"Sir, we’re receiving a message from the Terra Venture Colony," Tim O'Neill said.
It wasn’t uncommon for them to receive a call from a colony. He just had to make sure the commander on duty knew about the call. He could hear an urgency in the caller’s voice. He hoped it wasn't anything serious. Commander Jonathan Ford was on duty at the time, and he looked at Tim.
"Open communication," Jonathan said. After a moment, a woman appeared on the screen. "This is Commander Jonathan Ford of SeaQuest. Is there anything we can help you with?"
"Yes, I’m wondering if you could you help find my daughter," the woman said.
"Ma'am, we are a ship for peace. For a missing person, you should contact UEO Missing Person Department," Jonathan suggested.
"Excuse me, let me introduce myself. I am Queen Selena Victoria Rose Kerr-D'Aquino of the Terra Venture Colony. I must find my daughter immediately. I was told you are the ship that can get this done," Selena explained.
"Ma'am, it's nice to meet you, but we have our orders. We have to be somewhere soon. We are unable to help you find your daughter at this time. We can help you when we get back from our assignment," Jonathan replied. He didn't want to be rude, but to use SeaQuest just to find one person was a waste of their resources.
Lieutenant Keegan Stephenson decided to arrive a bit early for her shift. She had been third in Command for about three years. It was a great promotion. Katie had left to captain her own ship, which had left her position open the captain had given the promotion to Keegan.
Keegan wanted to let Commander Ford go as soon possible. He had just completed a double shift. There was a familiar sense as she got closer to the bridge.
Her attention went immediately to the view screen. Her suspicions were quickly confirmed. She had hoped this day wouldn’t come, but it had. She did a quick sweep of the room to see who was on the bridge,
'Damn,' Keegan thought. He had to be on duty when she had to deal with her family. This wasn't going to be pretty.
"Keegan, is that you?" Selena asked.
Now, all of the bridge staffs' eyes were on her. She knew she couldn't pretend this wasn't happening; if she did, the entire bridge staff would know she was a psychic. If they found out, who knew what would happen to her?
She wasn't ready to feel all the emotions of the bridge crew. The secret she had been hiding from the UEO was about to come out. His eyes were on her. Everyone on the bridge was going to find out she was the princess of the Terra Venture Colony and also the fact that she was a psychic.
Could this day get any worse?
"Yes, mother it's me," Keegan replied, looking at her mother.
"You have gotten stronger, my daughter. I didn't feel your presence until you stepped onto the bridge."
"You know it's time for the Holand ceremony."
"You have to. You have no choice in this matter."
"Mom, I am not going to do the ceremony. I am happy where I am."
"Stop this at once. You will come home to attend the Holand Ceremony. This is not up for discussion. If you do not, I will be forced to fire on SeaQuest," Selena threatened.
Keegan couldn't believe it. After all this time, her mother was still going to get her way, no matter the cost. SeaQuest wasn't far from Terra Venture Colony. Her mother could make sure SeaQuest was damaged enough to be forced to dock at Terra Venture for a long time. SeaQuest being out of commission wasn't an option; she had to save her friends.
The thing was if SeaQuest was stranded at Terra Venture there was no telling what sort of danger everyone would be in. If there ended up stranded there it would be her fault. Right now it was the last thing she wanted to happen to those who she consider her family.
"Mr. O'Neill, have the docking bay prepare a launch. I will be leaving in the next ten to fifteen minutes," Keegan said. Tim looked at Jonathan, who nodded his head slightly. Tim made the arrangement. Selena disappeared off the screen. Jonathan looked over at Keegan. Everyone else still had their eyes on her.
"Do you mind telling us what that was all about?" Jonathan asked Keegan.
"I have to get married," Keegan said as she looked at Jonathan.
Keegan could feel the shock from everyone in the room, especially from him.
Commander Ford pressed the button to reach the captain.
"Captain to the bridge," Jonathan said shakily.
The third in command of SeaQuest was about to get married; he sat down in his seat. This was fast. He knew Keegan didn't know anyone from Terra Venture Colony, so he thought. SeaQuest was her home for close to four years now. No one really knew her well.
Captain Bridger made it to the bridge. Nathan was surprised to see it quiet; one could hear a pin drop in the room.
"Yes, Commander Ford?" Captain Bridger asked. He wondered what news had everyone in shock.
"Lieutenant Commander Stephenson is getting married."
"Who's the lucky man?" Nathan asked. This was the first time he'd heard of the third in command having a love life. He wanted to know if it was anyone aboard SeaQuest.
"Someone from the Terra Venture Colony," Jonathan told him.
Now Nathan was a bit confused. How could that be possible? Keegan had never stepped foot on
Terra Venture Colony, so how could she marry someone from there?
"Captain Bridger, once the bridge crew’s shock wears off you will understand why I am getting married. It’s because I am the princess of Terra Venture Colony," Keegan told him. She knew once the UEO found out everything about her, she would be forced to go back to her home. It was something she didn't want to do.
"Sir, it's true. Her mother demanded she comes, or she would put SeaQuest out of commission," Jim Brody told the captain.
Nathan didn't like that one bit. He needed to talk to the Secretary General about this. One of his officers being made to do something she didn't want to do didn't sit well with him.
Keegan knew exactly what her mother was capable of doing. She didn't want any trouble to come to SeaQuest. Once the UEO find out she was a spyer then she would be discharged from being an officer of the UEO. They were wary of spyer and she was one. Keegan had been able to keep it a secret, but now the secret was out. It was only a matter of time before her career as an officer of the UEO was over. She really hoped she wouldn’t be kick out when this was all over.
"I have to go, sir. Don't worry; I will be back with the ship within three days," Keegan promised, cringing inwardly at the thought of what lay before her.
"I am assigning Lieutenant Brody and Ensign Henderson to be your backup," Nathan told her.
"They are going."
"Sir, I will not put any of my crewmates in any danger," Keegan told Nathan.
"Why would you think they are in danger?" Nathan asked.
"Sir, I know how my people are. They do not take to newcomers so well," Keegan explained.
"Just watch out for them. Lieutenant Brody and Ensign Henderson are going with you, and that's an order."
"Yes, sir," Keegan conceded. She was going to have to shield them both while they were at Terra Venture Colony. This was going to be fun.
She was ready to get this over with. And for some reason, she had the feeling this wasn't just about the Holond ceremony. It was something else she didn't want to have anything to do with Terra Venture Colony anymore. She was happy where she was at, which was on board SeaQuest.
Her mother was ruining what she had accomplished by herself. Now, her mother was bringing her back into her grasp. Well, her mother had a fight on her hands, Keegan vowed. Keegan loved being a sailor; giving it up wouldn't happen without a commotion. With Jim and Lonnie in tow, she headed towards the launch bay.
"Lieutenant, a word, please," Jim said. Keegan looked at him, and she could sense he needed to get something off his chest, so to speak.
"Yes, Lieutenant," Keegan said. She didn't want any unresolved issues between Lonnie or Jim.
Her mother was sure to pick it up and use it against her.
"Why are you so dead-set against Lonnie and I coming with you?" Jim asked.
She expected this question to come up, but not so soon.
"I need you to think about anything and everything that isn't classified."
"Why is that?"
"The reason why is because we are entering a place where everyone is a psychic," Keegan explained.
"I understand that, but why is it you don't want us along? You need the moral support."
"Jim, this isn't something I want. I don't want to marry whoever my mother has picked for me. I made a life far away from the colony, and I want to keep it. I want to marry who I wish to marry, marry for love, not marry some stranger who was chosen for me." Jim just watched her. Lonnie walked past them and headed for the shuttle.
"You two coming?" Lonnie asked as she climbed into the shuttle.
Jim and Keegan exchanged glances. This was going to be a long trip. They followed and got into the shuttle and headed towards Terra Venture. During the ride, no one talked, except for when Keegan told Lonnie to think about anything and everything that wasn't classified once they entered the colony. And of course, Lonnie said she would. Keegan docked with Terra Venture.
Not even five minutes there, and she could feel someone probing them. The probe didn't get far due to the fact she put up a wall around their minds. Hopefully, it wasn't her mother; if it was, then she would have put up more walls around their minds. Keegan considered Jim and Lonnie very good friends. She would let no harm come to either of them, especially to Jim, not while they were there.
Once they were docked, the shuttle door opened. Her mother was accompanied by two guards.
Her mother saw they were in their SeaQuest uniforms.
"Hello, Keegan. So, who are your helpers?" Selena asked.
"They are my crewmates and my friends. I am letting you know right now that if anything happens to either of them, I will hold you personally responsible for it" Keegan told her mother.
"Keegan dear, I assure you no harm will come to them," Selena told her daughter.
Keegan gave her a look. Then, she turned to Jim and Lonnie. "Lieutenant Commander James Brody and Ensign Lenore Henderson, meet my mother, Queen Selena Victoria Rose Kerr-D'Aquino," Keegan said as she saw her mother extend her hand to shake theirs.
"Nice to meet you, ma'am," Lonnie said, as she shook Selena's hand. After a second, Selena gave her daughter a look.
"I warned them beforehand," Keegan said simply.
Jim gave her a questionable look.
"She tried to probe Lonnie when she shook her hand."
Lonnie, at hearing this, let go of Selena’s hand and let her hand fall to her side.
"I mean no offense, but I'm skip shaking your hand," Jim told Selena.
He was glad Keegan gave them a heads-up beforehand. Now, he wondered what other ways her mother would try to get into their heads.
"I understand. I do not mean to pry; I just want to make sure my daughter isn't in any danger."
"Mother, I am not in any danger. SeaQuest has been my home for four years now. I want to keep it that way."
"No daughter of mine will live on a vessel."
"It's not your decision, Mother."
"Once you have completed the Holand ceremony, you will have no choice but to stay here."
"You can't do that," Lonnie interjected.
"We will see. Once the Holand ceremony is over, she will be free to go. It will be her decision."
"I think we might need to calm down. If you wouldn't mind showing us to our quarters, we can get settled in," Jim requested and stepped in between Selena and Keegan.
It took a few moments for the two women to stop glaring at one another.
"Yes, you are right," Selena finally said as she waved to of her guards. "Please show them to their quarters."
One of the guards nodded. Jim, Keegan, and Lonnie followed him. A few minutes passed until they reached the door.
"These are the guest quarters," the guard stated as he pointed to the rooms Jim and Lonnie would be in for the duration of their stay in Terra Venture. "The Princess' quarter are across the way."
Keegan gave the guard a look. "Tell my mother Lieutenant Commander Brody and Ensign Henderson will stay in the guest quarters in my room."
"Sorry, but you no longer have those guest quarters," the guard replied.
"What is your name?" Keegan asked.
The guard seemed surprised when she asked. "Teddy Lockwood, ma'am."
"Mr. Lockwood, please inform my mother that I will be staying in the guest quarters along with Lieutenant Brody and Ensign Henderson."
"Yes, ma'am," Teddy said as he gave her a salute and then left them alone.
"Keegan, we’ll be fine here," Jim assured her.
"There isn't anything that would hurt us," Lonnie added.
"Don't be too sure about that. Plus, the captain ordered me to take care of you two. That's what
I’m going to do."
"Okay," Lonnie answered. She wanted to explore Terra Venture. "Do you think we could explore a bit?" Lonnie asked.
"I don't see why not," Jim said, looking at Keegan. "Is that okay with you?"
"Sure, I have no problem with that," Keegan replied.
She felt something pull at the back of her mind but ignored it for the moment. She had to keep Lonnie and Jim safe. They took a few minutes to settle into their quarters. Then, they started to explore.
Keegan wanted to figure out what her mother's real intention was. The feeling was stronger now. She knew if she ignored it much longer that she would have a headache.
There was a corridor which was an illuminant light green.
"Let's see what's down this corridor," Lonnie said as she headed the way Keegan wanted to go.
It was a few minutes before they got to a door with a lock on it.
"Guess we can't go any further though." The disappointment in Lonnie's voice was evident.
However, Keegan went over to the lock and put her hand on it. The lock scanned her hand. A moment later, the door opened with a hiss.
"Guess we can go see what’s in here after all," Keegan confirmed, as Lonnie and Jim looked at her.
She went in first, then Jim and Lonnie followed her. They were stunned by what they saw.
"Those are cryogenic pods," Lonnie observed in awe.
They heard footsteps quickening after a moment. They saw an elderly man appear from around the corner.
"You don't have authority to be here. How did you get in?" the elderly man asked.
"I used my hand print," Keegan replied. The elderly man looked at her closely.
Keegan looked over at Jim he had an eyebrow raised, then he mouthed Kiki.
"Yes, it's the nickname only a few people can call me,” Keegan told him as she turned her attention back to the elderly man. “Yes, Shawn, it's me."
"I take it you're here to take over the project."
"What project? I just got here. My mother wanted me here for the Holand Ceremony."
"So you still have no idea what is going on?"
"No, I don't. Why do we have cryogenic pods here?"
"We’ve made a few more advancements than the world has. So we have an arrangement with Earth Alliance. We house all these pods and we help those who we have cured."
"Okay, so what’s wrong right now?"
"Well some of our pods are failing and we can't find the problem. We think it has something to do with the engine."
"So, you need an engineer?"
"Yes, we do."
"Well, Lonnie here is an engineer."
There was a beeping noise.
Shawn looked at him.
"Excuse me," Shawn said as he headed towards the noise.
Keegan, Lonnie, and Jim followed him. They saw Shawn get scanned. Once that was done he was able to go into the next room. Jim got to the area first and waited to be scanned. When the scan was done a glass door blocked Jim’s way. He stepped back.
"What's that?" Jim asked curiously.
"Let me try," Lonnie said. She stepped forward and she was scanned. The door disappeared and Lonnie followed Shawn.
"What the problem?"
"I’m not sure but if you can help, go ahead," Shawn said as he moved out of her way. Lonnie went in and she started to work on the problem.
Keegan moved to where Lonnie had been standing. The scan started and took a longer time to scan her. After she was scanned the door opened halfway She ducked underneath.
"Jim, come on,"
Jim followed her, then went over to where Sean and Lonnie were at.
"I think I can fix the problem temporarily. I need to see the whole system to figure out exactly how I can fix it," Lonnie said. Then she looked behind her.
"Jim, how did you get past the checkpoint?" Lonnie asked.
"Keegan got scanned and then the glass went down halfway. She went through and told me to come as well, so I did."
"Why is that thing there?" Keegan asked Shawn.
"It's there to keep high ranking people from entering. We’re not sure who in the cryogenic pods are psychic. We don't want any classified information falling into the wrong hands."
"Lonnie, will the system be okay?"
Lonnie looked over the system. As far as she could tell, her patch job would hold until they figure out what the real problem was.
"The system is okay for now, but we need to figure out what the real problem is to get it fixed."
"It’s close to dinner time. Why don't you guys change into something more comfortable and meet us in the dining area." Shawn told them as he gave Keegan a look which she knew all too well.
"No, I am not going to be wearing any of my home clothes. I feel more comfortable in what I packed."
"No. Shawn, this isn't up for discussion."
“You know your mother isn't going to like this."
"I know," Keegan sighed.
There was no getting out of it. She wasn't about to let her mother tell her what to do. She was old enough to make her own decisions. Shawn made his way to the exit. Keegan, Jim, and Lonnie followed him. They parted way at the entrance of the room.
It didn't take them long to get ready for dinner. They headed to the dining area. Once they were shown to their seat the dinner began.
"This place is great. Why did you leave here? It seems so nice."
"You've met my mother."
"Yes. She’s nice."
"Just wait a little longer. She’ll show her true colors soon enough," Keegan told them.
A bell rang.
Everyone looked up at the front. Keegan knew something was up. Her mother looked straight at her. The look wasn't a happy one. It was only for a second and then her mother put on her happy
"My people, let us rejoice, for my daughter has returned to us. I am proud to say that after the
Holand ceremony, hopefully, my daughter will agree to stay and make our community complete," Selena said as the door opened a few feet from her. Then someone stepped through the door.
"Casey," Keegan whispered. Jim and Lonnie looked at her.
Casey looked right at her and walked over to their table.
"May I sit with you, my lady?" Casey asked, looking at Keegan. She said nothing and nodded.
Casey sat down next to Keegan and Lonnie. Jim could see the stunned expression on Keegan’s face. Something didn't feel right, he just couldn't place it. He had a feeling he was going to have to protect Keegan while they were here. He felt a change in Keegan and he wasn't liking it.
"So, Keegan, where have you been since you left?" Casey asked her.
"I left and started over. Outside of here, I am known as Keegan Melinda Stephenson. I have my own life and I am happy. My mother threatened my friends, and that is the only reason I am here," Keegan informed him.
"She wasn't going to harm them."
"You don't know my mother."
"Yes, I do."
"Why are you so bent on agreeing with her?" Keegan asked.
"Why are you so bent on fighting against her? You know for the Holand ceremony we are to be joined together." Casey said.
Keegan had to admit that before she left, she had wanted to be joined with Casey, but now she didn't want to. Her life at Terra Venture was no longer a part of her. She left it behind when she left that day.
"I am not fighting against her. I just don't want my life to be set in stone. I left so I could make my own decisions." Keegan told him.
Jim and Lonnie kept quiet and just watched what was going on between those two. Jim could feel Keegan was frustrated and wanted to drop the subject, but Casey wanted to keep talking about it.
"So Casey, how long have you known Keegan?" Jim asked as he tried to get the conversation going in a different direction.
Casey looked at Jim. Jim felt Casey probing his mind, but all he got was the image of cars, baseball games, and books he had read. Casey looked over at Keegan.
"What?" Keegan asked.
"He's blocking my probe," Casey told her.
"I warned them before we got here," Keegan said, as she felt jealousy which came from Casey.
"You will be linked to me at the end of this, so why not just accept it and let us move on with our lives?"
"I told you, I will not have my life set in stone," Keegan said.
"You're mine," Casey said, as he attacked her mind with his.
Jim didn't want Keegan to be hurt, so he uses his mind to create a shield around Keegan before Casey could hurt her. Casey threw everything he had at her, but he didn't see her flinch at all. It was a few moments before he gave up. There was something different about her, He couldn't figure it out, but he would. Casey saw Selena waved at him.
"I have to go."
Casey got up and walked over to Selena and they started to talk amongst themselves.
"I hope you guys don't mind, but I am going to get some sleep," Jim said. Lonnie looked over at
"Jim you don't look so good," Lonnie said as she reaches to feel his forehead, but Jim pulled away.
"I'm fine. I’m just tired. I'll catch up with you two later on."
Jim knew Keegan was worried about what her mother and Casey were up to. He was going to make sure nothing happened to Keegan or Lonnie. His head started to hurt. Casey was powerful and he wasn’t sure how he’d lasted an attack like that. He was surprised he was still awake.
"I am heading back with Jim," Lonnie told Keegan. Keegan’s attention was now directed at her friends. She looked at Jim, He didn't look too good.
"We will all go back. We can get food later when we’re hungry," Keegan said.
"Keegan, stay," Jim said.
"No, I am not going to stay when you aren't feeling well," Keegan said.
"Keegan, this is your coming home party. You have to stay. Don't worry, I will stay with Jim."
Lonnie assured her. Keegan was about to protest.
"Keegan, I am fine really. I just needed to get some sleep," Jim lied.
He knew he needed more than that. In his free time, he read about many things, and psychic abilities were one of them. He felt compelled to read about them. He was glad he had. He knew as much as what was on the web, books, and magazine. Right now he needed to rest. Keegan could tell Jim wasn't telling her the truth, but she wasn't going to press him for a reason.
"Okay. I will be there as soon as I can," Keegan said, as she watched them leave.
The bell rang again.
"Keegan please come to my side," Selena said to her daughter. Keegan got up and approached her mother.
"My daughter there is a lot we must go over. There isn't a lot of time to go over it all. So I am going to do a psychic link with you," Selena told her daughter.
Keegan knew about this. She knew her mother was going to try and get information out of her while they were connected. Before she could do anything, her mother linked with her. There was a lot of information being put into her mind.
There was only one thing that came to the forefront of all the information being dumped into her.
Her mother was dying.
The information was put into her mind within a couple of minutes. She knew she would have to go and rest so all the information she had been given could be digested. It was then she realized that her mother was only able to put things into her mind. It was a good thing; Keegan hated when her mother pried into her life. She knew her mother loved her, but she wasn't going to be controlled by anyone, either.
The room was silent. No one had made a sound; she had a feeling it was due to the fact that they didn't want anything going wrong with this transfer. In a matter of moments, the transfer was complete.
"Mom, why didn't you tell me?"
"It wasn't important."
"If you had told me earlier, I would have been here sooner," Keegan admitted.
"You had your life and I didn't want to get in the way of that," Selena told her daughter.
Keegan felt bad; her mother only had less than a month to live, and if she didn't take over as queen then Terra Venture would be in chaos and that wasn't something either of them wanted right now.
"So, this was your way to bring me back and keep me here?" Keegan asked. It hurt her; her mother had kept this from her.
"It wasn't my intention. I knew a long time ago. You are more like me than I care to admit. I wanted to live my own life, but my mother got me to stay. It is up to you to decide what you are going to do now."
Selena leaned on Casey for support.
"I have to take your mother to lie down," Casey told her before leading her mother away.
Keegan sat down. This was a lot of information to process right now. Everyone had cleared out of the room. It was nice to be alone. Keegan didn't hear anyone enter, but then a young woman sat next to her.
"Are you okay?" the young woman asked.
"Yes, I will be fine. Just need to sort everything out," Keegan replied.
"Do you want me to leave?"
"No, you can stay," Keegan said as she looked at the young woman. "Do I know you?"
"I don't think so; I just recently came from the cryogenic pods."
"What's your name?" "Allison."
"That's a nice name. What's your last name, if you don't mind me asking?" Keegan asked.
Keegan froze for a millisecond.
"Do you have a son, by chance?" Keegan asked as she felt a connection with this young woman, a connection she could not explain at the time.
"Yes, Queen Selena is going to help me find my son," Allison told Keegan.
"That's good. So how old would your son be now?"
She had hoped the question wasn't too personal for her to answer. Keegan wanted to help Allison find her son. Allison looked at Keegan; she, too, felt a connection, but she wasn't sure what it was.
"He would be twenty-seven."
"Wow, that's young."
"I know; if you don't mind me asking, how old are you?"
"I am twenty-four."
"You definitely don't lo-" Allison started, but stopped mid-sentence and held her head.
"My little man is in trouble."
"How do you know?"
"I just know these things."
"What is your son's name?"
"James, but he goes by Jim," Allison replied.
Keegan froze. Jim. She’d almost forgotten about him. She knew he’d gone back to the room, and she knew he didn't feel well. Now she was going to find out exactly what was wrong with him.
Keegan left her room and went to Jim's quarters. She knocked on the door; she didn't know if Allison had followed her or not. Right now, she needed to know how Jim was.
Lonnie had helped Jim back to the room; she could tell he was in pain. She got Jim settled into bed, then she went over and looked for some medicine to help with his pain. She found some pain reliever in the first aid kit and gave it to Jim, who took it without any fuss.
That wasn't like Jim; he would be stubborn and had to be in extreme pain before he took any medication. After she knew Jim was comfortable in bed, Lonnie went to her room to get a book to read. Lonnie headed back and started to read. Before she knew it, her eyes closed and she was asleep.
They had gathered in the room where they had the welcoming back party for Keegan. They were all sitting down, waiting for the queen to make an announcement. Keegan stood by her mother.
A movement caught her eye.
There were four fire blasts. Each one hit its mark. Jim watched as Keegan's mother, Casey, a woman whom he didn't know, but felt a connection to, and Keegan fell to the ground, dead. He jumped up and moved to Keegan's side.
This couldn't be happening. He saw he couldn't do anything for them, so he went after the guy who had shot them. Jim had him cornered in a matter of minutes. His head hurt, but he ignored the pain. He wanted to kill the person who killed the woman he loved. Without any notice, Jim felt himself being squeezed to death.
When Keegan realized Jim wasn't going to answer the door, she used her key to get into his room. Jim was in bed, and his facial expression told her he was in distress. She wasn't sure how she could help. She went over and put her hand on his forehead. He was warm. She saw him curled up into a ball and holding his head. Keegan felt herself being pulled into his mind. It felt like an eternity, but it was only moments.
Jim looked at Keegan,
"What are you doing here?"
"I am here to help. Why is your mind so tight?"
"I am not sure."
"Does this have anything to do with why you got sick earlier today?"
"Maybe, not sure."
"What did you do to get this started?"
"Nothing, really," Jim told her. She could tell he didn't want to admit to anything.
"Jim, I know you are in pain. A young woman by the name of Allison alerted me to you not being well."
"My mother?" Jim asked.
"Yes, she is here and wants to see you. So tell me how this happened so I can help you; then you can see your mother,"
Jim stood there for a second.
"I put up a shield around you when Casey was at dinner. He had attacked your mind and the shield was meant to protect you."
It took a second for her to realize what Jim had told her. She wasn't sure what she had expected. Keegan knew Casey would have stopped at nothing to have her.
Jim was her knight in shining armor. He had protected her. It meant he did care for her. She wasn't sure how much he cared for her, though. She wanted to ask, but she needed to get him better first.
"Take my hand and the pain will go away," Keegan told him.
Jim did as he was told. He had never been in this much pain before, and he wanted it to end. The pain eased as soon as his hand was in hers. It was a good thing he decided to come. Or, at least he was glad Captain Bridger assigned him to protect her.
The one thing he wasn't going to let happen was the dream he just had. Two people he loved had died, and he wasn't going to let it happen for real. The pain was almost gone. Keegan had decided to put her cards on the table before it got crazy dealing with everyone and everything else.
"Jim, can I ask you a serious question?" Keegan asked.
"Do you care for me as more than a friend?" she asked. If he said yes, then she would put all her cards down. If he said no, then she would keep quiet and let go of her feelings for him.
"Yes, I do," Jim replied without missing a beat.
Keegan let out a breath, which she didn't know she had been holding. Now, she was going to tell him.
"Good, because I like you as more than a friend too. I just didn't want it to interfere with our work lives. I wasn't sure if you felt the same way I do."
"I am glad you do. So, what's the next step? Are we going to make it official, or do you want to wait awhile?" Jim asked.
"We can make it official if you want."
"I do want it to be official. You know I am not going to let any harm come to you while you're here, right?"
"Yes, I do know that."
Keegan and Jim looked down at their hands. They felt a tingling sensation, but they thought nothing of it. The pain was completely gone.
"Are you ready to see your mother?"
Then their vision faded to black.
Allison could tell there was something different with her son. She could feel a slight change around him. She hoped it was for the better rather than for the worse.
She had gone into cryogenic sleep until they could find the cure for the P-Core String virus, and she hadn’t been sure if she would be able to see her son before he got old and passed away. Now she had hoped to get to know her son better. It seemed he had grown to be a wonderful young man. It was going to be great to get to know him.
She could sense that they were about to wake up. She wasn't sure how they would come out of it, so she moved to the doorway just in case something happened and she needed to get help.
Keegan's eyes opened slowly. She looked at Jim whose eyes opened slowly as well.
"Hi," Keegan said softly.
"I’m okay. Where's my mom?" Jim asked as he sat up.
"Right here," Allison said from the doorway.
Jim looked over at the door to see his mother standing there.
Jim sat up shakily. Keegan grabbed him and steady him.
"Wow, that's a bit of a stretch."
"What's wrong?" Allison asked as she moved to their side.
"Jim has just been healed and he needs to give his body time to adjust," Keegan said.
Allison looked at her son.
"Are you okay," Allison asked.
"Yeah, just give me a second," Jim said as he took a few deep breaths.
Once he got his breath, he moved slowly. He now had his legs over the side.
"So how are you, mom?"
"I’m okay, just been wondering how my little man is doing?"
"I can say I am good, now," Jim said as he took Keegan’s hand in his. Keegan squeezed his hand. He squeezed it back.
Allison smiled at her son. It was good to see him happy. She wasn't sure about what she was going to do now that she had she found her son, so now what was she going to do with her life. She wasn't sure how long she had been under. If his age was twenty-seven then she would have been under for twenty-four years. She had to admit that was a long time.
"Where’s Lonnie at?" Jim asked.
Keegan let go of Jim’s hand and went to check in Lonnie's quarters Keegan saw she was sound asleep in bed. She went back to Jim and Allison.
"She helped me to the room and made sure I was okay before she went and got some sleep." Allison and Keegan sat by Jim. Keegan was about to say something when she felt a familiar presence near the door.
"Mom, it’s okay, you can come in," Keegan said as she watched Jim and Allison’s reaction.
There was a bit of surprise on their faces. "I can sense if other spyers are around."
Selena had a smile as she appeared.
"My daughter, you are really dedicated to being a member of SeaQuest."
"Yes, if any one of them are in trouble, I will help them to my best of my ability. That is the only reason why I came, to protect them."
"I am sorry; I was wrong to threaten them and force you here. You really should be resting. If you don't, you'll hurt yourself. You got a large bit of information and you have to let it digest," Selena told her daughter.
Jim looked at Keegan. Keegan looked at him.
"Don't worry I will rest in a bit," Keegan assured him. Jim wasn't so sure she would.
"Mom, please you know I love you, but my place isn't here. My place is on board SeaQuest."
"I see that now, we can find somehow to make this work, while you are still on SeaQuest."
"I guess that would be a good thing." Keegan said, as she stiffened a yawn.
"Keegan you need to rest now." Jim said.
"I am fine Jim."
"Keegan, honey you know his right."
"Mom, I am fine."
"Kiki, please." Jim softly said.
Keegan looked at him. She decided it might be good to get some rest now.
"Jim, honey, I think you need to rest as well." Allison told her son. Jim looked at her mother. He
knew that she was right.
"All right." Jim said.
"I think it's best if we leave them alone to rest." Allison said. Selena nodded her head in agreement. Both Allison and Selena left but not before kissing their child on the top of their head.
Now they were alone. Jim got back into bed, his back resting against the wall of the bed. Keegan sat beside him.
"How are you feeling?" Jim asked.
Keegan knew he cared for her and he wanted to make sure she was okay. She didn't want to lie to him.
"I am feeling a bit tired."
"Why don't you get comfortable, you need to rest," Jim told her.
Keegan scooted down. She had her head on his lap. Jim stroked Keegan’s hair, he hoped it would get her relaxed enough to go to sleep.
It was a few minutes before Jim heard Keegan breathing at a soft, steady rhythm. He knew she was asleep. He closed his eyes and let the darkness take him.
Allison looked over at Selena. She couldn't tell the Queen was sick. Selena held her composure very well.
"Thank you for helping me find my son," Allison said.
Selena looked at her and gave her a smile.
"I am glad that I could help, but really it's my daughter who found him by accident for you."
"I guess I’m going to have to go and figure out what my next move is. I got my little man back, so I’m not sure where we’re going to go from there."
"Don't worry, you will figure it out. If you will excuse me, I am going to go and get some more rest," Selena said to Allison.
"Have a good rest," Allison said.
She watched the Queen retire to her quarters.
“It shouldn’t be much longer until the queen dies,” a voice said as he looked at his leader. “But what about her daughter?”
“Leave her to me. She will be mine in the end.” Casey told them.
Casey watched as the man left the room. He had used a mental attack against Keegan that should have knocked her out at the Holand ceremony, but nothing had happened when he did it. There was something wrong and he was going to find out what was going on. Right now he needed his rest. He knew if his emotions ran wild then all his planning was for nothing.
Casey looked over the papers in his hand. They were documents for the palace. He was going to take over Terra Venture after the Queen died and he bonded to Keegan. Things were going according to his plans. He would soon have everything he wanted.
Once he finished reading the papers he put them in a drawer and locked it; he stood up and left the room. It took a few minutes to get to his room and get ready for bed.
Selena knew her time was near and she probably wouldn’t live to see tomorrow. This was her last night on earth. She was glad she had reconciled with her daughter. It would be hard for Keegan after her death, and it was good she had someone to take care of her after she died. Selena had set up something in case something like this happened. Everything would be handed over to her as soon as she passed.
Her time was near. She had a feeling she had been poisoned, but she would never know who had done it. Keegan would find out who killed her and bring them to justice. Things she wanted to do were no longer an option for her. Selena did hope her daughter ended up happy in her life.
The thing was she wanted to make sure she at least saw her daughter bond with the person she was going to spend the rest of her life with, She had gotten her wish. Keegan on the other hand hadn’t realized that she had bonded with Jim Brody, or at least she couldn’t tell if her daughter knew or not.
In Keegan’s Mind
Sand beneath her feet. Keegan knew she needed time to rest and this was the place to do it at.
Her mind was at ease and there were nothing to bother her. There was a present next to her. Keegan knew exactly who it was from. This day was going to come sooner or later, she hoped it was later rather than sooner.
Keegan looked at her mother.
“You have to go?” Keegan asked.
“Yes, my dear. I wanted to say good-bye to you before I let go,” Selena told her daughter with a smile on her face.
“My dear, know that I love you and I always will. You are in good hands. Jim Brody is a good man. I am glad you’re happy. Please be careful, my death is not natural.”
“What are you saying, someone is trying to take the throne from you?”
“Yes, my dear, but since I am no longer there, they’re going after you. Please, my dear, watch out. I don’t want you to have the same fate as me.”
“Thank you for the warning, mom. I will be careful.”
“I have to go now.”
“Can you stay a little longer?”
“My dear, I have to go,” Selena said, seeing the sadness in her eyes. “I can stay for a little while, but I can stay for a little while longer.”
Keegan smiled at her mother. Feeling really tired, she leaned against her mother and closed her eyes. She wanted to keep her eyes open, but she couldn’t. Her times with her mother was precious and she didn’t want to waste a moment.
Keegan opened her eyes. A few tears escaped. Keegan knew her mother had passed away. Keegan’s rightful place was at Terra Venture. She had a decision to make and it wasn’t going. It would mean leaving SeaQuest and Jim.
Keegan didn’t want to leave them, but she wasn’t really left with a choice. Her people needed her now and if she didn’t stay then whoever wanted to take over they would be able to do just that. Her mother had left her a gift and now she was going to fulfill her duties to her people.
“Is everything okay?” Jim asked her, as he hugged her a little tighter.
“No, my mother passed away. I am now the queen of Terra Venture. My mother also warned me about someone who is trying to take over. I need to make sure I root out this person before anything else.”
“I am sorry to hear that. Is there anything I can do for you?”
“You’re doing it right now. Just by being with me you are taking care of me.” Keegan said, squeezing his hand a little tighter. It was a few moments before they sat up.
“I am going to stay until everything gets fired out with you,” Jim told her.
“Jim, you can’t put your life on hold because of me,” Keegan told him.
“I’m not. The captain ordered me to watch over you and that’s exactly what’s going to happen.”
“Once things are resolved, you and Lieutenant Henderson are heading back to SeaQuest.”
“Are you coming back with us?” Jim asked her, studying her face closely.
“No, I’m not. My people need me here. I have to stay.”
“What about SeaQuest?”
“I have a duty to my people. I must take care of them first. I know I wasn’t thrilled with coming here , but with the information my mother gave to me I must stay with my people.”
Jim was still. He knew there wasn’t anything he could do to change her mind once it was made up. He knew that. Jim knew it was going to be hard, but he was in love with her and wanted her to be happy. Maybe he could stay with her and get to know more about her people. He was going to do that. He knew it would be hard at first, but it would be easier as time gone on.
“Jim, you belong on SeaQuest. If you stay, you’ll be miserable. I do not want that for you, so when this is over, you and Lonnie are going back to SeaQuest without me.” Keegan told him.
“I’m not happy about it, but okay. It’s going to be interesting not having you on seaQuest anymore. Don’t worry, I’ll handle all the paperwork and explanations.”
“Don’t worry everything will be fine,” Jim said.
He just hoped it was true. Keegan and he had finally told each other their feeling only to be torn apart by a situation not under their control.
“I better go and change,” Jim said as he stood up.
He gave her a kiss before he left.
Lonnie looked up to see Jim entering the room. There was something different about him she didn’t know what it was, but she could tell it was good change.
“Hey, Lonnie, did you have a good night?” Jim asked.
“Yes, I did. I had the chance to catch up on a book I have been wanting to read.”
“So what’s on the agenda today?”
“I think we’re going to be going to a funeral today. Keegan mother passed away earlier.”
“How is she holding up?”
“She’s okay, but I think she just need to digest everything. A lot has happened since we arrived.” Jim said.
He went over and took out a change of clothes. Jim headed towards the bathroom. Lonnie, who had, already changed went over to the food dispenser in their room and ordered breakfast.
“Princess Kerr-D'Aquino , I am sorry to inform you…”
“My mother passed away in the night. I am now the Queen of Terra Venture.”
“That’s correct. What are your orders, ma’am.”
“Prepare my mother for the Guardenaon Ceremony.” Keegan told him.
Teddy Lockwood looked over at her and nodded. Keegan waved her hand to excuse him. He left the room to make the preparation.
There was a knock on the door.
“Come in,” Keegan said.
The opened to reveal Casey.
“I just heard the news. My condolences, my queen,” Casey said, as he moved to her side.
“Thank you. The preparation for the Guardenaon ceremony is underway.”
“Are you sure you’re okay, my dear?”
“Yes, I’m fine. How are you holding up?”
“I’m fine. I am more concerned about you then me.”
“You need not worry about me. As you can see, I am doing fine.”
“I see that. Now, dear I don’t mean to worry you but you need to be bonded before you take the throne.”
“No, I don’t. My mother updated the rules of the colony.”
“Did she now...”
“Yes, Not everything has to be run past you,” Keegan said.
“I know that.”
“If you’ll excuse me, I need to get ready for the ceremony.”
Casey left the room Keegan started to get ready for the ceremony.
It didn’t take her long for her to get ready. Keegan knew that was ahead wouldn’t be easy or fun, but it was something she had to do. It meant being away from the man she loved. It wasn’t what she wanted, but she needed to take care of her people first before she even thought about her happiness.
There was a knock on the door.
The door opened to reveal Teddy.
Keegan nodded then she followed him to the room where the proceeding was held whenever anyone from Terra Venture died. She moved towards the front of the room, but not before catching Jim’s gaze. She could feel the support from him.
Keegan made her way up to the front. Once there, she turned to look at her people.
“My people, this is indeed a sad day for us. My mother’s passing isn’t one we wanted to see, but it did happen. Now we must move forward. I will be staying here and getting everything in order for the ritual for the ceremony. Afterwards, I will be meeting with the council to discuss the direction Terra Venture will be going.”
Through the link with Jim, she felt sadness. Keegan hadn’t had time to discuss this with Jim, but she could tell he knew it was what must be done. There wasn’t any anger towards her. It was good. Keegan knew she was lucky when she had met Jim. Now she couldn’t see a life without him. She knew he would protect her and he knew she would protect him.
The room filled with whispers. Most of the colonists knew she had been raised here, but had decided to leave. Now they were debating whether or not she was the person to fill her mother shoes.
She knew she could do the job and do it well. All she needed now was to convince her people. It wasn’t going to be easy, but she would earn her people’s trust. The future was unknown to her, and she just hoped everything would turn out well in the end.
Lonnie and Jim looked at Keegan.
“So, she’s not going back to SeaQuest with us, is she?” Lonnie asked in a whisper.
“No, her people need her. I’ll make the arrangements after I talk to her and see if she decides to use her leave time right now,” Jim told her.
“I hope she does. I don’t want to lose a shipmate so soon after a mission.”
“Neither do I.”
Music started to play. Everyone in the room quieted down. It was then Keegan started to dance.
Everyone’s eyes were on her.
The emotions emitted from Keegan were strong. Jim realized he was crying. He looked at Lonnie and saw that she wasn’t crying. He wondered if it was just him. Jim’s eyes moved across the room to see there were a few people who crying.
It was then that a movement across the room caught his eyes. It was Casey, who made his way towards Keegan. From where Jim stood, he could see that Casey’s hand was in his jacket.
Jim slowly made his way towards Casey and matched his pace. He wasn’t going to let Casey hurt Keegan at all, not while he was alive. It wasn’t long until he caught up with Casey. Jim put his hand on Casey’s arm and discovered that Casey had a gun.
Casey looked at him.
“Let me go,” Casey said in a low, dangerous voice.
“No, you are not going to hurt her.”
“This is none of your concern. She will be bonded to me at day's end. There is nothing you can do to stop that,” Casey said in a matter of fact voice.
“She not your property.”
“Keegan will be mine. I am the one she would be bonded to and will be the only one in her life,” Casey said.
“Casey, you can’t treat people like property. Everyone is their own person and they have free will,” Jim said.
Jim hoped Casey wouldn’t cause a ruckus. He had to get Casey out of the room so he wouldn’t ruin Keegan’s dance in honor of her mother. Jim turned and dragged him away as fast as he could. He was glad when Casey just followed him without making a scene. As soon as they were out of the room, Casey turned to Jim.
“Let me go, you peasant. I am royalty and you will keep your hands off of me or you will be thrown somewhere where no one will find your body,” Casey told him. Casey stood right in front of Jim. Their faces were only inches apart.
“I am not a peasant. You will not do anything to me because I won’t let you. As for Keegan…” Jim stepped back. He wasn’t going to let this situation get out of hand. This wasn’t what Keegan needed. “She’s her own person and it’s up to her what she wants to do. It’s not up to you.”
Casey realized Jim wasn’t going to give him what he wanted. He wasn’t going to let him go that easily. Casey would rule Terra Venture if it was the last thing he did.
“We’ll see,” Casey said.
Casey turned and walked away. He was formulating a plan to get rid of Jim as well as get what he wanted.
Jim watched as Casey walked away. He made sure Casey was gone before he turned to go back into the room. He was by Lonnie’s side after a few moments before re-entering the room.
“Everything okay, Jim?” Lonnie asked him.
“Yes, everything’s fine. I just had to deal with something. It’s been dealt with,” Jim stated as he looked at Keegan, who was still dancing. “She’s still at it?”
“Yes, I’m not sure how long this goes on for. I’m not familiar with their culture.I am sure it’s not going to last much longer,” Jim said as the music started to fade. Then the music was gone and the room was silent.
Everyone looked at the front of the room.
“It’s now time for everyone to pay their respects to the former queen and to the new queen. After you pay your respect you may go back to whatever you were doing.” Keegan said as everyone formed a line. The line moved at a decent pace so it only took about an hour for everyone to pay their respects to to the former Queen and to their new Queen.
Casey was the last one. Jim watched him. Nothing really happened except he leaned over and whispered something into the former Queen’s ears before he straightened and made his way to Keegan.
“My Queen,” Casey said as he held out his hand to shake Keegan’s hand. Keegan took his hand.
It was then that Jim felt Casey mentally attack her. Keegan screamed out in pain and fell to the floor. Casey let out a yell and fell to the ground also.
“You bitch, you’ve already bonded to someone. Who is he?”
Jim helped Keegan up and hugged her tightly. He wasn’t about to let Casey near her. Since he had been here Casey had attempted to kill her three time. Jim had to figure out a way to deal with Casey so he wouldn’t be trying to kill Keegan every chance he got.
“That’s none of your business.”
“You belong to me. I meant what I said. You will be bonded to me in the end. It’s inevitable.”
“Casey, what happened to you? You are not the man I knew when we were younger…”
“I am, you just didn’t want to see it.”
“No, I guess not….not anymore. Guards,”
It wasn’t even half a minute before the guards were in the room.
“Yes, my queen.”
“Please put Casey in the brig,” Keegan said as she tighten her arms around Jim’s waist. The guard nodded at her as a second guard came into the room to help escort Casey to the brig. Casey held his hands up in surrender and then let himself be led off to the brig.
Jim made sure Casey was gone before he gave his full attention to Keegan.
“Are you okay?” Jim asked her.
“Yes, I am. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. I have to ask. Do you want to use your leave time to deal with this or are you planning to leave SeaQuest?”
Keegan looked up at Jim.
“I am going to use my leave time. I am not planning to leave my family on SeaQuest,” Keegan told him with a smile.
“I’ll make the arrangements to use your leave time. I’m sure you’re not going to be coming back with us when we leave,” Jim said.
“Thank you,” Keegan said, as she looked over at Lonnie.
“I am going to miss you,” Lonnie said.
“I am going to miss you guys as well.”
Then they saw Allison at the door.
“Mom,” Jim said.
“I’m wondering if you can stay for a little while. I would love to catch up and spend time with you. Is that a possibility?” Allison asked quietly.
Jim looked over at Keegan who just gave him a nod.
“I’ll have to let the captain know,” Jim said.
“I’m glad you’re here,” Allison said, as she moved over to them.
Life was going to get more interesting for Keegan, but she was up for whatever life could throw at her. She had found happiness and she planned on hold on to it for as long as possible.