Characters: Katia Santiago
Now that she had found her friend, Major Ryan, Katia was unsure why she held back from contacting him immediately. It was difficult for her to open a channel and actually try talking to him. She knew she wouldn’t cause him any undue problems now that all the charges had been dropped, but still, it was hard for her to put the call through to him.
Katia realized that, deep down, she still felt guilty for not actually being there at the last battle to help fight to free Earth. The battle she had started so many years before in her coercion with William and Edward. The fight against Clark that had eventually led her to the Rangers with no other place to turn. But, once with the Rangers, she felt as if she had turned her back on her planet. She hadn’t been able to continue her support, or even contact with those she had worked so closely with, and that hurt more then anything. As such, she feared Edward would feel as if she had abandoned him and Earth as well, even though she knew he did not. He had made that quite plane to her when he had contacted her when William had died.
He had been the one to forward to her the data crystals with Williams last words to her. The very crystals she had been to afraid to listen to, and now would always regret. They had been swept into space with the rest of her quarters. But, that part of her life was over. Katia had made the decision to stay behind with her ship when the others had gone on to the battle in support of Sheridan and she knew it had been the right decision to make.
So, Katia continued to stall in contacting her friend. Although, she knew if her plan to go to Mars was going to work, she would have to enlist his help. She feared what she might hear when she finally did contact him. The Engineer had already lost so many of her friends, she wasn’t sure she could take knowing that his wife or children hadn’t made it through.
As the days went by, and the plans for the return to Mars continued to firm into a coherent viable action plan, she knew the time had come to quit stalling and to open up a channel and contact her friend. There was no other way around it. She sat in her office, staring off into space, totally ignoring the action going on outside the windows of her office. Finally, she reached over and keyed in the codes to open a secure-encoded channel to Earth. Katia flipped through reports as she waited for the connection to go through.
Finally, the computer beeped at her and notified her the connection was made. Katia turned and glanced at the screen as Major Edward Ryan finally moved to be framed on the vidcom. As the screen solidified on his end and showed her on the screen, she could see his face light up with recognition. “Katia, how the hell are you? We have missed you!”
“I’m doing okay. Still with the Rangers…and I have missed you all as well. How are you and the family?” she asked hesitantly.
He could sense her hesitation and quickly put her mind at ease. “They all made it through. For the most part intact. Sarah was knocked around a bit toward the end, but she fought back just as hard.” He paused as he watched her through the link. “You are looking good, Katia. The Rangers seem to be good for you.”
Katia couldn’t help but to smile at that, it was nice to have friends, however far away they were. “Thank you, I have learned a lot since coming here. The Rangers have definitely been a good move for me,” she answered with sincerity.
“Okay, Katia, I can tell you didn’t call me just to catch up. Something is on your mind. What’s up?” Ryan finally came out with the question that was on both of their minds.
She chuckled a bit, realizing she should have known he would know immediately that there was something going on. “I should have known I couldn’t keep anything from you for long,” she responded.
“Then what is going on?”
“I need your help and I don’t know where else to go,” she finally managed to get out and paused before going on, “My daughters, I’m going to go get them.”
He looked at her sharply, “Katia, the criminal charges against you have been dropped, I know. But, I don’t think Psi Corps will give it up that easily! You are talking about walking right into the middle of them.” He glanced around quickly and opened his mouth to continue when Katia interrupted him.
“I’ve already encoded the channel, Edward, we are safe for now. And, as for going to Mars, I know exactly what I am in for if I am caught, but it is something I have to do! These are my children! I can’t just leave them there like that. And, were the tables reversed and you were the one facing this situation, neither would you,” she exclaimed forcefully, knowing her friend.
He shook his head, seeming to relax a bit upon hearing the channel was secure, but still tense with the current discussions. “I know what you are going through, Katia. But why not let someone else do this for you?”
“Because I have to be the one to do it. I have to see them, to talk to them. I can’t leave that to anyone else!”
He sighed, resigning himself to the fact that he would help her, no matter what the cost. He was a loyal to her as he had been to General William Hague, a man who might have been her husband if the situation had been any different for them. As it was, he had considered them married, and knew that it their hearts they had been as well. He shook his head, wishing things had been different for his two friends, but knowing he would do anything for the woman on the screen in front of him.
“All right, Katia, what is it you have planned? Where can I help?”
(c) 1999 Tamara Freise. All rights reserved.