Year three in the Voyage of Andromeda. The adventure that started in Among the Stars, and Beyond the Farthest Planet continues in Far From Home.
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CHAPTER 10 A
Time moved in slow motion. Kacey heard Mike's yell and reacted. She half turned and stiffened as the knife was plunged into her side instead of her back. She grabbed the bar to keep from falling, as she felt the warm blood soak her tunic. She felt rather than saw Mike take down the alien who stabbed her.
Natalia screamed as her strength gave out and her knees buckled. Anya caught her and eased her to the floor. She quickly unbuttoned the tunic and shirt to get to the wound. Anya pressed against the wound to slow down the blood flow. Natalia knelt by Kacey's side and grabbed her hand.
Chaos ran through the crowd as the guests realized an attack had taken place and moved quickly away.
"Let me through." They heard the doctor shout as she pushed through the crowd. Anya continued to press against the wound. There was a steady flow of blood. Kacey's face showed the pain of the stab. She found it hard to draw breath without intense pain. The doctor dropped down next to Kacey who looked at Natalia.
"Mike." She said softly.
"We got him Kacey."
"Get, Kate, back, to, Andromeda." She said haltingly as if each word was hard to get out.
"We will, Kacey. Don't worry." Mike replied.
"Colonel save your strength. We have a transport coming for you."
"Don't, leave, her," Kacey closed her eyes.
"Kacey no, open your eyes." Natalia cried.
The lids fluttered open. "Love, you, Talia." Kacey whispered and closed her eyes again.
"Kacey, Kacey, open your eyes, please open your eyes."
"Natalia, she has passed out." Dr. McCloud stated. "Commander I need to see the damage." Anya moved her hands. The steady stream of blood told the doctor that the blade missed the arteries. Bubbles in the blood also told her the damage was severe. The knife hit the lung. GET THAT TRANSPORT IN HERE NOW." She yelled.
"Captain, we need to get you back to Andromeda."
"No not until I make sure Kacey is moved."
"Kate," Rhea said, "he may not have been alone. For your safety you need to get out of here."
"I will not leave my sister."
"Captain, I must agree with your officers." Jarel stated. He was surrounded by his security. "My people are searching the area. As Captain, for your own safety, you should return to your ship immediately. My Security is making me leave, but I needed to see you"
"Katie, you need to be listening to them. Tis not a place for ye." Liam stated.
"Stay with her dad. Please stay with her."
"I will lass. Now ye go. The transports are here."
"Natalia go with the Captain." Dr. McCloud ordered.
"No. I will not leave her." Natalia said.
"Commander, get them both out of here." She told Anya. "Natalia, I have to do a few things that you do not need to see. The longer we wait the less chance of survival Kacey has."
Anya went to help her up, noticed the blood on her hands and looked to Kate and Patricia for help.
"Natalia, come away and let the doctor work." Patricia said as she pulled her up. "Liam will stay with her."
"Send out the emergency return to Andromeda signal to everyone." Kate ordered.
"Go back lass." Liam stated softly. "We will be there shortly."
"Please don't let her die. She is my love." Natalia pleaded. She allowed Patricia and Kate to pull her from Kacey's side. Anya walked close by her. Rhea and Mike directed them to a waiting transport. Before she climbed in, Natalia looked back at Kacey.
"Commander, I need a tube to insert into her lung."
"Aye." Liam hurried to the emergency transport to see if they had the tube. He returned shortly with a sterile tube and gloves that the emergency personnel handed him. They brought the stretcher closer to Kacey. Doctor McCloud opened the package then put on the gloves. "Commander you have to hold her down. I have to put this into her lung and she will jump." Liam pressed down on Kacey's shoulders.
Doctor McCloud inserted her fingers into the stab to locate the puncture. Kacey jumped. The doctor found the hole and inserted the tube. Kacey jumped again but with Liam holding her down did not move far. The doctor noticed there was still bubbles in the blood.
"Damn, there must be a second hole." She turned to the emergency personnel. "We need to get her back to Andromeda now."
She gripped the tube tightly as Kacey was lifted onto the stretcher. They strapped her down and hurried to the transport. Liam at her side. They climbed into the transport with Kacey. "Commander I need you to call Sick Bay. I can not let go of this tube." Liam pressed his communicator and held it up for her to talk into. "Doctor McCloud to Sick Bay."
"Sick Bay Doctor Kipling."
"Alex, I am bringing in Colonel O'Malley. She has been stabbed mid chest right side. She has a punctured lung. I have a tube inserted, but I believe there is a second puncture. I need the O.R. prepped. We need to find that second hole."
"Roger Olive. What are her vitals?"
"Breaths rapid and shallow. Can not hear breath sounds on the right side. Pulse weak and thready. B.P unknown at this time. Will need blood for transfusion. Our E.T.A is five minutes. Have medical personnel meet us at the forward ramp with another stretcher. We will transfer her there and take her directly to the O.R. She will have to be tubed."
"Staff is on the way Olive. Keep us advised of and changes."
The transport sped through the city and right onto the pier. Medical staff was waiting at the bottom of the ramp for them. They quickly transferred Kacey onto their stretcher. The doctor continued to hold the tube in place with one hand and press on the wound with the other. The staff ran the stretcher up the ramp and into the lift. They rushed past the waiting family into Sick Bay. Kacey was very pale as they took her directly into the operating room. Natalia cried in Patricia's arms. Anya held Kate as she cried. Liam put his arm around Patricia. He noticed the blood that still covered Anya's hands. He left and returned with wet towels which he handed to Anya.
"Thank you Liam." Anya released Kate and scrubbed the blood from her hands. Kate took the towels from her to help.
"How was Kacey?" Patricia asked. "Do you know what the doctor is going to do?"
"They have to operate. The knife..." He faltered and took a shaky breath. "The knife..." He could not finish. The door opened. Mike walked in followed by Rhea and Bella who each carried one of the children.
"They wanted their mommy." Bella said. Natalia wiped her eyes and held her hands out for her children. She held them tightly as her tears started to flow again.
"Come sit over here, lass." Liam said and led her to the row of chairs. Kate pulled Liam off to the side.
"Tell me the truth dad."
"The knife hit her lung. The Doc put a tube in, but there was still bubbles. I am not knowing what that means. The Doc thought there could be a second hole. They have to operate."
They waited for some word on Kacey's condition. Kate and Liam paced the length of the waiting room. The twins woke up and started crying. Anya changed them. The men left the room when Natalia nursed Patrick while Patricia fed Caitlyn a bottle. Kate resumed her pacing while they continued to wait.
The first hour passed. Mike and Liam returned to the waiting room. They brought coffee for all as they waited. The second hour passed. Half way through the third hour the doctor came out.
CHAPTER 10 B
Natalia jumped to her feet when she noticed the doctor.
"Kacey came through surgery. Her lung was punctured in two places. We had problems finding the second hole, but now both have been closed. We had to remove two ribs to repair the damage. The ribs have been fixed in place with a bone knitter. We left a small chest tube in place so that any blood or fluids can drain. She is connected to a ventilator to help the lung inflate naturally. She will be heavily sedated for at least a day or until the lung is completely inflated. Then we will take her off the ventilator and allow her to wake up. She is receiving transfusions to replace the blood she lost."
"When can we see her?" Natalia asked.
"Not for a couple hours. She is in recovery for at least that long." Doctor McCloud stated. "Kacey owes her life to Anya and Colonel Anderson. If he had not shouted to her the knife would have killed her. Anya's quick thinking slowed down the blood loss. She is very lucky the knife did not hit an artery."
"Thank you Mike." Kate said. "My darling a very special thank you." She told Anya.
"She is my sister too Kate." Anya stated.
"And my best friend, Captain."
"Aye thank ye both for taking care and loving Kacey." Liam stated. He placed a hand on Mike's shoulder. "Lad consider yourself to be a member of this family."
"You should all go back to your quarters. I will contact you when Kacey is moved."
"I am not leaving." Natalia stated. "I can not leave until I see her." She cried. "Please I need to see her first."
"Neither am I." Kate stated.
"All right. I will not allow any one person to spend more than four hours with her. That is non negotiable. I will let you know when Kacey is out of recovery." The doctor returned to Sick Bay.
"We will take the little ones back to your quarters." Patricia stated. "They will be more comfortable in their own beds." She kissed Caitlyn and handed her to Liam. Then kissed Patrick who slept in Patricia's arms.
Anya kissed Kate. "I will take the girls over to Kacey's to wait for word." She hugged Natalia. "Kacey is strong. Do not worry."
"Rhea would you and Bella check to make sure everyone has returned? No one is allowed off ship until further notice."
"Kate we will make sure everyone is back. You worry about Kacey. We will worry about everyone else."
"I will get you some coffee then help Rhea." Mike stated.
They left the waiting area. Natalia and Kate went back to the doors to watch and wait. Kate put her arm around Natalia.
"Anya was right. Kacey is strong."
"I know Kate, but how many more times will she be able come back from the edge."
"This is who she is. It is what she does."
"Something has been bothering me. Why did he go after Kacey. She is not the Captain. I mean I do not want you to be the one laying in there."
"I understand and I have asked myself the same question."
"Did you come to any conclusions?"
"Unfortunately yes. It all goes back to that first day when the Limari threatened her. She told them she was the leader. She pulled the attention from me and aimed it at herself. She made herself the target. They also knew she was responsible for our escaping and managed to take a few down in the fight afterwards."
"What can we do, Kate?"
"Do? We love her for the brave person she is. Stand by her no matter what."
"I will never stop loving her, that I can promise you and will be at her side no matter what life throws at us." Natalia stated.
"Never doubted that for a second, little sister."
Three hours passed before they watched the medical staff wheel the stretcher through Sick Bay. They waited until the doctor motioned for them to enter.
"Kacey is heavily sedated so that she does not fight the breathing tube. She will now know you are there."
"She will know." They both stated and walked into her room. The head of the bed was raised. I.V.'s ran into both arms. One for fluids and the other for blood to replace what she had lost. A thin tube ran from under the dressing into a small collection bag. Another tube showed under the sheet into another bag. Machinery hummed and beeped softly.
Natalia sat near the bed and held Kacey's hand. The long fingers curled around her own. Tears started to fall. Kate put her hands on Natalia's shoulders in comfort and support.
"She is a fighter and will recover."
Natalia wiped her tears with her free hand. "She looks so pale and helpless. It is hard to see her like this."
"Keep telling yourself that she is a fighter and a little knife cut will not keep her down."
"A little knife cut? That is something Kacey would say."
"It is a course we tough women all take to become officers. Stoic Warriors 101. Kacey passed it without any problems."
"How did you do in that course?"
"Kate received the second highest grade." Anya stated from the door. She walked into the room. "What did the doctor say?"
"They are replacing the blood she lost and letting her lung inflate naturally. She is sedated so she does not fight the breathing tube." Kate stated.
"You helped save her life, Anya. By pressing on the wound, you slowed the blood flow. I can never thank you enough."
"There is no need to thank me, Natalia. Kacey is my sister also. She would have done the same thing if the position were reversed" Anya stated. "You should both leave and get some rest for a few hours before the doctor makes you leave."
"Anya is right. You have to think about yourself and keep your strength up. Not only for Kacey, but for your children also." Kate said.
"I will sit with Kacey. You both need to eat and rest. At the very least get out of your uniforms." Both women looked down at their blood stained clothes.
"My brilliant wife is right again. We will step outside and give you a couple minutes alone to say good night."
Natalia sighed. "All right Kate." She said. They left the room and pulled the door closed. Natalia stood and kissed Kacey's cheek. "Sweetheart I have to leave for a short time, but I will be back. Anya will be here with you so you will not be alone. When I come back, I will bring the babies with me so they can spend time with their mama. I love you so very much." She kissed her cheek again and walked out of the door.
"Patricia has the girls over Kacey's. Do not let Natalia be alone."
"She will not be alone darling."
"Try to get some rest yourself my Kate."
"I will." Kate promised and kissed Anya as Natalia walked out of the room.
Anya watched them leave before she sat next to Kacey's bed. "I know what you did Kacey. You made yourself the target to protect Kate. That is an act I will be forever grateful for. However, little sister, as lost I would be without Kate, Natalia would be equally devastated. You can not keep putting yourself in harm's way to protect Kate. No matter what your orders were. There are others who would be more than willing to help you keep Kate safe. You can not go this alone anymore. Do you know that if Mike had not yelled, that knife would have gone into your back and killed you. This family would be lost without you. When you recover, you and I will have a talk about that really bad habit of yours."
Doctor McCloud walked into the room. "Commander I need to ask you to step out of the room. We need to run a scan to see the progress of the lung."
"Certainly Doctor." Anya stepped into Sick Bay as they wheeled a large machine into the room. Patricia arrived while she waited.
"I was able to get Kate and Natalia to at least eat and change their clothes. Hopefully Liam will be able to get them to rest. He will be down later. The girls were very good for us."
"Thank you Patricia."
"Has there been any change?"
"The Doctor is doing some sort of x-ray to check her lung progress."
"It is times like this that I regret my family was chosen for this mission."
"There are times when I feel the same, Patricia. Kate and I talked about just becoming plain old residents when we return to Earth. We have twenty years in now."
"Liam is also thinking about retiring. He has been in the service since he was eighteen. He wants to try his hand at being a civilian." Patricia stated. "It would be nice if Kacey would retire also. I know she does not have twenty years in, but I would really love for her to find a safer occupation."
"We can not ask her to be less than she is Patricia." Anya stated.
"I know Anya. Who knows what she will decide once we are back home."
The Doctor walked out of the room. "Everything looks good. Her lung is slowly re-inflating. We may be able to remove the tube sooner than anticipated, if she continues to improve."
"That is excellent news." Patricia said.
To be continued...
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