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 13 A
Kate walked out of their bedroom. She pulled the ties on her robe and headed for her first coffee of the day. Anya was fixing breakfast for their children. Kate kissed the tops of the girl's heads, then kissed Anya.
"Good morning my little darlings." Kate said with a smile. "And a very good morning to my beautiful wife."
"Morning mummy." The girls said together.
"Good morning love." Anya said and kissed Kate. "You are in a good mood this morning."
"It is a beautiful day. I am here with my beautiful family that I love with all my heart. Why shouldn't I be in a good mood."
"Uh huh. You are not planning on teasing Kacey today are you?"
"Me?" Kate asked innocently.
"Kate you are not to pick on Kacey today." Anya ordered.
"Where is the fun in that?"
"Would you like to be banned from the party tonight?"
"You do not have that authority." Kate teased.
"Do you want to take that chance, my Kate?" Anya asked. "Sit down, your breakfast is ready."
"Anya did you notice how quickly Kacey tired yesterday?"
"I did. I was happy when you pulled her out of that last store."
"She is not bouncing back from this injury as she has before."
"Kate, stop and think for a minute. The previous times she has been injured on this trip, she had not been stabbed. Yes she was cut by falling debris on Marcus Prime, but those did not involve a major organ. Add to that the fact that she lost a lot of blood and had surgery to repair the damage. It has barely been two weeks. Give her time."
"Should I talk to her doctor?"
"Kacey may look at that as an invasion of her privacy. If you are that worried, talk to her first and get her permission to talk to Dr. McCloud. But please wait until tomorrow."
"I can wait until tomorrow." Kate stated. "Is everything set?" " I spoke to Patricia a short time ago and she said they were going to finish the decorations. She said to meet her in an hour."
"Good." Kate stated as she finished her breakfast. "I had better shower and get dressed." Kate left the table and went into their bedroom.
Kacey stood in front of the window in the living room. She watched the activity on the piers as machines loaded and unloaded cargo from the ships that were docked. She sipped her coffee until she felt arms sneak around her waist.
"Good morning my love." She said as she put her cup down on the window sill and grasped the small hands. Kacey turned to face Natalia.
"Happy birthday sweetheart." Natalia said as she kissed Kacey.
They stood with their arms around each other. "Hey where is the bikini?" Kacey joked.
"I thought that should wait until later."
"That gives me something to look forward to."
"What time is your appointment?"
"Nine hundred hours."
"You won't forget to mention how quickly you tire will you?"
"I will not forget. It has been on my mind also. Especially after yesterday when even Kate picked up on it."
Their children woke and demanded attention. Together they walked into the nursery.
Kacey sat on the exam table while the Doctor prodded her side. "Any tenderness?"
"A little, Doc. Is that expected?"
"Yes. The damage that blade did, needs time to fully repair. We can take it just so far with dermal regenerators and bone knitters. The rest is up to the human body."
"What about the lack of stamina?"
"Colonel, Kacey it all comes down to the injury. The knife did quite a bit of damage. Add to that the amount of blood you lost. It has barely been two weeks. The lack of stamina will diminish as you continue to heal."
"Is there any way to speed up the process?"
"There is, however, the side effects are not worth it and I would not recommend that course of action."
"So what should I do?"
"First of all, do not worry. Eat food high in iron, drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest."
"Doc I do not have time to wait for my body to heal itself. I have to be in top condition when we return to space."
"What sort of time frame as we looking at?"
"Kate said in two days."
"Then that will not happen. Kacey if we step in and speed up the process you will be completely out of commission for a week. I mean flat on your back, out of commission. The pain will be intense. Do you want to go through that?" Kacey looked at the Doctor without answering. "Kacey you will not be cleared for duty when we leave here."
"Doc I have to be."
"Kacey I can guarantee that will not happen. Not full duty anyway. Before I can make any sort of decisions, I need to speak with the Captain."
"Why? It is my body and my health. Not Kate's"
"Can you give me an accurate time frame of when we will be back in open space? Or how long it will take us to get back to whatever planet is our next stop over point?"
"No, I can not answer those questions." Kacey admitted.
"Then do I have your permission to talk to her. I need to update her on your progress. I will not tell her any specifics if you don't want me to."
"Go ahead Doc. She will find out eventually."
"Take the time necessary to let your body heal naturally. Do not rush it. I know you are used to bouncing back. This injury was far more serious that your others. You suffered a punctured and collapsed lung. We had to remove two ribs to get to the damage. If that is not enough, you lost approximately two pints of blood. That all takes time to heal naturally." Kacey was silent. "I realize that was not what you wanted to hear."
"That is an understatement Doc."
"Kacey when a person is as active as you are, being forced to slow down and take time off can raise havoc with your mental health."
"You mean depression?"
"Exactly. You mental outlook has a great deal of influence over your physical well being and recovery." She placed a hand on Kacey's knee. "You have a beautiful wife, two beautiful healthy children. Enjoy this time with them and relax. All right?"
"All right, Doc."
"I want to check you out again next week. If you behave yourself, we will talk about your returning to at least desk duty."
Kacey left Sick Bay and returned to her quarters. She entered her code and walked into the quiet residence. She picked up the note from Natalia stating that she was at her parents and would return shortly. Kacey poured another coffee and went back to staring out the window.
"Attitude." She said out loud. "Okay O'Malley if a good attitude is important to physical health then get your self out of the dumpster and be grateful you are alive to spend time with Talia and your children. Especially..." She stopped and wondered if Natalia would actually do what she asked. She felt the heat of a blush start. The door chimed. Kacey turned to look at the monitor. "Come in Kate." She called out.
Kate walked in. Kacey turned from the window.
"Happy birthday little sister."
"Younger Kate. Thank you. Want a coffee?"
"I would love one."
Kacey went to the pot and filled two cups. She handed one to Kate. "So to what do I owe this honor."
"I am worried about you."
"Straight to the point today."
"So tell me. How are you feeling?"
"That is not an easy question to answer. I feel okay. Not great or good or even fine. Just okay. The Doc says it is because of the injuries I received are not fully healed and will take time. There is a way to speed up the process but according to Doc, it is extremely painful, and I will be completely out of commission for a week."
"What does she recommend?"
"What they all say. Rest, let my body heal on it's own."
"And what are you going to do?"
"Rest and let my body heal on it's own."
"That is an excellent decision."
"That means I will not be on duty when we leave here."
"Do you trust your people?"
"Of course I do. What sort of question is that?
"Then let them do the jobs you hand picked them for. Consider this a vacation. When is the last time you actually took a vacation?"
CHAPTER 13 B
Kacey thought before answering. "You are talking about full week or more and not just a long weekend?" Kate nodded. "In that case I think my last vacation was right after I graduated from the Academy. I might have taken a week off before I was ordered to report to Washington."
"Then my dear sister, you are way overdue for at least two weeks."
"I have to go back to the doctor next week for a check up. Where will we be in that time frame?"
"On our way for the ice covered "Y" Class planet. Why?"
"Doc wants to talk to you. Kate I gave her permission to tell you everything."
"Thank you for doing that."
"I did it for the purely selfish reason of not having you give me the third degree." Kacey said with a smile. "I guess that means I am on vacation." She admitted. "One thing Kate, if we run into any trouble, I want it known that I will be the one to direct my people."
"I will accept that." Kate stated. "Where is Natalia?"
"At mom and dad's. So tell me what have all of your warped minds been planning?"
"As far as I know it is just a family dinner with close friends."
"Good." Kacey stated. "I like that idea. I do not have to get dressed up for that."
"True, just wear something other than sweats or fatigues." Kate stated. "Or your around your quarters rags." She added as an afterthought. Kate finished her coffee and left after hugging Kacey.
"Patricia are you sure you want to show these pictures and videos?" Natalia asked. "Kacey..."
"Did the same thing when Kate turned thirty." Patricia stated. "If I know anything about my daughter, she will expect something like this."
"I have to say she really was a cute baby."
"She was. They both were beautiful babies. Kacey was a bundle of energy from the start." Patricia said with a smile. "Natalia how is she really? She looked so washed out yesterday."
"I know. She is at the doctors now, After everyone left, I was able to talk her into laying down. She fell asleep on the couch. I was able to get her to wake up long enough to change and get into bed."
"After this last injury, rest is probably just what she needs." Patricia said. "How are you going to get her to the party?"
"Kate and Anya said they would get her there. I just hope Kate does nothing to make her look foolish."
"Kate knows better than to pull something like that. Anya will not let her. Try not to worry about that."
Kacey stood in front of her open closet door as she tried to decide what to wear. "Kate said no sweats, fatigues or comfortable clothes. Dinner is not formal so that leaves out the uniforms and the tux." She said out loud as she moved the hangers of the eliminated outfits, one after another until the only thing left was an unfamiliar garment bag. She pulled it forward and noticed the note pinned to it. "OPEN ME" was printed on the note. She pulled it from the rod and hung it on the door hook. She opened the bag and found another note that read "WEAR ME."
The shirt was a rich blue silk. Kacey ran her hands over the smooth fabric. She took the shirt off the hanger and put it on. She liked the feel of the silk against her skin. After she buttoned the shirt, Kacey pulled the trousers off and put them on. Once she tucked in the shirt she did up the zipper and clasp. She checked her reflection. "Damn even the length is right." Kacey put on the vest, then the jacket.
Natalia came into the bedroom as Kacey finished dressing. "Happy Birthday, sweetheart." She said and kissed Kacey. "How does it fit?"
"Perfectly. How did you do it?"
"Sorry Colonel that information is top secret. You do not have the necessary security clearance for that information." Kacey put her arms around Natalia and kissed her.
"What do you say we ditch the dinner and just lock ourselves in here?" Kacey said as she undid the ties on Natalia's robe.
Natalia slapped her hands away. "Do you want your mother to kill us both? Now you need to go into the living room so that I can get dressed."
"Do not ask questions. Go wait in the living room. Kate and Anya will be here shortly. There are snacks laid out." Natalia pushed her out of the bedroom. "Oh would you send Anya in when she gets here?"
"Okay, okay. I'm going. Hey where are the babies?"
"At your parents. GO." Natalia ordered.
Kacey left the bedroom. She helped herself to a snack that Natalia had left out for them. She poured herself a drink and managed to take a sip before the door chimed.
"Come in." She called out. Kate, Anya and their girls walked in. Kate carried a bag. "Natalia's getting dressed. Want a drink while we wait? Kacey asked. Kate nodded and helped herself to a brandy. "Hey rug rats how are you doing?"
"Happy birthday Aunt Kacey." They said together.
"Thank you both."
"Does Natalia need help?" Anya asked.
"Damn she did say to send you in when she kicked me out fifteen minutes ago."
Anya walked to the door and knocked. "It's Anya." The door opened and Anya slipped inside.
"Kate should we be worried about those two always going into bedrooms together and closing the door?" Kacey joked.
"Not in the least." Kate stated. "I talked to Doctor McCloud earlier. Thank you for giving her permission to tell me everything."
"Just don't get used to it."
"Heaven forbid I should ever do that. What does Natalia say about your being on vacation?"
"She thinks it is a good idea."
"What do you think?"
Kacey took a sip of her drink to postpone answering. Kate waited for the answer. "It probably is a good idea, at least until the Doc lets me return to work." She admitted. The bedroom door opened. Anya and Natalia walked out. "Sweetheart, you look beautiful." Kacey said as she went to Natalia's side. The dress was almost the same color at Kacey's shirt.
"Thank you" She kissed Kacey.
"All right you two. Do not get started or we will never make it to dinner on time." Kate joked.
"So where are we going?" Kacey asked.
"All in good time, little sister. All in good time." Anya said with a smile. "Now finish your drinks so we can go." They raised their glasses in salute to finished their drinks before they walked out of the quarters.
To be continued...
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