Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek or any of its characters, only my OC - Kaitlyn Donovan.
This story is the sequel to All's Fair in Love and War.
Query: What sacrifices must be endured by those that secure our freedom?
The Price of Freedom
The Bridge crew of the Enterprise looked out the viewscreen at the gaping swath of destruction from Florida to Venezuela the alien probe had caused before it self-destructed.
The tension in the room was palpable. They were still waiting for specifics on cities that had been destroyed, and the lives that had been lost.
Captain Jonathon Archer slowly took in the reaction of his crew. All of them were distressed at the fact they hadn't been here to stop this destruction. He clenched his fists tightly. Whoever these aliens were - he would find them. He stood up from his command chair, "Hoshi, patch me through to Starfleet Command." he requested, then quickly went to his Ready Room.
Captain Kaitlyn Donovan was in General Casey's office within the hour of learning that the Enterprise was going in the Expanse to find the makers of the weapon that had sent the people of Earth into a panic.
"I would like to volunteer to lead the MACO unit on the Enterprise." she stated as she stood in front of General Casey's desk.
He stood up and nodded, "Thank you for volunteering, Captain - but the decision has already been made." General Casey came around the desk and stood before her. "You were one of the four suggested."
Donovan tilted her head slightly, "But not selected."
General Casey watched as a gambit of emotions washed over her. She deserved to know why she wasn't chosen. "Certain people don't want the public fall out if you were killed during the mission."
Kaitlyn Donovan bristled, "Because there have been a few articles and news feeds done on me recently? That's not my fault." she pointed out. She had been the topic of public attention recently when it was learned by a journalist that she was now the only female officer left in the MACOs and the fact she headed a ground unit had intrigued the public. She frowned.
"You are right - it's not your fault and it shouldn't be held against you." he apologized. She was one of his best ground unit officers, she'd been in more combat situations with aliens than most of his other officers combined. Her tactical reports about other species' fighting techniques quickly became required reading for MACOs and Starfleet alike.
"Who's going?" she inquired.
Donovan nodded, "He is more than qualified. They will succeed."
General Casey smiled - she was always respectful and optimistic. "Admiral Forrest would like to see you. He has an assignment he would like for you to head. I've already approved, if you accept." he stated.
"What is the assignment?"
"I'd prefer for him to explain." General Casey said simply.
Donovan nodded and snapped to attention, "Permission to leave, Sir?" she requested.
"Granted." Casey nodded and watched her about face and leave his office. He shook his head and sighed. If she found out even half of the chauvinistic things that had been said by some of the Admirals in the meeting earlier, she would probably pummel them herself. He hoped for their sakes she never found out.
Captain Kaitlyn Donovan walked into Starfleet Headquarters and showed her identification at the front desk. There had been a time when she had known every Security Officer in the building, but that had been two years ago when she had guarded Admiral Forrest against an assassination plot on his life. Truth be told, she hadn't seen Admiral Forrest since her Father's Memorial Service a few months ago.
She headed to Admiral Forrest's office on the third floor and checked in with his Aide.
"One moment, Ma'am." the young Lieutenant said, then went into the Admiral's office. He came back out quickly, "He's ready to see you."
Donovan nodded and walked into the Admiral's office. He was looking out the window, his arms crossed at his chest. "Good morning, Admiral."
Admiral Maxwell Forrest turned and gave her a small smile. "It's good to see you again." He indicated for her to sit down.
She waited for him to sit down, then she did.
"How have you been?" he inquired.
She nodded, "Just fine, Admiral. Very busy."
Maxwell Forrest frowned slightly. There was a time when she would have given him much more of an answer, but she had closed herself off the past few years. It had started with her mission going after the weapon supplier of Terra Prime. She and the Starfleet Officer she had worked with had stopped the weapon supplier - but at a high cost. The Officer she had worked with had been killed, along with four others, not to mention two of her Mother's friends. She'd also lost most of her memories of the mission. Then a few months ago, the Arctic Six Expedition her Father was on had been attacked by some frozen cybernetic beings. The cybernetic beings had taken control of the Expedition team members. Luckily, the Enterprise had stopped the transport, but all lives had been lost. The whole incident had been classified at the highest levels. Kaitlyn knew the truth about what had happened, but she couldn't tell anyone. So, she grieved alone. He watched her carefully, "I'm sorry that you weren't selected to head the MACO unit on the Enterprise. I had recommended you, since you had worked with a few of them before the launch."
Donovan nodded, "Thank you for your support. Major Hayes is highly trained and the mission will succeed with him leading the unit." she stated.
Forrest smiled - she was ever the diplomat. He was sure she still felt slighted that she hadn't been selected. "You have proven your ability to run big operations. I'd like for you to coordinate your unit here. We need Starfleet Command, the alien delegations, the Dockyards, and the construction of the Columbia guarded." he explained.
Kaitlyn Donovan nodded as she thought over all of the variables.
"I want you to do this because you know about Terra Prime."
She looked up quickly, "They're stirring up trouble again?"
Forrest nodded, "They are getting the public riled up. Blaming Starfleet for bringing aliens to our doorstep and causing this attack to happen."
"Starfleet had nothing to do with that weapon being sent here."
Kaitlyn Donovan nodded, "I accept the assignment. I'll need to go over each area to be secured, and speak with each of the delegations you would like my unit to protect. I will need to tour each place with my Platoon Leaders."
"Not a problem. You will have the full cooperation of Starfleet Security. Captain Williams has all of the pertinent information for you." Forrest stated.
Captain Kaitlyn Donovan sat down on the stool and glanced at the baseball game playing on the vid screen in the Devil Dog, the local MACO watering hole. The people liked the consistency and comfort of life carrying on. The Xindi attack had shaken people to the core. Many were scared and waiting for the other shoe to drop, some were frightened enough to leave Earth, and others had exchanged their fear for hostility against all aliens, the government, and Starfleet.
She looked over and smiled at her Commanding Officer as he sat down on the stool beside her and ordered his drink. "Congratulations on your assignment." she raised her glass to him.
Major Jay Hayes nodded his thanks. "I hear they are having you head up Security around here."
Kaitlyn nodded, "Yes, I spoke with Admiral Forrest earlier today." She took a sip of her drink. "Do you have your unit selected?" she inquired.
He took a slow drink after he accepted it from Charlie, the bartender. "I spoke to each of them today - most of them are from your unit."
She wondered who he'd be taking with him to the Expanse on the Enterprise. She'd find out soon enough when their transfer orders came through.
"What can you tell me about the Senior Staff?" he questioned.
"Very knowledgeable. Captain Archer listens to and accepts advice. Commander Tucker is an amazing engineer. Lieutenant Reed is very competent with weapons and explosives, we worked well when he was in charge of the Security of the Dock Yard before the Enterprise launched. Ensign Mayweather is an great pilot." she stated.
"What about Sub Commander T'Pol?"
"She's Vulcan - highly intelligent, just speak to her logically."
"And Doctor Phlox?" he inquired.
Kaitlyn smiled, "Great doctor - you saw how he patched me up." she pointed out.
Jay Hayes nodded. He lifted his glass to her, "To our new assignments."
Kaitlyn raised her glass, "May we be successful in our missions."
They watched the game silently for a few minutes. Kaitlyn watched Hayes, the man that had shown her the ropes, guided her, and helped mold her into the Officer she'd become. She considered him a friend, something she didn't have many of. "It's a big weight all of you on the Enterprise will be carrying on your shoulders into the Expanse." she said quietly.
Jay smiled, he'd noticed her watching him. "You just make sure you protect Earth, so we have a reason to keep fighting." he pointed out.
She nodded, "We will." She sighed softly as she glanced around the bar. Active Duty and Retired - all of them here to be with their comrades in arms, not looking to pick up a date, nor did they have family to be with. These fellow MACOs were their family. Kaitlyn looked at him slowly, "Do you think we'll ever find anyone that really understands us?" she questioned. Their way of life was so different than civilians, or even Starfleet.
Jay Hayes looked at the polished bar top as he set his glass down. He thought back to the love of his life that he'd married in his early twenties. She'd died in a car accident just three months after they'd gotten married. He'd been crushed when he'd lost her and he'd thrown himself into his work ever since. He glanced at Kaitlyn. She'd done the same thing after her mission to stop the weapon supplier of Terra Prime. She'd finally opened up to him one day after her Father's Memorial Service that she had been in love with the Starfleet Officer she'd worked with undercover. Unfortunately, he'd been killed during the mission and she'd lost most of her memories of that mission. She'd been lucky that she'd made it out of there alive. He sighed softly, "Both of us had people that understood us - what's the chance of that happening again?"
Kaitlyn rubbed her temple tiredly as a headache started it's throbbing in her skull. She shouldn't have said anything, because it would just start her mind on a downward spiral. She took a deep breath and stood up, "I'd like to have a Sending Off for your unit here before you leave for the Expanse." she offered.
Jay smiled, "I'm sure they'll appreciate it - I know I will."
She patted his shoulder, "See you tomorrow, Major." She took her leave and nodded to a few other MACOs as she headed out.
0925 - A year later.
Captain Kaitlyn Donovan waited at the doors of the airlock for the seal to be confirmed, then pushed the button for the door to open.
Doctor Phlox was waiting on the other side. He nodded, "Captain."
She gave him a tired smile, "Hello, Doctor Phlox."
Phlox indicated for her to walk with him.
The eight MACOs followed them in two columns.
"I heard your unit has been in charge of all of the Security around Starfleet Command." he commented.
She nodded as he led them to one of the Enterprise's Cargo Bays. She turned to her MACOs, "Stay here." she directed, then followed Doctor Phlox in and allowed the door to shut.
Doctor Phlox indicated the last coffin, "I'm sorry that we could not bring all of them back for a proper burial." he apologized. He glanced at the coffin, "Major Hayes was a good man."
Kaitlyn walked over to the coffin and clasped her hands behind her back, "Yes, he was."
Phlox frowned, he knew that Hayes had been her mentor and that she had looked up to him. "I will give you a few moments while I fill out the appropriate paperwork." He walked to the other side of the Cargo Bay and typed on his PADD.
Kaitlyn placed her hand on the cool coffin lid and patted it lightly. "Well, you succeeded in your mission." she whispered quietly. She would not allow herself to cry - not now. Not in front of Phlox and certainly not in front of her men. Maybe later. She took a deep breath as she stepped back, then walked over to Phlox. "We are ready to accept the transfer of the body."
Doctor Phlox nodded and handed her the PADD to sign.
She quickly signed and gave it back.
Phlox looked over her features and frowned, "You look very tired, Captain - have you been sleeping well?" he asked.
"I've been very busy compiling all of the data from the Enterprise's mission in the Expanse, not to mention quickly securing the site for the welcoming gathering this afternoon and the banquet tonight." She pulled her shoulders back, "Thank you for your care of the MACOs."
"Of course." he nodded and watched as she had the door open for the other MACOs to enter. He couldn't help but be moved by the military precision and care they took for their fallen comrade.
1035 - Starfleet Command.
Captain Kaitlyn Donovan followed Admiral Forrest to the front of the Conference room as the Admirals of Starfleet's Command Council took their seats.
Admiral Forrest glanced around the table, "Good morning. We are here to go over the line up of the next few days and get a Security update from Captain Donovan. I first want to thank Captain Donovan for her unit's diligence over the past year in reinforcing our security needs. Her unit will be transitioning out of their current roles over the next few days." He waved for her to begin.
"Good morning." she nodded to them and clicked on the large monitors. "We have secured the sites for this afternoon's Welcoming and for tonight's Banquet. Previously, my two hundred and sixty-three MACO unit has been assigned various high threat areas and personnel to secure." She clicked on the screen that indicated her unit's assignments and the number of MACOs assigned to each area. "Over the next few days, we will be transitioning out. For the next few months, we will be protecting the Enterprise's personnel." She clicked on the screen and the numbers of MACOs reduced under the assigned areas. "We will not intrude on their leave, but we will keep them safe. Our goal is for them to never realize that we are maintaining their security."
Admiral Gardner frowned, "Can you keep them secure? Do you even know where they are all going on leave?"
"Yes, we know where most of them are going and we will keep them secure." she stated.
"How?" Admiral Black questioned.
"Gentlemen, there were five imminent threats to the security of these areas over the past year - these threats were taken care of before they became a breech because we take security very seriously." She wasn't going to divulge to them their security protocols - that's how things fell apart.
"Who are the crew that haven't put in their leave destinations?" Forrest asked, wanting to keep the conversation focused.
"The Senior Officers. I believe they are holding off because they are unsure of how long their debriefings will take." she explained.
Admiral Black picked up his PADD and clicked on an icon. "Did you really compile all of this information?" His tone was completely condescending and it was recognized by everyone in the room.
Kaitlyn nodded and willed herself to keep calm. "Yes, I did. All of the information has been linked together by date and can also be searched by key word or phrase." she explained.
Gardner looked up from his PADD, "You will be debriefing the Enterprise MACOs tomorrow?"
"Yes, Sir." she acknowledged.
Gardner frowned as he clicked through a few more files, "I see you will be in attendance for all of the Senior Officer debriefings - who authorized that, and in what capacity will you be there?" he asked as he looked around the table.
Admiral Stevens tapped the table with his pen, "She will be there at the request of Starfleet Intelligence. Captain Donovan has been collaborating with us the past few years, in conjunction with her MACO duties." He looked at Gardner pointedly, "As for what she will be doing - it's none of your concern." The Director of Starfleet Intelligence was not a man to be baulked with, or questioned. He looked around the table swiftly to see if anyone dared to continue the conversation. When he saw none, he looked at Donovan, "Captain, thank you for the update, I believe you have other things to attend to." He dismissed her before anyone else could fathom anymore questions for her.
She nodded her thanks, then clicked off the monitors and left the room.
Her Aide, Corporal Goetz, came over to her quickly. He handed her the PADD with the latest rotation and assignments to be scheduled. She signed off on the orders, "Please make sure that Lieutenants Robbins and Tebbe get these and tell them I will need an update on each location an hour prior."
The young Corporal nodded, "Aye, Ma'am. Will you be meeting them at each location?"
"Yes. Go ahead and head home when you're done this afternoon. I'll be ready to review the MACO debriefing line up with you at 0730." she stated as she looked around the large foyer. Something seemed off.
Corporal Goetz quickly snapped to attention, "Yes, Ma'am. Have a good evening."
Kaitlyn looked around the foyer once more, then headed down the corridor for the stairs.
She turned and bowed slightly to Ambassador Soval and his entourage as they approached. "Good morning, Ambassador."
"It is agreeable to see you again, Captain." he stated.
"And you, as well. Is there something can assist you with?"
Ambassador Soval clasped his hands behind his back, "Starfleet Command has classified all of the reports from the Enterprise's mission in the Expanse. We inquired and learned that you compiled all of the information for Starfleet for the briefings."
"Yes, I compiled all of the information." she nodded, wondering what he wanted.
"We have requested information pertaining to the encounter with the Seleya, but we have not received any of the requested information." Ambassador Soval explained.
"I will speak to Admiral Stevens tonight at the Banquet and request the information be released to you."
Ambassador Soval nodded, "Thank you for expediting this matter."
"I am here to serve."
"Would you be able to come to the Vulcan Embassy tomorrow to discuss the transition of Security?" he asked.
"I am debriefing the Enterprise MACOs until 1500, I could be there at 1600." she suggested.
The Vulcan Ambassador nodded, "That will be acceptable." The entourage headed out with two MACOs providing security. Corporals Wilson and Jacobs nodded to her as they passed.
Kaitlyn watched as they left, then she turned and headed to her apartment to change uniforms.
The Enterprise Bridge crew sat down at the table in the Banquet Hall when the gong sounded for everyone to take their seats. Luckily tonight, the only words of wisdom being spoken were from some of the Admirals.
Captain Jonathon Archer tried to keep his attention focused on what the various speakers were saying, but his mind was wandering. Yes, they'd been successful in their mission - but they'd lost a lot of good people along the way.
Commander T'Pol could feel someone starring at her. She turned her head slightly and found Ambassador Soval watching her intently. She nodded to him, then returned her attention to the speaker.
Commander Trip Tucker just wanted to leave. Engineers from Jupiter Station had been brought in to start working on the repairs to the hull and he was anxious to make sure they didn't mess up some of the modifications they'd made to the ship.
Lieutenant Malcolm Reed tried to calm his nerves. He'd noted that the MACOs were taking care of security - that was good. He kept glancing at the entrances of the room.
Ensign Hoshi Sato touched her temple gently as another headache started up. The parasites the Xindi Reptiles had injected into her had been removed, but her mind was still sluggish.
Ensign Travis Mayweather's leg started bouncing nervously. He was use to flying - the past year they had been flying constantly, except when they'd been adrift. He frowned slightly - that's what this felt like, like the ship was adrift again. He looked up as people started clapping and quickly joined in.
Doctor Phlox sighed as he watched his friends at the table. They were each showing signs of heightened stress levels. This event was supposed to help them, but it was having the opposite effect. He hoped none of the waiters dropped any dishes, because he had no idea how they would react. They needed to go and relax and de-stress, but that wasn't likely to happen soon. They had all got their summons for their debriefings that would start the day after tomorrow. Phlox was thankful when the speeches stopped and the salads were brought out. "Well, " he smiled brightly at his companions, "I'm sure dinner will be wonderful."
They nodded distractedly and started to eat.
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