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 6 A
"Bella what a nice surprise." Natalia said as she opened the door.
"Bella." Patricia said from her seat. "Come in. We were putting the finishing touches on Kacey's party. Would you like a cup of coffee or a drink?"
"Coffee is fine. I am still on duty. Are the girls here?"
"They are in Green Haven with their class and will be back in a couple hours." Patricia stated.
"Have you heard from Kate or Kacey?" Natalia asked, as she place a coffee in front of Bella.
"They left the Premier's residence around twelve thirty hours."
"Then they will be back soon. We had better put these plans away." Patricia said, as she started to pick up their lists.
"Bella is something wrong?" Natalia asked.
"The away team left the residence.." She stopped "They left and on the way back they were attacked in the transport. Liam and Mike are in Sick Bay. The Doc says they were gassed."
"What about my girls? Where are they?"
"We don't know. We know they were taken to a back alley here in the city. We have them on video being carried unconscious into a basement. Right now Majors Taggart and Williams are working with the Communications officer to see if between the video and the trackers we can find the route they took."
"What about those damn trackers, they all have in them?"
"We are trying to locate them. The video," Bella's voice broke. "What we can see on the video they are all alive."
"Bridge to Commander Torino."
"Go ahead Bridge."
"We were able to contact Enforcer Adone. He is on his way here."
"Have him escorted to the Bridge as soon as he arrives. I will be in sick Bay." Bella stated. "Patricia I will escort you to Sick Bay. Natalia as soon as we know anything, I will contact you."
"I will be in Sick Bay also. Just give me a minute to get the children." She left the room.
"Bella is Liam, is Liam?"
"He is alive. I am not sure what sort of gas they used, but the last report I had was they were unconscious but breathing unaided."
"What of my girls?"
"From what we could see they were unconscious also. The video feed from the room where there are is spotty, but they are breathing. We have tried calling them, but there must be something in the room that is blocking the signal"
Natalia returned with the sleeping children in their carriage. She grabbed extra bottles and diapers which she put into a bag on her shoulder. Bella reached over and took the bag from her. She held the door open.
Kacey was first aware of the headache. She felt as if her head would burst if she moved too quickly. Her mouth felt like she had been chewing cotton. She focused all her energy on one body part at a time. "First open your eyes." She told herself. It was a battle but after several tries she succeeded. " That is a start, O'Malley. Now look around. What do you see?" She asked herself. "A room." Her brain started to fog. "Focus need to focus." She pushed back the fogginess. Her brain cleared. She looked around the room. "Small barred windows high on the walls. "Okay, we are in a basement." She spoke out loud. "Time to wake the rest of your body up." She raised her head enough to see that her hands and feet were tied and her tunic unbuttoned. She turned her head and saw, "Oh my God. Kate. KATE." She said louder. Kacey turned on her side and managed to drag herself to Kate's side. She pushed her with a shoulder. "KATE" She yelled again.
Kate coughed. "What, are, you, yelling, for?"
"Thank God. I thought you were dead."
"Not according to the pounding in my head. If this is the afterlife it really sucks."
"That will fade. Mine is almost gone."
"Where are we?"
"Looks like a basement." Kacey said. "We were knocked out in the transport. Gas I think. We are tied up." She looked around. "Anya and Rhea are here also."
"Make sure they are all right?"
"Relax, Kate. I will. You stay still and finish waking up."
Kacey crawled over to Anya and Rhea. She nudged Anya first and called her name. "Anya." She nudged her again. "Anya." Kacey bent her knees and used her feet to push Rhea. "Rhea, wake up."
"Kacey what are you yelling for?" Anya asked.
Rhea moaned. "I agree. What the hell happened?"
"We were gassed."
"Where is Kate?"
"Not far. We have to get out of here before they return. Finish waking up. I am going to work on getting us free." Kacey crawled back over to Kate. "How are you feeling?" She asked.
"Better. What about Anya and Rhea?"
"They are both waking up."
"You picked a lousy day to not wear your saber. We could really use it now."
"My saber is not necessary." Kate stated. "Kate, I need you to turn onto your side facing me."
"Okay." Kate tried to turn for several minutes with out success. Finally she made it. Perspiration beaded her forehead. "Now what?"
"Hang on." Kacey slammed her heels on the floor. Nothing happened. She tried again. A blade flipped out of the toe of one boot. She turned so that her feet were close to Kate's hands.
"Nice trick. Is that standard equipment?"
"Be careful, the blade is very sharp." Kate rubbed the rope against the blade until her hands were free. She rubbed her wrists to restore the circulation. "As soon as you can feel you hands, undo my ropes."
Kate worked at the knots as soon as the feeling was restored. She managed to get Kacey's hands free. Kacey rubbed her hands the same way Kate did. She reached under her belt and removed a pair of small knives. She handed one to Kate to cut the ropes around her feet. Kacey pushed the blade back into her boot.
"What other little tricks do you have on you?" Kate asked.
"Let's get the others free and I will tell you." Kacey held onto the wall and stood on rubbery legs. She leaned against the wall until the shaking stopped. Kacey reached down to help Kate stand. They both fastened their tunics. "Kate take a minute and get your land legs. How is the headache?"
"Good. Come on, Anya and Rhea should be awake enough." Kacey held onto Kate's arm as they walked the short distance to where the others lay.
Kate went to Anya's side, while Kacey took care of Rhea. Kate leaned down and kissed Anya after the ropes were cut. "Oh my darling, I am so sorry this happened."
"Not your fault, my Kate." Anya replied. "I think after this mission is over, I will like being just a plain old resident of Earth for awhile."
"That is something we can definitely discuss after we get out of here." Kate helped Anya to stand. They put their arms around each other and held tight. Kacey helped Rhea to stand. Once she was certain the Security chief was stable, she left her to check out the room. She pressed her communicator and got only static.
"Check you communicators." She stated. They each tried and only got static. "Must be something in the walls that is blocking the signal. Her gaze went to the windows. "The windows." She stated.
"What about the windows?" Kate asked.
"We can not get a signal through the walls, but we might be able to get one through the window glass."
"How? The window has got to be at least fifteen meters high. Not even you can reach that high and there is nothing here to stand on."
"Take off your boots, Kate." Kacey told her.
"Take off your boots. Look, you are going to stand on my shoulders. There is enough dirt on my uniform, I really do not need you boot prints on my shoulders."
"I have a better idea." Anya stated. "You and I will grab arms. Kate can stand on our arms. Then we will lift her up."
"Great idea. Rhea would you steady Kate?"
"Of course." Rhea replied.
Kate removed her boots. Kacey and Anya linked arms and bent down so that Kate could stand on them. Rhea stood behind Kate and held her steady. They slowly stood up. Kate was ale to grasp the window sill. She looked out.
"Can you see anything?" Kacey asked.
"It looks like an alley. There is garbage all over the area. Also there are several doorways."
"Try your communicator." Kacey stated.
"Captain Jensen to Andromeda."
"Captain, thank God. Are you all right?"
"We are all fine, but being held captive. Where is Commander Torino?"
"She is in Sick Bay with your mother."
CHAPTER 6 B
"Commander O'Malley and Lt. Colonel Anderson were dropped off almost two hours ago. They are both in Sick Bay."
"Two hours? Transfer me to Sick Bay?"
Kate heard several clicks as the officer transferred her. "Sick Bay, Doctor McCloud."
"Doctor, this is Captain Jensen."
"Captain it is great to hear your voice."
"Captain." Bella's voice came over. "Is every one all right?"
"Except for being held captive in a basement some where in Micari, We are all fine."
"We are following the paths of the video locks and trackers to find you." Bella stated.
"Tell mom and Natalia not to worry and we will try to find a way out of here. How are dad and Mike?"
"They are both awake and fighting off the effects of whatever gas they used. The Doc said they will probably be released in a few hours."
"That is great to hear."
"I am waiting for Enforcer Adone to arrive to help us find you."
"We will work on this end." Kate stated. "I will try to check back in an hour. Hopefully by that time we will find a way out of here."
Kate released the window sill. She signaled Kacey and Anya to lower her down. "First order of business is to find a way out of here." Kate stated.
"Would you like a weapon before we do that?" Kacey asked.
"What do you have besides knives?"
Kacey smiled. She bent down and unzipped one boot. She pulled a small gun out of the liner. She unzipped the other and pulled another small gun out. She handed one to Kate and Anya. "Rhea do you still have your weapon?" Rhea pulled the pistol from the small of her back.
"What about you? You will need more than knives to protect yourself?" Kate stated.
"Kate have faith. I know how to use knives in a fight. But don't worry." She undid the buttons on her tunic and reached inside. She removed another pistol from her arm holster.
"What are you a walking arsenal?"
"Not quite, Kate. Those little guns will only shoot ten shots each." Kacey stated. "I am sorry I could not get larger guns in my boots. Bigger ones would have been noticed and a real bitch to walk with."
"Sorry? You have given us a fighting chance, Kacey." Anya stated.
"Now we need to find a way out of here." Kacey stated. "That door leads to the outside but does not have a latch on the inside." She checked on the other door. "This door leads to whatever building we are in, but," She tried the latch, "It is locked." Kacey walked back to the outside door. She put her head next to the wall. She pulled a small flashlight from her pocket and shone it along the edge of the door.
"What are you looking for?" Kate asked.
"Hinges. All the doors I have seen on this planet swing on hinges to open and close." Kacey moved to the other side of the door.
"How is it you know to look for stuff like that? Kate asked.
"Training Kate. All part of that Marine Mode you dislike so much. We were put through all sorts of scenarios at the academy."
"If you can get us out of here, I will never kid you about going into Marine Mode again."
"Sure, Kate." Kacey stated as she concentrated on the door. "Got them."
"Can you get them off?" Kate asked.
"I am definitely going to try, but I think I can get them off." She pulled a case from her pocket. She opened the case and removed a flat rod which she inserted into the small opening between the door and the wall. "Anya could you shine that light into the opening right above my hand?" Anya picked up the light and focused the beam into the opening. "A little higher." Kacey stated. Anya moved the light. "Right there." Kacey worked the rod into the opening. After several minutes she heard the screech as the hinge move. Several more minutes and the hinge came out with a pop and fell to the floor on the other side of the door. "One down." She took the light from Anya and searched for the next hinge. When she found it, she inserted the rod into the opening again and handed the light back to Anya. They all heard the screech as the pin moved. Kacey felt her hand start to cramp. She stopped and flexed her hand several times before she grabbed the rod again. She continued to work the pin up until it too fell to the floor. "That's two." She shook her hand and flexed her fingers again. "I hope that was the last one." Kacey inserted the rod again and tried to pry the door open. She moved the rod looking for the best spot. Finally the door moved enough for Kacey to grab the door and pull it away from the frame. With a loud screech the door opened. Kacey put the rod back in the case and the case into her pocket. "Kate do me a favor, stay behind me." Kate nodded. "Time to blow this popsicle stand ladies." Kacey stated and took the flashlight from Anya.
They started up the stairs slowly. She hugged the wall and let her senses fan out. She turned once and held a finger to her lips to signal quiet. The light kept her from tripping on the uneven stairs. At the top, was another door. She tried the latch. It moved. She pushed the door open slowly and gave the others a thumbs up and motioned for them to come up. The door opened into a small covered alcove. Kacey stepped to the edge of the alcove and slowly looked around to make sure the alley was empty.
"It is all clear. Follow me." She stated. There are several alcoves that we are going to use to get out of here. As soon as I get to the next ne, you all follow me. Rhea, you and Anya stay close to Kate."
"We will. You be damn careful, Kacey." Anya ordered.
"Ah Anya, you know me." Kacey gave her a half smile.
"That is why I aid it."
Kacey sprinted out of the alcove to the next one. She signaled the others to follow her. They made their way down the alley towards the street. They were almost to the end when Kacey heard the whine of a transport. They were in the last alcove. Kacey peeked around the edge to see the Premier and several Limari enter the basement they were held in. "We have to move now." Kacey whispered, grabbed Kate's hand and bolted for the street followed closely by Anya and Rhea. The Premier and Limari came out of the basement and looked around the alley.
"They are on the move Commander." Major Williams shouted.
"On screen." Bella ordered. "Does that alley look familiar Enforcer?"
"Like a thousand others in the city. Can you make the view bigger?"
"Computer expand the video lock on the away team by one hundred meters." The view expanded. They saw the transport and watched Premier Tott and several Limari walked slowly down the alley.
"The four women bolted for the street with the men not too far behind them.
To be continued...
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