Disclaimer: See part 1
Kasey waited as Alex pulled up another chair and they both settled in front of the video screen in Alex's office. Kasey had been released from the hospital just two days ago. She was feeling much better, but because the after effects of the abdominal surgery, was still having a little trouble navigating stairs. She would have preferred to be in her own office, but climbing two flights of stairs to get to the attic was currently inconceivable.
It had been a week since the shooting and almost that long since she'd touched anything more electronic than the television remote. Insisting that she rest, Alex had even denied her access to her phone, so she hadn't even been able to check her e-mail. That had been a contention point between them, but one that Kasey had conceded on, mostly because she didn't have any other choice, but also because Alex made up for it by lavishing her with extra attention.
Glad to once again be touching a keyboard, Kasey signed on to the PLUTO network, securing a channel, before dialing into Amazon Headquarters.
"Athena, Eris," Hali greeted both Kasey and Alex by their code names.
"Princess Hali, playing secretary again?" Kasey teased.
"Yeah, well. I've been waiting for your call," Hali replied as she motioned for someone to come closer.
Both Kasey and Alex smiled as Daniel appeared behind Hali. "It's good to see they didn't shoot you on sight," Alex commented.
Daniel chuckled. "It was touch and go for a moment. Hali failed to inform me how rare it is to have a male around here. But I think the Amazons have gotten over the initial shock."
"After I threatened to tar and feather anyone who got in his way," Hali interjected. "But I wanted to talk to both of you before Mother did. Give you an update of sorts."
"Great," Kasey answered, "I feel totally left out of the loop."
"Frist the good news," Hali started. She reached up and patted Daniel's hand, which was resting on her shoulder. "You're looking at the newest member of PLUTO."
"Congratulations, Danny. Settled on a code name yet?" Kasey asked.
"Dinlas, a little known, but important god, who was known for protecting wounded heroes."
"Very nice," Alex commented. "Maybe you'll get lucky and they will name a planet after you. No one had heard of Eris when I picked her either."
"You are never gonna let that one go are you?" Kasey chided Alex.
"Hey, it's all about who you know," Alex returned.
"And who you save," Kasey retorted.
Daniel smiled. "Well I can't argue with that." He leaned down and kissed the top of Hali's head.
"Why do I feel like I've totally lost control of this conversation?" Hali moaned. "You guys wanna hear the rest of the news or not?"
"Of course," Kasey answered.
"Good, then listen up, because I have more good news. The man who actually shot Kasey is pleading no contest to the charges. He even pointed the finger at the one who hired him. And you'll never guess who: no other than then the infamous Charlotte."
"That's not really all that surprising," Alex commented.
"No, I suppose not," Hali agreed. "Although, I was surprised, that when we pulled in Charlotte for questioning she admitted to everything. We called in Sasha too, she seemed more relieved than anything thing else, and sang like a jail bird. Keyton has some very serious charges to answer for; conspiracy against Sister Amazons, and purposefully using her position in a corrupt and malicious way just to name a few. Mother is still investigating exactly what she was involved in," Hali continued.
"Wow, I'm sorry to hear all that," Kasey admitted. "It must be hard on you."
Hali frowned. "Keyton and I have never seen eye to eye. The biggest threat was that, since she was the oldest, she'd gain Mother's Rite of Caste, and become our next queen, but I don't think that'll be a problem anymore."
"Then congratulations are in order. Hali, you'll make a wonderful queen," Alex responded.
Hali wrinkled her nose. "I'm not sure I want the job. Besides, hopefully it'll be a long time before Mother is ready to step down."
"Amen to that," Kasey seconded.
"Yeah, and speaking of Mother, she's beeping me. I better transfer you. Don't need to get her cranky by making her wait." Before Alex or Kasey could get in another word the screen went black, returning to the PLUTO logo, and then filled again with the image of the Queen.
"Kasey, Alex, good to see you both," Diana greeted.
"Your Majesty," Kasey and Alex returned in unison.
"Hali filled you in on everything that has been going on?"
"Yes, ma'am," Kasey responded. "It sounds like you are getting to the bottom of everything."
"We are trying. I never thought that one of my daughters would be conspiring against the other. Keyton claims that she was only looking out for Hali's best interest, but if that is true she could have gone about it differently," Diana answered.
"Perhaps I can help? Trace some records for you?" Kasey offered.
Diana shook her head. "Unfortunately, Kasey, not this time. You're too involved, so it's best that you stay away from the investigation. And that goes for you too, Alex. Consider this a direct order for both of you. Unless the request comes from me directly, neither of you are to get involved in any part of this."
Kasey and Alex both nodded their understanding, as the queen continued. "And that brings me to the second reason why I wanted to talk to both of you. Kasey, how are you feeling?"
"Better. I'm healing. Doc says I should be back on my feet in a couple of weeks."
"Good. You gave us all a pretty bad scare and I have to admit that I am pretty disappointed in your actions. A loaded gun? Really… in a public place like that? An innocent could have been hurt, or worse."
Kasey squirmed in her chair. "I know, and I'm sorry. Alex and I have talked about this extensively."
"Good," Diana responded. "What I want to know is why? Did you think that you might have to defend yourself with lethal force during my test?"
Kasey shook her head. "No ma'am. It's just, since I was kidnapped, I don't like to be without some sort of protection."
"So, if someone tried to grab you, you'd have enough time to reach in your purse and ready your gun? Don't you think that it might be a better idea to have it holstered to you? Or perhaps a dagger in your boot might be a better choice, or just relying on your self-defense training?" Diana pressed.
When Kasey remained silent Diana continued. "Kasey, you've never killed anyone have you?"
Kasey looked up, meeting her queen's eyes. "No, my Queen, but you know that."
"So tell me this, if you did manage to get the gun out and pointed at someone, could you pull the trigger?"
"I don't know. I never thought about it like that. I just wanted to have it, in case," Kasey replied.
"Kasey, what's the first rule of self-defense?" Diana asked.
"To not make yourself a target," Kasey recited.
"And what do you think carrying a gun does?" Alex interjected. "Especially if you aren't prepared to use it."
Kasey looked at Alex, her cheeks suddenly coloring in anger. "Alright, I get it. I said I was sorry. What more do you want from me?"
"To improve," Diana answered. "Alex is right; I don't believe that you are prepared to use a gun. So, I'm revoking your arms permit. If you want it back, you'll have to work for it and get re-certified."
Kasey nodded, in a way relieved. Wresting with the man over the gun was one of the scariest things she'd ever done. She wasn't eager to ever repeat it.
"Furthermore," Diana continued. "I want to make sure you fully heal, both physically and emotionally so I'm suspending you for the next thirty days. Effective immediately your passcodes are invalid. There will be no missions, no assignments, and no sneaking in the back door either. Gods help you if I hear of you hacking your way in," Diana threatened.
Kasey bit her lip, already running through a list of ways that she could still access information, but nodded her head in consent. "I understand, my Queen."
"Good," Diana nodded. "And then that brings me to you, Alex."
"Me?" Alex asked.
"Yes, am I correct in understanding that you threatened Keyton's life and the lives of anyone who might be working for her?"
"Well, technically. I did tell Hali that she and Daniel were under my protection."
"I see. And are you aware that by threatening the life of a member of the Royal family could be considered treason?" Diana asked.
"Well, yes, but that wasn't my intention. I merely wanted to make sure what Hali and Daniel were safe."
Diana smiled. "I know, and I thank you for that. I've had sisters contacting me all week with information, terrified that you might act on your promise of protection. Apparently rumors of your methods of persuasion coupled with Kasey's proven ability to find information has my Amazons running scared."
Alex grinned. "Really? Well then, I'm glad to be of service."
"But, that doesn't mean that I'm going to let you get away with it," Diana said as the grin on Alex's face suddenly fell. "So, I am also suspending you for thirty days, effective immediately your passcodes are also invalid."
"Wait a minute, are you saying that for the next thirty days there will be no missions, no assignments, no calls at three AM that one of the both of us have to hop of plane to gods know where?" Kasey asked.
"Exactly, and I hope you both take this time to seriously think about your actions," Diana continued, letting a smile slip.
Kasey and Alex looked at each other and slowly exchanged a grin. "I guess we better get to thinking then," Kasey concluded.
"Indeed, we have a lot to think about," Alex agreed. "If you'll excuse us, Your Majesty, I think we'd like to get thinking right away."
"Hmmm, well don't think too hard, remember Kasey's stitches," the queen warned. "Enjoy your vacation, ladies," she concluded, before she signed off and the screen turned black once again.
"She's right you know, we really do have a lot to think about, at least I know I do," Kasey said.
"I know," Alex agreed. "But trust me; I'll be with you every step of the way."