shuttle.
"Kate, I am fine" Kacey stated. "I need to check on my Marines."
"I DO NOT RECALL THAT BEING A REQUEST COLONEL." Kate shouted. "YOU WILL SIT THERE UNTIL THE DOCTOR SAYS YOU CAN LEAVE."
Kacey saluted. "Yes Captain. Please check on my people."
"I will but you stay in that seat until the doctor checks you out." Kate repeated.
"I will, Kate, I will." Kacey said with a sigh. "Sergeant, get the rovers here to start towing the damaged craft back to Andromeda."
"Will do Colonel."
"How many ships were damaged?"
"Six including the two shuttles. We managed to get five of them. We might also be able to get salvageable parts from two or three of them."
"What about injuries?"
"Looks like a lot of minor injuries to the pilots. The major injuries were from falling debris when that raider exploded."
"Quite a few. Most are injured in some way. I think we found the raiders that hit Verna. There were several Vernans on board. From what I was able to hear they were slaves used to mine what ever it was the raiders were after."
"Are you sure they were prisoners and not part of the raiders?"
"They were all shackled, ma'am."
"Keep an armed guard on them for now."
"Already done ma'am."
"Good." Kacey turned as far as she could. "This is ridiculous. Help me out of this damn harness."
"Ma'am the Captain said for you to stay put."
"Sergeant, who is your commanding officer?" Kacey asked.
"You are ma'am, but the Captain is the Captain."
"Fine don't help. I will get out of this harness myself. Your ass will be safe." Kacey struggled with the jammed release button. She finally gave up and grabbed the knife out of her boot and cut the straps holding her into her seat. She started to stand.
"That is insubordination, Colonel." Kate said from the ramp. "Sergeant, I will take it from here."
"Yes ma'am." The Sergeant saluted and left quickly.
"What are the injuries to my people?"
"Several broken bones, lots of cuts and burns from falling debris. Only two are serious. They are on their way to Sick Bay."
"What about Mike?"
"He is one of the serious ones."
"How bad Kate?" Kacey asked.
"Both legs are broken as well as broken ribs, burns and a nasty cut on his head." Kate said softly. "I am sorry. I know he is your friend."
"Are his injuries life threatening?"
"You will have to ask Doctor Blue about that. Kacey, no bull shit, are you injured in any way?"
"My shoulders are sore from the harness, but nothing is broken."
"Let me be the judge of that Colonel." Doctor Blue stated as he came into the shuttle. Kate moved out of the way so that the doctor could examine Kacey. He felt her head, neck, shoulders and arms. Shone a light in her eyes. Felt her ribs hips and legs. He returned to her shoulders. Kacey winced when he checked out the sore areas from the harness. "Any numbness or tingling in you arms or legs? Any trouble breathing?" He asked as he put a cervical collar on her.
"None Doc. Is the collar really necessary?"
"Yes until we run a full diagnostic x-ray. Did you lose consciousness at any time?"
"You have got to be kidding me?" She asked. "I do not think I lost consciousness." Kacey said angrily. "The only parts that hurt are from when I was thrown against the harness. Can I get up now?"
"No I need to get a back board in place before you are moved."
"What the fuck Doc. A back board."
"Kacey be quiet." Kate ordered.
"Kate there is no need for a god damned back board."
"Would you like to lose your flying privileges?"
Kacey stared at Kate. "Damn it Kate, I am fine."
"Lean forward Colonel so that I can get this board in place."
"I can always call Natalia." Kate stated.
"Christ don't do that. She will worry."
"Then you do what this nice doctor tells you to do and I will not have to call her."
Kacey sighed and leaned forward until she felt the stiffness of the board press against her spine.
"Sit back Colonel so I can fasten the straps." Kacey did as instructed. She felt the straps cross her chest and the tightness as they were fastened.
"I was not having trouble breathing before but I certainly am now. Do those things have to be so tight?" Kacey asked angrily. "Can I at least walk out of here on my own? If Talia sees me being carried out she will freak."
"Sorry Colonel. I can not let you do that."
"Can I at least talk to tell her I am not injured."
"As soon as we get you off the shuttle." The doctor stated. He signaled for the stretcher to be brought in. The Marines lay the stretcher on the floor. "One of you come here and put you arms under her legs. Two of you grab the hand holds on the back board and lift her up in one smooth move."
"Christ why not let me walk to the damn stretcher. It would be a lot easier." Kacey offered.
"There might be a spinal injury."
"Doctor, may I interrupt?" He nodded. "Kacey I order you to be quiet and do what you are told."
"Fine. Do what you have to guys." Kacey surrendered. Someone better have Natalia on the radio so that I can talk to her."
"Anya is talking to her now. They are waiting for you to come out of the shuttle."
The men lifted Kacey from the pilot's seat and lay her gently on the stretcher. They grabbed the poles, lifted her off the floor and carried her out of the shuttle. Anya handed her the radio as soon as she was placed on the ground.
"Kacey are you all right?"
"I am not injured." Kacey could hear Natalia's voice catch.
"Why were you carried off your shuttle if you are not injured?"
"Sweetheart, that is just a precaution. I had a very hard landing. They want to do some x-rays then I will be home."
"We will probably keep you until tomorrow morning Colonel."
"The hell you will." Kacey argued.
"Your mother and the girls are here. We will be fine. Make sure there are not any hidden injuries."
"Time to get you back to Andromeda, Colonel." Doctor Blue stated.
"I have to go Talia. I love you."
"Love you right back. We will meet you in Sick Bay."
Kate took the radio from Kacey. "You got your call. Time to move out. The rovers are waiting to tow the damaged flyers back."
"What about my injured people?"
"They are all on their way back to Andromeda."
"Make sure they go over those raiders ships and salvage whatever parts they can. Find out if any of the Vernans are Queen Dyan's sons. We need to get some sort of..."
"Kacey shut up." Kate ordered as the men picked up the stretcher and brought it into Kate's shuttle. They strapped her onto a bunk. Kate sat across from her. Kacey turned her head as much as the collar would allow. Surprised to see Kate crying.
"Try not to move around Colonel." The Doctor said.
"Kate really, I am fine."
Kate wiped her eyes. "Little sister after you get checked out, we need to have a little talk."
"Of course we will. I can even tell you the topic." Kacey replied. "I had my good luck charms with me." She joked.
"That explosion was nothing to joke about." Kate snapped. "Then we lost all communications."
"The explosion knocked all my systems off line and the shock waves pushed me out from under that ship. By the time I was able to get steering back on line I was too close to the ground. It would have been worse if I had not been able to regain control at the last second."
"Colonel we are going to take you right into the diagnostic area."
"Fine as long as that means I can take this collar off and lose the two by four you have me strapped to." Kacey complained. Christ places that did not hurt before. certainly are now because of this board."
The Marines lifted the stretcher and carried Kacey off the shuttle. "We will know more after we run the tests." He stated as he walked next to the stretcher. Natalia met them as they entered Sick Bay.
CHAPTER 35 B
"Kacey, I am so happy to see you." Natalia cried and put her arms around Kacey as much as she could. She lay her head on Kacey's chest.
"Talia, please don't cry. I am not hurt." Kacey held her.
"I can not help it. I love you."
"I love you too. They just want to run a few tests and I hope to be back home shortly. How are the babies?"
"They are both great. You mom is with them. Anya came in shortly after you landed so I could be here with you.
"Colonel we will want you to stay at least for the day to make sure there are no hidden injuries."
"That is a load of bull Doc. Run your tests, then I will return to my quarters."
"Be quiet little sister." Kate ordered. She motioned for the Marines to follow the Doctor into the diagnostic area. Natalia stood next to Kate while they waited.
"Kate tell me truthfully."
"Except for the areas where she was thrown against her safety harness she said no."
"Do you believe her?"
"I am not sure what to believe." Kate admitted. "What sort of mood was Anya in?"
"That is hard to say. She was fine with your children and ours, but when your mom asked about you she got very angry."
"We have an argument in the making. I snapped at her when we were en route to get Kacey." Kate stated.
"Is that why you are hiding from her?"
"I can face down hostile aliens, but my wife in a temper can still scare the bejesus out of me." Kate admitted.
"What is the worse thing she could do? She would never leave you. She loves you too much to ever do that."
"That would never happen, but my dear sweet Anya has other ways to punish me for my crimes."
"Are those the types of punishments that end up being pleasurable?"
Kate blushed. "You could say that."
"I think I just did." Natalia smiled. Kate laughed. "Kate if the Doctor wants Kacey to stay..."
"It would only be for observation and not that there is something else going on. It is because she got slammed around inside her shuttle when the ship exploded and she had a very hard landing. It really is just a precaution."
"She will be angry." Natalia stated.
"Then we will both have to gang up on her."
"The doctor will probably have to knocked her out."
As expected, Kacey gave the medical staff a hard time about staying and the Doctor gave her a sedative to quiet her down. Natalia returned to their quarters to nurse their children. Kate sat next to the bed and watched her sleep. She was avoiding Anya. Eventually she knew the stars would line up and she would have to face her angry spouse.
"Are you planning on avoiding me for the rest of the day?" Anya asked from the doorway.
"I am not avoiding you."
"DO NOT LIE TO ME KATE." Anya snapped.
"You are right. I was avoiding you. Anya, I did you a great disservice when I yelled at you."
"Disservice Kate?" Anya asked. "That is quite an understatement. You yelled at me in front of the crew. You can yell at me all you want when we are alone, however, I will not tolerate that behavior in front of others."
"Can we talk about this later?"
"Certainly. I will wait with you."
"You both should leave and go back to your quarters." Kacey said softly.
"How are you feeling? Can I get you anything?" Kate asked.
"I am fine as long as I do not move. Every muscle in my body is screaming. How long have I been asleep?"
"A few hours. Natalia went to nurse the babies. She will be back later."
"What time is it?"
"Eighteen hundred hours."
"Kate how are my people?"
"Major Anderson was the more seriously injured. The Doctors used the bone knitter to repair all the breaks and the dermal regenerator for the cuts and burns. He will still be out of commission for a week or so." Kate told her. "Considering he was right under that ship when he exploded, he is lucky to be alive. You both are."
"Most of the other injuries were mostly cuts and burns and a couple broken bones. They have all been treated." Anya added.
"What about the flyers?"
"You mechanics are repairing the damage. Shuttle two is in bad shape and might have to be scrapped. Your Marines are all over those raider ships, pulling everything they can out of them."
"There are about a hundred prisoners that Security and the Brin are guarding. Those Vernans we found have been separated from the raiders. Their injuries have been treated."
"Were Queen Dyan's sons among them?"
"They were. We have invited all the Vernans to remain on board until we can get them back to Verna on our return trip." Kate said.
"A message has been sent to Queen Dyan." Anya added.
"That is really good to hear."
"When you leave here tomorrow, we need to have a talk."
"I expect we do." Kacey sighed. "Look go back to your quarters."
"Kacey is right, Kate. We need to go home. It has been a long day."
"On one condition." Kate stated. "You give me your word that you will remain here."
"Kate, my body feels as if I was thrown from the back of a five thousand kilo mad bull. You have my word. I will not leave here."
"Then we will leave you to rest." Kate kissed Kacey's head and backed away from the bed. Anya leaned down and also kissed the top of Kacey's head.
"Do me a favor, Anya, be kind to her please. She was not thinking clearly when she yelled at you." Kacey whispered.
"I can make no guarantees." Anya stated.
To be continued...
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