Karla stood at attention in front of the captain's desk.

"So you want permission to leave?" Julie asked.

"Yes."

"To go on some quest for a cure to Yoakum's Disease that might or might not exist?"

"Yes."

Julie shook her head. "Wouldn't you rather stay here with access to modern medical..." Julie paused as she looked at the expression on Karla's face, "no, I suppose you wouldn't." Julie sighed as she walked around the edge of her desk.

Julie looked up into Karla's dark eyes. Suddenly, everything was clear. Julie knew Karla. In that moment, she understood Karla as well as she understood herself, maybe more.

"You're going whether I let you or not, aren't you?" Julie asked quietly.

Karla nodded.

"I can't just leave you on this planet," Julie began slowly, not quite sure herself of where she was going, "and I can't scrap the whole mission for one person's 'quest'." Julie walked to the large bank of windows and leaned on the sill for a moment. "You can take a shuttle if you can fly it. Dave can get you the rations and whatnot that you will need."

"Thank you, Julie." Karla said.

Julie turned and smiled to Karla. "Your welcome, Lieutenant."

...

"To be quite honest, the shuttle's a piece of crap." Karla joked with the XO.

Dave laughed. "You think I'd let you take the good one? What kind of idiot do I look like?"

"I can fix it." A soft little girl voice said from the door.

Karla turned. Fernandez, Driscoll, Carson, and Stedman were standing in the open door to the shuttle bay. Karla swore under her breath. She should have heard them coming.

"You don't work for me anymore, Tech."

"Actually, they do." Dave said. "I spoke to the captain about it this morning. They've been transferred."

"Transferred?" Karla asked, hoping that didn't mean what is sounded like it meant.

"Yes Sir. You're our commanding officer while we're on special assignment." Stedman said, moving to the front of the group.

Karla looked away, shaking her head. "What special assignment, Tech?"

"To find your cure."

Karla looked at the four of them standing in the doorway. They looked worried. They wanted to help. Then Jock walked in.

"I'm going too." He said. "And before you get all upset, I'm the one who knows where the cure might be."

"Fine." Karla said, glaring.

...

"I thought she'd be happy that we're going." Mira said at dinner.

"I don't think she wanted anyone to know." Driscoll said.

"That she was leaving or that she was sick?" Mira asked.

"Both."

"I don't understand. How come?" She asked

The boys shrugged.

Jock listened to the kids try to understand Karla and shook his head. They just didn't get it. She didn't want them to come with her because she wasn't ready to form bonds with them, or anyone else for that matter. He knew just from listening to the way she talked about her men that she was still grieving for them. She wasn't the type of person who let others in easily under the best circumstances. You had to earn her trust, and that took time. She would accept them on the mission, he knew, but that didn't mean that she wanted them to be there. He suspected that she wouldn't be the happiest traveling companion they could have.