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 7 A
"All units converge on Cadon. Arrest Premier Tott."
They watched Kacey swerve and weave between the shoppers, with Kate, Anya and Rhea close behind. She reached behind and grabbed Kate's hand again to pull her down behind a large planter of flowers. Anya ducked behind Kate. Rhea dove right behind them. She hissed in pain as her arm snagged on a sharp edge. The men stopped and looked around for the women. Kacey parted the flowers slightly to check on the men. She watched a Limari pull a gun and fire at the planter they hid behind. Kacey ducked as the shot whizzed by her and hit the wall at her back. People around them screamed and ran from the area. Kacey pulled her gun and hesitated.
"To protect your family." Anya said in her ear. Kacey looked at her, nodded and changed her stance. With a two handed grip on the pistol she fired. Her shot hit a Limari. Dark blue blood spurted from the hole in his chest as he went down. Another Limari took his place and fired at the planter. Premier Tott fired his weapon in their direction. Shots hit against the planter and the wall. The women all fired back. Another Limari went down, and another and another as the women decimated them.
Suddenly the air around them was filled with enforcers. Tott threw down the pistol he was using. "Thank you for coming so quickly" He said. "We were chasing escaped prisoners when they shot at us." He said.
Enforcer Adone walked through the squad of enforcers. The women stood up. "Prisoners Tott? We have you on video helping to carry these women into the basement of Torsi's Pleasure House. We also have you on video chasing and shooting at Captain Jensen and her officers. It is my very great pleasure to tell you Tott that you are under arrest for illegal drugging, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, consorting with know drug traffickers and attempted murder." He pulled Tott's hands behind him and fastened electronic cuffs tightly on them. The remaining Limari were also cuffed and brought to a prison transport and pushed inside. Tott was man handled into a separate transport. Citizens cheered as he was cuffed and continued long after the transports pulled away. Adone walked over to the women. "That was very good shooting. Maybe you would like to give my people lessons?"
"Just tell them to practice." Kacey stated. "All I want to do right now is go home, take a shower, kiss my wife, hold my children and have a good stiff drink. Not necessarily in that order."
"I will get you all back to your ship immediately. I have to get your statements."
"Does it have to be today?" Kate asked.
"The sooner we do this the better, while the facts are still fresh in your minds."
The women all looked at each other. "All right, but is it possible to get a shower first? God only knows what we were rolling around in on that floor."
"Certainly Captain. Come on, I will take you to your ship." He turned to his enforcers. "Check down the alley and into the basement of Torsi's. You should find evidence there. Take statements from the witnesses and collect any evidence. I will be on Andromeda taking statements. Keep Tott in solitary until I have a chance to question him. Do not let his legal counsel bully you."
Kate looked at Rhea and the blood on her sleeve. "You are bleeding, Rhea. Did you get shot?"
"Nothing that heroic. I got snagged on that damned planter. Ripped my tunic and arm."
"Ladies my transport is over here." Enforcer Adone stated.
Kacey rolled her eyes. Kate nudged her. "Lady?" She whispered.
"Do you kiss mom with that mouth, Kate?" Kacey shot back.
"Do not start you two." Anya ordered which caused both to laugh as they followed the enforcer.
"Captain Jensen to Commander Torino."
"Go ahead Captain."
"Bella you have done a fantastic job. We are entering Andromeda now. Rhea could use some tender loving care before we speak to Enforcer Adone. She was injured. Nothing serious. She lost the fight with an angry planter. We will be in Sick Bay getting checked out. Meet us there."
"Will do Captain."
"Kate I do not need any medical care. It is just a scratch." Rhea said.
"Tell me Rhea, what is it about you tough women that you will not seek medical attention unless a body part is falling off." Kacey is the same way."
"Hey I resent that." Kacey snapped.
"Quiet little sister. You know it is true." Anya stated.
"We were all gassed and need to be checked out. That is an order." Kate stated.
"Yes ma'am." They all replied.
Adone smiled at the interaction between the women.
"Hi honey, I'm home." Kacey said she walked behind Natalia in the waiting area of Sick Bay. With a cry, Natalia threw herself into Kacey's arms. She buried her face in Kacey's chest and cried. "Shh, Talia, please do not cry. We are all fine."
"I was so worried." She stated between sobs. Your mom has been pacing since Liam woke up.
"Is he all right? What about Mike?"
"They are both fine. The doctors are just keeping an eye on them as a precaution. They will both be released shortly."
"Where are the children?"
"With your mom and dad. He asked me to leave them while I came out here to wait for you."
The waiting room door burst open. Bella ran in and grabbed Rhea. "Are you all right? Do you need to rest? There is blood on your sleeve. Is it yours? Are you are bleeding? Were you shot?" Bella babbled.
"Bella sweetheart, I am fine. I got hung up on a sharp piece on the planter we jumped behind."
"You were all gassed."
"Bella relax." Rhea ordered.
"You could have all died." She argued.
"I do not think that was so, Commander." Adone stated. "That would have lost the Premier money. I believe his plan was to ransom the women or put them to work in one of the pleasure houses."
"That is supposed to make me feel better?" Bella snapped. "They wanted to turn you all into prostitutes." Rhea did the only thing she could to quiet Bella's anger. She kissed her. "Damn it Rhea. You ambushed me."
"Did it work?"
"You know it did." She whispered.
"Are you two finished?" Kate asked. They nodded. "Good let's go get checked out. I really would like a shower. Kacey was right, there is no telling what was on that floor."
CHAPTER 7 B
They walked into Sick Bay. Doctor McCloud pointed to the exam beds.
"Doctor would you check Rhea first. She has a cut on her arm."
"Certainly Captain. That will give you a chance to see Commander O'Malley first. He is in room two."
Kate, Anya and Kacey went towards the room where Liam was waiting to be discharged. He smiled broadly when they walked in. Patricia grabbed them.
"Thank God, all my girls are back safely."
I agree Patsy. Tis good to be seeing you all back safely." Liam stated from the bed. He held Patrick and fed him. "Lil Mac woke and wanted to be spending time with his grandpa."
"Caitlyn has been squirming for the past few minutes" Patricia stated, as she released her daughters.
"I wonder if we can get the family discount today?" Kacey joked.
Natalia slapped her arm. "That is not funny." She stated.
"Natalia is right. You could have all been killed." Patricia scolded.
"I am sorry mom." Kacey aid contritely.
"I am putting you all on notice. One more injury and none of you will be allowed to leave this ship until we land on Earth." Patricia stated. "Do you all understand me?"
"Mom we are officers, you can not..."
"Do not finish that sentence Kacey." Kate interrupted. Kacey went to protest. Kate looked at her.
"I am going to check on Mike." She said and left the room.
"Patricia she was prepared for any event today." Anya stated.
"That's right mom. She was a walking arsenal. Between knives, guns, assorted tools and those fancy boots, she have just about every contingency covered. I will have to ask her if those boots are standard issue."
"Regardless of how well prepared you were, sooner or later you will get into a situation where..."
"Patsy, don't." Liam said.
"All right Liam."
"Commander, you are free to go." The nurse stated as she walked into the room. "There is an enforcer in the waiting room waiting to take your statement Commander."
"Thank ye lass. Now if you ladies will be excusing me, I will be getting dressed." He handed Patrick to Natalia who left the room. Anya pushed the carriage out while Patricia stay behind to help him dress.
The doctor had finished with Rhea and was examining Kacey when they came out. She directed Kate and Anya to other beds. Kacey answered questions while the doctor examined her. Once she got the all clear, she jumped off the bed.
"I am going to shower." She stated. I will take Enforcer Adone back to our quarters. Come over when you have finished."
Kacey came out of the shower. She tossed her dirty uniform in the laundry. She hoped they would be able to get the stains out that she accumulated from rolling around on the floor. She did not want to think what was on that floor. She made sure to put her special boots and belt in their special place. She double checked that her supply of guns and knives were all accounted for.
She dressed in sweats and walked into the living room where Liam handed her a brandy. Patrick lay in his bassinette and looked up at her. He smiled when she bend down to pick him up.
"Hey there little buddy."
"Natalia is in the nursery feeding Caitlyn." Patricia stated. "I have invited Enforcer Adone to have dinner with us."
"I hope you accepted Enforcer?"
"Please call me Jarel. I did accept. You mother is very persuasive. Colonel I should question you all separately, but that would waste a lot of time, asking the same questions six times."
"That is understandable. Maybe you can answer a question for me while we wait for the others."
"Call me Kacey." She stated. "Do you know what the servant whispered to Tott that made him rush out."
"We were told that not only the wine but the food was drugged. We had to get you out of there fast so we spread the rumor that there was a riot in one of his factories. Unfortunately we did not know the transport was equipped with a knock out gas."
"Bella said they lost the video feed when you walked into the residence. It returned when you came out." Patricia stated.
"We expected that mom. That is why we all had those trackers injected in us."
"That is how we knew you had been separated. What did Kate mean when she said you were a walking arsenal?"
"The boots, belt and tunic I had on were specially made. Each boot held a small ten shot pistol as well as a spring loaded blade in the toe of the right boot. All I had to do was slam my heal on the floor and the blade popped out. The belt also held two knives. The tunic has a hidden holster for another gun. Before we left I grabbed my tool kit and flashlight which helped us get out of that room."
"I am impressed." Liam stated.
"Dad, I only did the job I have been trained to do and in the process obey the orders I was given."
"Orders? What orders?" Patricia demanded.
"I take that to mean, Kate didn't tell you about them."
"Noooo." She drew out the word. "Perhaps you would like to tell us about them." Her tone told Kacey that she had no choice.
"After out first briefing, I was handed sealed orders by the Joint Chiefs. One of my main functions was to protect Kate. So you may think my actions are at times reckless or crazy, but I assure you, they are not."
"When we return to Earth those idiots are going to get a piece of my mind" Patricia stated angrily. "Kate you knew about these orders?"
"Yes. I had to tell her when we were on the Brin world. Rhea is my back up on this." The door chimed. Kacey looked up at the monitor. "Saved by the bell." She said softly. "Come in." She called out.
Dinner was finished. Bella, Patricia and Natalia took the children and sat in the living room while Jarel questioned the away team.
"We know what happened up to you entering the Premier's residence. So we will start there."
"Once the introductions were over, Tott led us into the dining room where servers poured wine for all of us." Kate started. "Which reminds me, Kacey. How did you know the wine was drugged?"
"We were served from a different carafe as Tott and his ministers. I became suspicious."
"Good call little sister."
"Younger, Kate, but thank you."
"Yes it was an excellent decision, Kacey." Adone stated. "The wine was drugged as well as the food."
"We remember what you told us about how to judge. The servers placed full plates in front of us so we all just nibbled at the food. Those pills you gave us counteracted what ever drugs we did ingest." Kate stated. "Then the servand rushed in, whispered to Tott and we were hustled out to the transport."
"It was different from the one that picked us up." Mike stated.
"The driver was different also." Rhea added.
"The windows darkened as soon as we started." Liam continued. "The gas filled the back compartment."
"We could not open any of the windows to escape the gas. The doors were locked and the windows unbreakable." Anya finished.
"I am not remembering anything else until I woke up in Sick Bay, with me wife besides herself."
"I do not remember anything either." Mike said.
"What happened was Tott and several Limari carried the women out of the transport and took them into the basement or Torsi's pleasure house. They brought the men back to the terminal where they were found. We do not know what went on inside the basement. The video was not very clear."
Kacey spoke first. "I woke up first. It took a few minutes befre I could get my body to obey my brain. I think they were checking our... attributes. All of our tunics were undone. I woke Kate up first then Anya and Rhea. We used the knife in my boot to get free."
"Another question, Kacey." Kate interrupted. "Are those boots standard issue?"
"No the boots, belts and tunics were specially made for Mike and myself."
"We got free, and worked to get out of the basement."
"Seems to me you left quite a bit out Kacey." Anya stated.
Kacey sighed. "That is correct, Jarel. Kacey likes to down play her role. What she has failed to mention is she and Anya lifted Kate up to the window so that she could get a message out. She had guns in each of her boots that she handed to Kate and Anya." Rhea continued the story.
"How were you able to get out of that locked room?" Jarel asked.
"Kacey to the rescue again." Anya stated. "She used the flashlight she had the foresight to bring and looked for the hinges on the door. When she found them she used a tool to remove the pins from the hinges and then pried the door open so we could escape."
"We have you on video once you came out of the room. We have Tott helping to carry you into the basement as well as him chasing and shooting at you. He will be serving a very long prison term." Jarel stated. The citizens of Micari owe you a great debt.
To be continued...
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