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?

Thank you to Just a Crazy-Man, bina W, and IrishBug74, LoyaulteMeLie, Lupinesence, jeangreyten, Belen09, Silver-ShadowSpark, Cap'nFrances, g-love99, guest, badkarma00, and Snowbird for the reviews, and to everyone that is following this story and adding it to their favorites!

Chapter 23 - Prepare for the worst.

The Price of Freedom

Chapter 23 - Prepare for the worst

Major Kaitlyn Donovan blinked slowly as she felt herself being pulled out of a deep sleep. She frowned as she remembered everything that had happened in the past few days on Vulcan. At least she'd gotten some sleep. Doctor Phlox had sent a hypo down with Malcolm when he had come to relieve her. She sat up slowly and looked at her watch - she'd slept for fourteen hours. What had woke her up? She looked up at the tent opening when she felt Malcolm approaching, he was highly agitated.

"What's wrong?" Kaitlyn questioned as she stood up.

Malcolm handed her a PADD, "Ambassador Soval did a mind meld with Corporal Askwith - it wasn't T'Pau that planted the bombs, it was Stel."

Everything fell into place as soon as the words were out of his mouth. Stel had been given clearance into the Embassy because he was making sure the site was secure for the Vulcans. She nodded and stepped out of the Command tent and looked over the damage to the Embassy. She didn't think she'd ever be able to forget that image, nor the aftermath.

"Commander T'Pol's husband brought an heirloom to her from her Mother - it had been modified, it had a map of the Forge in it. She was sure the map would lead to her to T'Pau. The Commander's Mother is ..."

"A Syrrannite. I found out through my latest report of disappearances before the bombing." Kaitlyn sighed.

"And you didn't think we should know that piece of information?" Malcolm raised an eyebrow.

"I thought it would be best for Koss to tell T'Pol - since he is her husband." she pointed out.

"You've met him?"

"Yes, he put me into contact with a few key people in my investigation recently."

"Do you trust him? Could he have modified the heirloom and be setting T'Pol up?"

Kaitlyn shook her head, "He has not been untruthful with me - I have read no deception from him."

Malcolm understood her answer, she'd learned not to easily put her trust in people. "The Captain and T'Pol left eight hours ago to the Forge to find T'Pau and we have no way to communicate with them and tell they're going after the wrong person. We're making modifications to a shuttle to go in after them."

"There are extreme problems with using technology in the Forge."

Malcolm nodded, "We're aware and taking precautions." He looked over her slowly healing cuts and bruises, "The Enterprise has been instructed to leave Vulcan."

They both glanced up as a Vulcan shuttle landed on the Embassy grounds.

She saw Malcolm and her unit tense. "It's Ambassador Soval." she stated loudly to alleviate their concerns as soon as she recognized the designation on his shuttle. They watched as Ambassador Soval quickly got out and walked over to them.

"Where are your robes, Ambassador?" Kaitlyn questioned as he approached.

Soval nodded to Kaitlyn and Malcolm, "I have been relieved of my post. I apologize for landing on Earth soil - but you must leave with the Enterprise." Ambassador Soval stated as he looked at Kaitlyn. "Administrator V'Las means to get rid of the Syrrannites and I believe he also intends to remove you and your unit."

Kaitlyn took a slow, deep breath as she glanced over her shoulder. "Sgt. Jackson, get all equipment back in the Embassy - we could be visited by hostiles soon."

Jackson nodded and quickly started bellowing orders to the MACOs.

"Ambassador Soval, could you give Lieutenant Reed and the Embassy Security personnel a lift up to the Enterprise?" she requested.

Embassy Security Officer Lieutenant Kellogg overheard her request to the Ambassador. "Ma'am, we're staying here with you. This is our post too." he pointed out.

Donovan nodded to him and Kellogg quickly went to direct the Embassy Security personnel to grab and move equipment.

"You are not leaving?" Soval questioned her.

"Ambassador, the only person that can give me the order to abandon the Embassy is the United Earth President. We are staying."

"You may have my shuttle, in case you need it. It might be wise if Lieutenant Reed and I transported to the Enterprise."

Kaitlyn nodded, "Thank you, Ambassador. Corporal Cole." she called out and the young Corporal quickly came over.

"Show Ambassador Soval and his shuttle to the Embassy Loading Bay door."

"Yes, Ma'am." Amanda Cole replied and went to Ambassador Soval. "Ambassador, if you'll bring your shuttle around, I'll open the doors."

Soval quickly headed to his shuttle to move it.

"Lieutenant Reed, I have some evidence I'd like for you to take with you for safe keeping." Kaitlyn quickly headed to the Command tent.

Malcolm followed her in and watched as she put all of the evidence bags into a large duffle bag. He touched her hand and stopped her quick motions. "I know you have to stay - just know that I wish you could come with me."

Kaitlyn gave him a small smile as she looked at him and let her mental barriers down just a bit. "I wish I could go with you."

Malcolm pulled her closer and kissed her hard. He rubbed her neck gently as he pulled back slowly. He smirked as he touched her cheek briefly.

Kaitlyn took a deep breath to try and center herself. He always managed to throw her off balance when he kissed her. "Keep these under lock and key." she requested as she handed him the bag of evidence.

Malcolm nodded, "I promise." He took another long look at her, "Stay safe."

She nodded, "You, too." Kaitlyn quickly put the rest of her weapons on and exited the tent. She watched as Ambassador Soval and Malcolm transported to the Enterprise.

Kaitlyn sighed softly. "Tell me the dampener is ready." she questioned as Jackson came over.

"In about two hours, Ma'am." Jackson replied. "Corporal Miles does have some good news."

Kaitlyn raised an eyebrow.

"We have water and power again on the first floor of the west wing."

Kaitlyn gave him a small smile, "That is good news." They headed into the west wing of the first floor to decide how best to secure the area and set up a command center.

X

Within two hours, six more Starfleet personnel had been released from the hospital and arrived for duty, including Lieutenant Preston.

The teams had secured the entry points of the first floor of the Embassy's west wing, set up cots in the shuttle bay so they could rotate sleeping shifts, and they converted the small conference room into a make shift kitchen complete with a cooling unit and a two burner cooking unit they had confiscated from somewhere in the Embassy.

Kaitlyn had sent out a few teams an hour ago to the local markets to gather fresh food that they would eat first, before they started on the packaged rations the Enterprise had transported down. She walked over to Sgt. Jackson, "What's the verdict?"

Sgt. Jackson turned slightly away from the others, "Four days on fresh food and another five days on rations." he gave her the numbers he'd calculated after adding the last group of personnel that had arrived. He watched her closely as she went over the variables in her head. "Do you want another group to go out and gather more food from the markets while we still can?"

Before she answered him, she asked another question. "What about the generators?"

"Six days after they cut the power - and that's from narrowing the dampening field to just the Embassy and only running the minimum in the command center. It will make us extremely vulnerable to a ground assault." he pointed out.

Kaitlyn Donovan shook her head, "If they cut the power, it will only be a few hours before they come at us." She took a quick look down the corridor at the personnel she was responsible for the duration. "Let's give everyone a job to do, then we'll start rotating watches. Have one of the groups start filling everything that will hold water, have two other groups start fortifying the area just outside the front door and the shuttle bay door."

Jackson nodded, gathered personnel, and started giving out orders.

"Major." Corporal Mullens called from the communications console.

She walked over and waited for him to continue.

"The Enterprise has been ordered to leave again. Administrator V'Las is questioning them about the shuttle they sent over the Forge." Mullens relayed as he listened again. "The shuttle was prevented from landing, they were hit and are now returning to the Enterprise."

Kaitlyn nodded and glanced at Lt. Preston, "I'm going to need you to send out another communiqué before we lose our means to do so."

Mullens frowned, "You think they'll destroy our satellite?"

"I hope not, but I'm not going to rely on their hospitality any longer." Kaitlyn started typing out a message to Admiral Stevens.

X

Earth. Starfleet Headquarters.

Admiral Stevens walked down the corridors of Starfleet Command quickly. He didn't want to think the worst of what could happen on Vulcan, but he knew enough to realize the situation could go south real fast.

Admiral Gardner looked up as the Director of Starfleet Intelligence flew in his office. "Some new information has come to light, Admiral?" he asked as he stood up and offered his superior officer a seat.

"Do we have a ship of Engineers heading to Vulcan?" Stevens questioned as he took a seat.

Sam Gardner nodded, "They were on their way to start setting up a new colony, but as soon as we got word of the Embassy bombing we redirected them." He pulled up the flight path of the ship, "They should reached Vulcan in four days."

Jack Stevens analyzed the planets in the flight path, "We'll need them to make a stop and pick up a few more passengers." He had been on edge since he'd read Donovan's latest message. She and the personnel remaining at the Embassy were sitting ducks on a planet with a hostile government. He watched Sam Gardner closely. Kaitlyn had conveyed her suspicions on how the bombs had gotten to Vulcan and there were only a handful of people who could have pulled it off. Stevens had a team of people dedicated to quietly turning everything upside down to find out the truth.

"A few passengers?" Gardner questioned as he sat back in his plush chair.

Stevens pointed to a planet along the flight path, "A few MACOs and their gear to help secure the situation on Vulcan." His first stop after reading Kaitlyn's message was to speak to General Casey and give him the latest information about the situation on Vulcan.

Sam Gardner quickly leaned forward, "Has something else happened?" He was worried about Kaitlyn still being stuck on that planet.

Admiral Stevens nodded, "Ambassador Soval was relieved of his post when he helped the Enterprise interview a witness that knew the identity of the bomber. The Enterprise shuttle was also fired upon when they tried to go collect Captain Archer and Commander T'Pol from the planet. Administrator V'Las is not acting rationally. Major Donovan is preparing to defend the Embassy." he gave a quick rundown of what he wanted Gardner to know.

Gardner frowned, "Who told you all of this?" He hadn't been informed of any new messages from Vulcan.

"Major Donovan managed to send me a secured message before our satellite at Vulcan stopped functioning." Stevens was sure that V'Las had it disabled or destroyed it to keep them from communicating with their personnel still on Vulcan.

Gardner looked at Admiral Stevens carefully, "The bomber - it was that Syrrannite, T'Pau?" he questioned.

Stevens shook his head, "Nope, it was Sub Commander Stel, of the Security Directorate. Administrator V'Las' right hand man. You can see why Major Donovan is taking precautions."

Gardner frowned, "So Captain Archer and Commander T'Pol are still on Vulcan? I take it Commander Tucker is in charge of the Enterprise?" Gardner shook his head, when he'd ordered the Enterprise to leave Vulcan, Tucker hadn't mentioned that Archer and T'Pol were on the planet. Tucker was a thorn in his side. He didn't like the fact Tucker had been in Kaitlyn's hotel room - it riled him up just thinking about it. He redirected his anger to Archer, "Archer and T'Pol weren't authorized to go down to the planet, in fact I think they were told explicitly not to by the Vulcan government."

Admiral Stevens stood up and Gardner quickly followed suit. "Archer and T'Pol had every right to go down and continue the investigation. The Vulcans were blocking them, and now we know why. I just hope they can stay safe until we can get back to them. Without the Enterprise in orbit to protect them and lend assistance, our people on Vulcan are in eminent danger." He looked directly at Gardner, "Redirect the Engineering ship to pick up the MACOs and have them hightail it to Vulcan."

Admiral Sam Gardner watched as Admiral Stevens left as quickly as he'd come in. He sat down heavily in his chair and took a deep breath. He sent out the order to the Engineering ship, then he leaned back in his chair. He closed his eyes and thought back to everything he'd done over the past few months and wondered once again if anything could be tied back to him. It couldn't. He'd taken precautions - everything had been perfectly planned and executed.

Enterprise. Heading to Andoria.

Malcolm Reed walked over to the window of the Captain's Mess and looked out silently. He was worried not only for the Captain and Commander, but the MACOs and Starfleet personnel they'd left behind on Vulcan. On top of all of that, they were now heading for Andoria. It's not that he disagreed with Trip's decision to go and warn the Andorians, but as Second-in-Command it was his duty to bring up the possible problems and complications. He glanced back as the door opened and Ambassador Soval stepped in.

Ambassador Soval gave a slight nod to Reed, "Commander Tucker said he would be here in five minutes."

Malcolm watched as the door closed behind the Vulcan. "Why do you think Administrator V'Las tried to frame the Syrrannites for the Embassy bombing?" he questioned as he crossed his arms. He would normally never speak to the Ambassador in such a demanding tone, but Kaitlyn trusted Soval and Malcolm figured if there was ever a time to get a straight answer from the Vulcan, it would be now.

"Then you believe Administrator V'Las orchestrated the bombing?" Soval countered.

Malcolm nodded. "Yes. I believe he and others have an agenda. The Embassy was just collateral damage."

"You have proof?" Soval raised an eyebrow.

Malcolm Reed smirked, "I'm sure Major Donovan will have more by the time this is over - she is very resourceful."

Soval nodded, "She is that." He took a deep breath, "In regards to your query . . . if the Syrrannites could be blamed for the Embassy bombing, the Administrator would have a reason to eliminate the Syrrannite threat. You said 'and others' - who do you think he is working with?"

"Major Donovan and I are sure it is someone with very high clearance in Starfleet Command."

"Do you know who?"

Malcolm frowned, "Not yet. It has to be someone with high enough rank and privilege to get the bombs through Vulcan Security on Earth to the ship that brought Major Donovan and her unit to Vulcan."

Soval contemplated this information. They had narrowed down when the bombs had been transported, Donovan and Reed evidently knew much more than they were willing to impart. "I may be able to assist you. Administrator V'Las has been busy and has not sent out notice that my posting has been revoked. I should be able to get the security video from the transport facility."

X

Vulcan. United Earth Embassy.

Kaitlyn looked over the monitors that usually tracked the Embassy grounds inside the fence. Mullens and Preston had the cameras now panning further outside the Embassy grounds for Vulcan troops. "Have any more shown up?" she questioned them. They had made it through last night without any problems, but they had noted this morning that they were being monitored by six small squads of Vulcan military on various buildings outside the Embassy grounds. It was still daylight out, so they could still track them easily.

Corporal Mullens shook his head, "No, Ma'am. Still only the six squads."

She watched on the monitors as Sgt. Jackson and five other personnel jogged in formation on the inside of the fence line of the Embassy. "What lap are they on?"

"Thrid - last one. They'll be coming in soon." Lieutenant Preston stood up and stretched. "Tell me again why we're running around the fence line?" He followed Major Donovan into the locker room.

She opened an empty locker and took off her vest. "Because they don't understand us. We are driving them nuts." She hung up her vest in the locker and started to unbutton her cami blouse. "You heard their chatter - they are confused as hell as to why we would be running pt sessions outside in this heat." She looked over at Preston as he took off his Starfleet top, "How much water did you drink?" She took off her boots and brown socks.

"A gallon - I'm sloshing." he frowned as he put on the standard brown MACO undershirt.

"You're going to wish you had drank more by the end of the second lap." Kaitlyn shrugged as she took off her cami pants to reveal her green pt shorts underneath. She sat down on the bench and put her running shoes on and laced them up. "Alex, you don't have to run with us."

Lieutenant Alex Preston grinned, "And what, let you MACOs have all of the fun dropping sensors and shock pellets around the Embassy by yourselves?" He shook his head again, "Besides, I need some fresh air. The fans are moving the air around in here, but it's stale."

Kaitlyn shrugged, "At least we have a few fans, and at least the showers work. It will get pretty ripe if they go out." She stood up, "I'll see you in twenty." Kaitlyn glanced back at him when she reached the door, "I'm serious about the water, you might want to drink some more. The packs only weigh about ten pounds, but the heat is going to compound the exertion of your body."

Preston nodded, "I'll get some more down." He watched as she left the locker room. He finished getting changed as he contemplated her diversionary technique of pt sessions to drop sensors and shock pellets around the Embassy grounds. It was ingenious and the Vulcans monitoring them hadn't realized what they were doing. As the pt groups ran around the grounds, they dropped the small devices. At dusk, they would activate them and they would not only have a warning if the fences were breeched, they would also know where the troops were. The shock pellets were also remotely activated, so they could wait to activate them until they had as many troops within range as possible. He tied his running shoes and headed to the makeshift kitchen and grabbed another liter bottle of water. He watched down the hall as the last running group came in and Donovan followed them into the makeshift sickbay. He'd watched her since she'd arrived to Vulcan and had come to the conclusion that she was exceedingly smart and had a remarkable gift for leadership. His attention was drawn to Mullens as he sat up straighter. "What is it?"

"Major Donovan is receiving a communiqué - it's Captain Archer." Mullens relayed quickly.

They were huddled around the command center as Donovan finished her communiqué.

"Yes, Captain - I know someone who can help. I'm sending you a location. I'll meet you there in an hour." she sent the location and ended the communiqué. She looked around at the gathered group. "It looks like it's time for some subterfuge."

X

TBC.

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