Disclaimer: Believe it or not, I don't own Babylon 5.

Summary: A Psi-Cop on a rogue hunt finds it more complicated than usual.

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She was running.

He knew she would, knew that she had a streak of stubborn determination that refused to accept the inevitable.

And he almost let her.

The raid on this cell of the resistance had given him enough prisoners of sufficient standing to satisfy his superiors. They would not blame him if he let one slip through the net. They would be disappointed at the loss of a sister, but they wouldn't enquire, wouldn't push to see if he had made a mistake, if it could have been possible to catch her.

But the caves stank with death. He could taste it in his mind: the echoes of the recently departed. It wasn't just rogues either. Vantos, Lane, Sergeth, all dead. He had been right next to Lantos when she was hit. The burning of the PPG shot as it hit her in her chest, a moment of shock then darkness. She had been young, only completing her internship a few months ago. She didn't deserve to die from a lucky shot from a rogue. None of them did.

Throughout the battle he had been keeping his mind focussed on one individual: Kathryn Williams. She wasn't one of the main targets: a P8 and too inexperienced to really know how to use her telepathy offensively, she had stayed towards the back of the cave, near the tunnels the rogues had run down to escape. Her file in the Psi-Corps database would not show up anything special about her, just another rogue who refused to accept her place in the Corps.

"Sir, we've cleared up here. But there are almost a dozen that have fled deeper into the caves. These passageways run for miles, sir. We could pursue them or..."

He looked at his field assistant for a moment. The man was tired, both physically and mentally. They all were - they had not expected to be forced to fight so hard, and their numbers had been severely diminished. That, added to the fact that the rogues certainly knew the terrain better than they did and had undoubtedly prepared for the eventuality of a Psi-Corps attack, meant that his best course of action would be to hold this position and call for reinforcements.

That was when she called to him. It was gentle, and so soft a whisper he knew no-one else could have heard it. There were no words, it was just a feeling: Her pain, her fear, the overwhelming terror she felt at the thought of the Corps. She was trying to make him understand.

He closed his eyes, bringing up his blocks and shutting it out.

"Call for reinforcements Mr Henry. Have the bloodhounds secure this area. There is something I have to deal with," he snapped. The tone of voice was one that would brook no argument.

He knew that there were three exits from this cavern, and he knew which one Kathryn had fled down, but he didn't know the structure of the caves. He had no idea how they might interconnect, or what short-cuts and dead ends there might be. That was an advantage he couldn't allow her to have.

The bloodhounds were already moving the prisoners out to the waiting transport vehicles. He glanced down the line, recognising most of the faces from the files. It took only a moment to select a suitable telepath.

The scan was short and violent. The bloodhounds didn't flinch, and the neither of the surviving psi-cops seemed to notice. It was a common enough occurrence.

But he had a map now.

He glanced at Henry, knowing the man would not like the unorthodoxy of what he was going to do.

/ There's someone I have to find. /

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The caves were dark, but he had expected that. Still, it was difficult getting used to feeling his way in the darkness. He knew that no matter how long he was down here, his eyes would never get used to the light. He also knew that if there really was someone in front of him his mind would be able to detect them, still it was remarkably disorientating to have effectively lost the use of his eyes.

So this is what it's like to be blind, he mused. He had a torch with him, but to use it would be foolish, merely lighting himself up as a target.

/Kathryn/ he 'cast, trying to find her, hoping she would give herself away, hoping she would think he had come to help her. He dropped his blocks and pushed his senses as far as he could, trying to catch hold of her scent.

He recognised the minds of his team in the background, and could here faint whisperings in the caves of rogues trying to keep themselves quiet to avoid being detected. But he could feel nothing close by. He was alone. Had she merely been taunting him earlier? Showing him how close she was, but staying out of reach? Perhaps there was another way of the caves that the captured rogue had not known about?

He pushed the feeling out doubt down. Doubt was dangerous; it caused hesitation. More than one psi cop had lost their life that way.

He opened his mind again, focussing on the one person he wanted to find, willing himself to sense her presence. He was stronger than her, and more skilled, and yet she was still managing to hide. She could always hide from him. She couldn't have gotten out, she had been too close when she sent him that message.

"Hello James."

The soft voice came from directly behind him, and he whirled around, drawing his PPG as he did so.

She was calm, he could sense that much, but he couldn't see her. Slowly, he raised his torch and switched it on. She was standing right in front of him, and pointing a PPG of her own at his head. Her dark brown hair was pulled back from her face, but it was dishevelled, and he could see cuts and scrapes on her arm and face. Her clothes were worn and old, and she had lost weight since he had last seen her. She looked terrible, but he pushed down the surge of sympathy he felt. He had a job to do.

"Are you going to shoot me?" she asked.

"If I have to," he replied, equally calmly. For an instant, he was sure she was going to lower her weapon, but he caught the thought in time, and reached out to seize her mind. He didn't need to control all of it, just the smallest fraction: the impulse to her right forefinger.

She gasped as she found herself unable to pull the trigger. He knew it was an unpleasant sensation, to suddenly lose control of one's own body. He also knew that the shot would probably have just injured him; she had moved the gun to aim at his leg. It gave him an advantage to know that she was not prepared to do what was necessary.

"Come back with me."

"No," she replied simply. He was watching her mind carefully now and was ready when she struck out. Fire and ice came hurtling towards him. He blocked the attack easily, melting the ice, and drowning the fire, choosing to accept her metaphor for the attack.

He didn't retaliate. /You don't have to do this. /

/You could have let me go./ she replied bitterly.

/You killed telepaths. Good men and women who gave their lives for the Corps./

/You killed good men and women who were my friends. My family. /

/The Corps is your family. /

He could hear the laughter in her head, mocking him, mocking his beliefs. She unleashed another attack: Spears and swords. Another metaphor. He dissolved them with acid, and pushed a sharp knife into her mind. He heard her gasp in pain as she tried to pull it out, but he wouldn't let her. He twisted it in deeper, slicing into her thoughts. She stopped fighting, and he found he could explore freely. He didn't need to, and he didn't want to. He knew much of what he would find here.

But that didn't stop her from showing him, reminding him. The memories slipped up upon him before he realised what they were.

James Williams was thirteen years old when he left Beta colony for the first time. It was for a holiday to Mars. His parents had gone to check-in for the shuttle flight and he had been left to look after his little sister.

She was looking up at him, as they walked through the spaceport together. She held his hand tightly.

"Hey, its okay Katy," he said to her with a smile. She smiled back, but didn't speak. He could feel her fear, her uncertainty at the strangeness of this place to her with the constant background noise of thousands of minds. It was so like a city and yet there were fundamental differences different, the texture was sharper, less relaxed. This place was a home to no one and the presence of so many aliens was scaring Kathy. He sent a feeling a comfort to her mind, and felt the grip on his hand relax, a little.

He was scared to, but he was doing his best to hide it, wanting only to reassure his little sister. So many people here, a few at least had to be telepaths and they were who he wanted to avoid.

Both he and his sister had been telepaths from birth, but they lived on a colony-world where the grip of the Psi-Corps was tenacious at best. Most of the population viewed telepaths with an almost violent suspicion, and the few telepaths that lived there kept to the major industrial areas and out of the towns and villages.

He didn't want to go into space. He wasn't interested in seeing Mars. He wanted to go home, where he and Kathy would be safe.

He felt a tug at his hand, and looked down to see a smile on his sister's face. Her eyes were bright and he could see her missing baby tooth, and she was pointing at a vendor selling sweets.

James gasped as the tunnel came back into focus.

/You see. You didn't always believe their propaganda./ She was still there, standing in front of him. Still holding the PPG.

/I didn't understand. I was a child, and I was stupid. / The regret was almost tangible and Kathryn took advantage of the strong emotion to slip into his mind again, and pull at another thread.

Beta colony. He was in a classroom. Outside, he watched the rest of his class play, but he sat at the computer, searching the database and the ISN Network for information. He typed in his keywords: Telepath, Psi-Corps, blips. He dismissed many of the results that appeared, recognising them as entries that he had already read.

He chose a report on a recently apprehended criminal: a blip caught fleeing Earth. It was only the report that ISN had broadcast, but by now he could see details missing. The telepath had been helped by normals, but the report said nothing of what had happened to them. It also neglected to mention exactly what had happened to the telepath. Exactly what did it mean when the Psi-Corps caught you? The omissions scared him.

The bell rang for the end of break.

As Miss Lawson discussed early space exploration with the class, he found he couldn't concentrate. He couldn't shake the feeling that there was something wrong with the way Psi-Corps operated. He didn't understand it exactly, couldn't see its shape, but it felt uncomfortable. It was wrong.

/I believed you./ Kathryn's voice was in his head again.

/I know. I'm sorry. If I had been so arrogant, so certain I was right. / And he meant it. He blamed himself for this, it was his fault she was this way. If only he had told his parents, his teachers, anyone, he would never have had a chance to convince her of his childish ideas.

/You were right,/ she replied sadly. She let down her blocks, let her memories flood over him.

Christmas with their parents. The rustling of wrapping paper.

Her brother warning her to keep quiet. The uncertainty with which she hides her mind, making it quiet.

Herself. Sitting alone. She watched her Cadre as they play a game of Cop n' Blips. She doesn't join in. They shout to her, taunt her; warn her if she doesn't play the Grins will get her. She runs away from them. Afraid. Of them. The Grins. The teachers. She feels tears prick her eyes. She feels alone. Silently, she calls for her mother.

An ice-cream cone handed to her by her brother. She smiles up at him, feeling safe, protected.

Panic.

Desperation, fear. Escaping through a window. Running. Fields. Strangers.

Euphoria. Freedom. Finally.

Running. Again.

He gasped for breath, and struggled to find himself. He grasped around for something, anything to hold onto. A memory, his memory.

A black uniform. The pride of achievement.

Yes, that was his. He held onto it.

He felt her tears.

/I can't let you go./ he 'cast.

/You'd send me back to the camps? / she asked, and suddenly he saw a little girl with bright eyes and a toothy smile. He saw his little sister looking to him for comfort.

/That's up to you. / Even as he said it, he knew how hollow it sounded.

/ You protected me once. / There was the little girl again. With a deep breath, he forced himself to focus on the present, to see her for what she was. This woman was not his sister. She was a rogue. A blip.

/ I'm going now. / the rogue said softly, and lowered the PPG. He watched as she turned her back on him.

She was family by blood, it was a mundane concept, but it still affected him. She was a part of him as much as any of his brothers and sisters in the Corps. But the Corps was his family now, and he had to protect his family.

Doubt and hesitation. He knew he lacked the cold ruthlessness that was cultivated by the best psi cops, knew that he paused when he had to make a hard decision.

He could still see her in the torchlight, and his PPG was still aimed at her.

He made his decision.

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End