"How long is this going to take?" Abigail fidgeted while both women stood in line.
"As long as it takes," Ivanova replied. "Babylon 5 queues are notoriously long so be patient."
"Couldn't you pull rank?"
"What? And flag up to the universe that we're here." Ivanova replied irritably, whilst scanning the queue ahead, "No Chance!"
She didn't recognise the security guard on duty at the head of the queue but after being away from the place for nearly ten years, she didn't expect to. There was one thing she noticed straight away, everything looked in a poor state of repair. The panels and floor seemed shabbier and cracks had appeared in the floor in a couple of places. She didn't see anybody walking around with the floor stress monitors that she used to trip over either.
"So what's our next move?"
"We got to ground." Ivanova replied, "I've got a couple of contacts in Brown Sector who should give us some idea what we're up against."
They waited in line for another twenty minutes before presenting identicards to the security officer, who swiped them through without comment and then slipped away into the crowd. For a second, she though she saw Security Chief Allen in the crowd but after a quick scan of the faces in the crowd, dismissed it as paranoia.
"So weird having one of these." Abigail looked at her identicard.
"Well, don't get attached to that one." Ivanova replied as she approached the lift, "I've got about six others for each of us from covert ops before we left. We'll be a lot of different people before we're finished."
They both stepped into the Empty Turbo lift and Ivanova keyed for Brown Sector. Once the Turbolift had started Abigail turned to Ivanova.
"What I don't get is why we're not running straight for commonwealth space?" commented Abigail.
"Because that's exactly what they would expect us to do."
"Well, that's the thing, we don't know."
"So, this is more than just getting me home?"
"Of course." replied Ivanova." Ever since the Commonwealth came on the scene, certain interested parties have been trying to infiltrate it. The old Psi Corp got obsessed with it before they were erm… restructured. And don't forget all that business with the Excalibur."
"You're using me a bait?" Abigail seemed taken aback.
"Not really, but I can kill two birds with one stone. 1. Get you home and 2. We might expose this organisation that's after you."
The doors slid open and the stench of Brown Sector hit their senses like a high speed train.
"Oh Lord, No wonder they call it Brown Sector, it smells like Sh.."
"I know, I didn't think it could have got worse." Ivanova scanned round the area, "Right, follow me."
The two women walked through the dark stinking corridors, the lighting had failed in several places, leaving two of them relying on portable flashlights as they walked through something moist on the floor. Occasionally, they came across the same graffiti on the walls.
"Oh –ho. Gangs." muttered Ivanova, who reached into her belt and produced a PPG.
"I could have done with one of those." Said Abigail.
"I'm sure that you've got a whole brain full of surprises if anyone dares to jump us."
The carried on through the muck for a few minutes. They began to hear some quiet noises from behind them. A quiet 'Tik' sound slowly repeated in the distance.
"That doesn't sound like any machine to me." Said Abigail.
"It's not. Get ready to …"
Just at that moment, somebody dropped down in front of them, making loud and fast 'Tik' noises. Ivanova reacted instantly and shot him with the PPG. He collapsed in a heap on the floor. They began to run, ducking round corner this way and that. Abigail was completely lost with the dizzying number of turns. The gang of people making the tik noises were getting closer and the closer they got the faster they repeated the tik. It was like having your own range finder. They finally turned a corner to find the way blocked.
"Damn it. They blocked it off!" Ivanova shouted.
"You knew the way?" Abigail replied disbelieving.
There was movement behind them, Abigail and Ivanova turned to face it. Gun at the ready. The Darkness exploded with figures. The Gang rushed the two women. Ivanova got a couple of shots off before they got to her but then they all fell to the floor obviously writhing in pain. Ivanova glanced over at Abigail. She was standing in a trance, reminding her freakily like Leta Alexander, muttering words over and over again.
Before she could take advantage, however, something dropped behind Abigail, grabbed her and pulled her up through the ceiling, disappearing into the darkness above.
All Ivanova managed to shout was "Abigail!" before there was a thump against the back of her head and then everything went black.