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Andromeda orbited the planet for three days while the Stingers mapped the area. The grasslands they flew over only showed herds of grass eaters. No meat eaters were found to inhabit the grassy side This divided the planet into two distinct sections. The dangerous meat eater side where they originally checked out, and the safer plains area, where the more docile creatures lived.
The chairs around the conference table were full as the senior officers watched the video the Stingers sent back. The officers debated if they would land on the planet. The video showed grassy plains and the animals that lived there.
"As you can see, we had the bad fortune of landing on the wrong side of the planet. If we decide to land, we can land in this section where there is a very large open area." Kacey stated.
"What are the chances the meat eaters will migrate to the other side?"
"We have no way of knowing if they would migrate that far West. There is a section I would definitely deem as unsafe. That is this section here." Kacey outlined a area between the two sections. "It is a ten kilometer stretch. The area we could land in is here." She pointed to another area. "Almost one hundred kilometers away from that point."
"Were we able to figure out why those wolf and cat creatures became immune to our phasic rifles?"
"Unfortunately no. After the attacks, we did not take advantage of bringing one of the bodies back for study. Our first priority was getting the wounded back. When the Stingers passed over that area, the bodies were gone." Kacey stated.
Kate listened to her officers debate the possibility of landing. "All right" She said as she leaned back in her chair. "If we do land, half of the Marines and Security will be issued regular rifles and side arms, as well as phasic" Kate looked directly at Kacey., "In the event we are attacked again. We will do a preliminary inspection tomorrow morning. Kacey have all your remaining Marines ready to go. Rhea the same for your Security. We will take all the shuttles down with extra guards. How many Stingers remain on board?"
"Forty." Kacey said.
"Twenty will come with us to watch over us from above. The remainder will be prepped and ready to fly if needed. We will leave at nine hundred hours. Dismissed." Kate watched the officers leave. She signaled for Kacey to remain. Kate waited for the door to close before she spoke.
"You are not going, Kacey."
"Of course I am, Kate."
"Not this time."
"You are not joking are you?" Kacey asked.
"I guarantee, I have never been more serious."
"WHAT THE HELL, KATE? WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE THAT?" Kacey felt her anger rise.
"No Kate. Just two days ago we agreed that if we went back down, we would go together."
"That was before."
"BEFORE WHAT KATE?" Kacey yelled. "BEFORE I FROZE? I TOLD YOU THAT WOULD NOT HAPPEN AGAIN. I WAS NOT PREPARED THEN. I AM NOW."
"WHAT ABOUT NATALIA?"
"SHE IS THE ONE WHO SAID MY PLACE WAS BY YOUR SIDE, WATCHING YOUR BACK."
"THAT WAS BEFORE SHE FOUND OUT SHE WAS PREGNANT."
SHE SAID IT AGAIN LAST NIGHT. NEXT REASON OR EXCUSE? DO NOT PLAY THE CHILD CARD WITH ME. BOTH YOU AND ANYA WILL BE GOING. WHAT ABOUT YOUR GIRLS?"
"I CAN NOT IN GOOD CONSCIENCE ALLOW YOU TO GO ON THIS MISSION."
"THEN USE BAD CONSCIENCE. I AM GOING ON THIS MISSION, KATE."
"THE LAST TIME I LOOKED, I WAS THE CAPTAIN. I MAKE THE DECISIONS."
Kacey took a deep breath to control her anger. "You are the Captain, but you need me Kate."
"Do you trust the people under you?"
"Of course I do. But you are my sister. My place is at your side. Please Kate? I need to be there. I am the best person to guard your back. I know Anya and Rhea are extremely competent and I trust them both. However they are not trained as I am to handle dangerous situations."
"What happens if you are not as prepared as you think you are and you freeze." Kate asked.
"Then you get to kick me in the ass to get me moving. Please Kate."
Kate met Kacey's eyes. "All right, Kacey. Do not think for one second that I will not kick you in the ass if the need arises. Do not make me regret this, little sister."
"Try my best, Kate."
To be continued...
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