Keep in mind that I do not own Babylon 5 or its characters, so if you recognize any of them, THEY'RE NOT MINE. They are property of WB and Straczynski. (Put in other words, I am not making money out of writing this, I'm only doing it for the pleasure of sharing a piece of my mind with you all)
Please remember that this story portrays a little different approach to Susan's and Talia's relationship, which means YES, as most of my stories, this is a FEMLASH, if this bothers you, you shouldn't be here, so leave now if you're not comfortable with this fact.
Also remember that Susan is a werewolf, kinda like the ones portrayed in the Underworld movies. You know, strong, virtually immortal, and able to control when they shift.
And don't forget I altered the timeline to suite my needs for things to flow between them. I however, did not alter the B5 General plot line, so the major events that happened during the series, are still there, some of them with a little twist, but most of them stayed just the same.
Remember to leave your reviews…
A few members of the pack who I had assigned to keep tabs on whatever was going on in Down Below without interfering unless it was a life-death situation, informed me that Dr Franklin had set up an underground free clinic for the people there, and that he had patients going over for consult on a daily basis, however he was taking supplies from Medlab, information that was confirmed by Dimitri. So, I headed down there just to make sure he was fine and knew what he was doing.
"I'd like to see the doctor" I told the girl at the reception area, who was looking down at some pads
"The line forms to the rear" she said without glancing up
I sighed "I'm sure it does" I said serious which prompted her to look up at me now
"Oh! I'm sorry" she said worried realizing who I was "Please go right in, I'll buzz the Doctor"
I walked in through the provisional curtains and heard Stephen more clearly now, giving instructions to the patient he had just attended.
"You start by removing your clothes" said Stephen without even looking in my direction as his patient walked away
"Not without dinner and flowers" I told him jokingly.
"Lt. Commander!" he said surprised at seeing me there "What are you doing down here?"
"What a coincidence" I said amused "I was about to ask you the exact same thing"
"Just doing my job"
"Your job is Chief of Staff of the Medlab facilities" I reminded him
"No. My job is healing people." he argued "Medlabs aren't free, not everyone can afford it. Especially in Down Below"
"Well, they have my sympathies" I told him coldly "But this is an unauthorized clinic"
"This is a free clinic" he stated
"Same thing. The tax payers back home want us to be self-supporting" I told him "and won't approve of diverting resources of medicine supplies"
"I know" he said defeated "That's why I didn't tell you"
"I don't like having to hear about this in the grapevine Doctor" I explained him "I'm in charge of Station Operations. This is a station" I said gesturing around "And this, certainly is for operations" I told him picking up a medical instrument before placing it down where it was
"All right. Fine." He said "But there are about a dozen people out there waiting to see me" he argued "So what will you do about it?" he challenged
I smirked "Nothing. And there's only half a dozen, I counted" He looked surprised at me "Look, I don't mind if you bend the rules a little Doctor." I told him "I mean, I've bend a few myself. But I like to be informed" I explained him "If I'm gonna share the blame, I at least want to share some of the fun"
"You can start by taking off your jacket and wash your hands…"
"I am not a Doctor" I told him stopping his rant
"No, but I'm sure we can find something for you to do" he said amused now "If you're gonna join in the fun, you might as well join in all the way, right?"
I sighed but relented unbuttoning my jacket and walking to the back to wash my hands as he had asked, while he muttered under his breath that there should be more patients waiting in line.
After lunch I left Stephen in Down Below and headed to the Dome, where I was told by Mr Garibaldi that he was looking for Talia.
"Why? Is she in any trouble?" I asked concerned
"No… no" he said firmly "She was to do a scan on Mueller and I don't know where she is or if we're ready to take him for the wipe"
"I'll look for her" I told him leaving the Dome now worried. I had heard once a telepath say that a scan on sentenced prisoners to the death of personality, were hard to perform and were never looked forward to by them.
I went to the cell where Mueller had been held and asked the guards; one of them being Zack Allan, a member of my pack who had recently been hired by Mr Garibaldi to be part of the station security force; if Talia had already passed through there, when they said that she had but had left very distressed I gave them hell for not taking her to Medlab or making sure she was fine, specially Zack. After Michael came to see what was going on, he ushered me out and told me that he still needed to know if she had performed the scan deep enough for a comparison scan after the wipe, which is why I still had to find her.
I expanded my senses and tracked her scent. It guided to the hydroponic gardens, curiously near where I grew coffee. I smiled softly upon seeing her, but ended up frowning when I looked the state she was in. She was pale and her hair looked disheveled, and indeed she was clearly distressed which made me worry even more.
I ended up hugging her while she cried over what she had saw in Mueller's mind, I really didn't know how to make her feel better, so I gave myself in that hug.
Later on, we learned that Mueller had died when he tried to escape the mind-wipe and Talia felt terrible thinking that the scan she had made, the effort she had put in it and the experience in itself had been all futile. I did not think that way, but didn't know how to prove her that, so I ended up walking away from her, once again, with the difference this time, was with my mind set on finding a way to make her see it had not been futile.
I had to give up for the moment on finding a way to convince Talia that everything we did, was worth it; we had been receiving strange readings and a lot of seismic activity coming from Epsilon 3 for a few days, so we assembled an archeological team to head to the surface and to more tests and determine what was going on.
"Shuttle 1 is ready to go Commander" I informed the Commander as he entered the Dome
"Any change on those signs or any disturbances?" he asked
"The surface layers have calmed down but we're still receiving a rumble further down" I informed him "Normally I wouldn't bother, but we are in orbit over this thing"
"Alright, let's just check it out to be sure"
"Agreed…" I told him before turning to my console "Shuttle 1 you're clear to begin geological survey"
"Confirmed Babylon Control, initiating launch" came the response from Dr Tasaki
"I have to go play diplomat for a few hours" said Jeff apologetically "Let me know when the survey team comes back"
As soon as the shuttle approached the planet, a beam of light, presumably a weapon, was shot from the surface and as a result our energy faltered for a moment and we briefly lost contact with the survey team.
"Babylon Control to Shuttle 1" I called over the link as soon as the energy was restored on CnC "Shuttle 1 do you receive?"
"Alright Babylon Control, we're receiving you" answered Dr Tasaki
"What the hell was that?" I asked him, seeing as he was closer to the source "All our stations blacked out for a second"
"Same here Babylon 5" was the response I got "it was some kind of power surge off the scale. Pulled our systems off line, it must have come from somewhere deep inside the planet"
I sighed "What's your situation?"
"Shuttle controls are out, can't get back unassisted" he reported "You're gonna have to send someone here to give us a lift"
"Confirmed, we'll send two starfurys ASAP" I told him at the same time I looked pointedly at Lt JG Corwin, conveying in that action that the escort party should already be out there "Stand by, don't go anywhere" I told the shuttle team in an attempt to lighten the mood. I headed to the shuttle bay as soon as they came back.
"Dr Tasaki!" I called him as soon as I glimpsed him
"Lt. Commander" he greeted me as his team scattered
"What was it?"
"I've no idea"
"We were told that the planet we're orbiting was stable, safe and inhabited" I told him worried about the situation "Now it appears to be none of these things"
"Incorrect" replied Dr Tasaki "We don't know for sure if someone is actually alive down there. The seismic activity on the planet could have triggered an automatic system of some kind" he said apparently excited about the possibilities "We'll know more once we go back down there" he then turned to leave
"What are you going to do now?" I asked before he walked out of the bay
"In order? Process the data we collected from the power burst and then call my wife"
"This doesn't worry you in the slightest?" I asked surprised by his actions
"On the contrary, it scares the hell out of me" he said smirking "But what better way to go out than in pursue of scientific knowledge?" he then left to process his data
I returned to the Dome and after running a few tests I was ready to give my report to the Commander.
"It seems that the beacon was what caused our systems and the shuttle's systems to fail." I told him while I displayed the data on a screen for him to see "The signal seems to have diminished in the past few hours"
"Are you sure it's a beacon?"
"Well, once our instruments were back online we were able to run a few scans" I explained "It's definitely a series of regular signals repeated in specific intervals, but so far we haven't been able to decipher them"
Jeff sighed and pondered this information for a moment "How's Dr Tasaki?" he finally asked
"Kid with a new puzzle" I offered with a small smile "He wants to go back and check it out"
"Alright, I'll authorize it but only on the condition we can find a way to get them down there safely" stated the Commander
"Agreed. I'll take care of it 1st thing tomorrow morning" Jeff turned to leave and I remembered that while the scans were running, we had received a status report from EarthDome and the lack of information on Mars was not a good sign. "Oh by the way Commander" I called Jeff stopping him in his tracks "Have you heard any news today from the Mars Colony?"
"There's always something about it in the daily Earthforce data report, but it just came in and there wasn't any news from Mars, nothing" I told him in a serious tone "Now, usually it's a sign that they're running military exercises, but we would have got some warning about it"
"Maybe it's just a glitch in the system" tried to reassure me Jeff, but something in the tone he said that, made me wonder if he really thought that. "Goodnight Lt. Commander"
That night I had a date with Talia, of course you wouldn't have caught me dead at the time acknowledging it as what it was; but being honest, even when we were actually friends then, we were fast crossing that boundary and somewhere along the line we started to actually date each other instead of just hanging out together. Thankfully she hadn't called me on that, because I don't know what I would have done if she did, probably run for the hills, as I had done before. Also, she had stopped trying to talk about what happened after our first date, for which I was grateful, though I must admit I was curious as to what was stopping her now that we were getting along and heading to where she wanted us to be.
We had enjoyed our evening together and headed to her quarters for a drink. I shouldn't have asked her to turn on the feed from ISN, but I did and when they broke the news from Mars and the rising conflict there I left her to go and speak with the pack, we had people there. I decided that a scouting team would be sent to Mars to assess the situation and aid in any possible way, considering we had lost all official communication and no one could get a hold of the comnet without clearance from higher up in the Earthforce military structure. So we would have to find a way to contact our people back and forth, that's why we were sending scouts.
Next morning, after I agreed to dinner with Talia, Maher and Neeoma, who by the end of the year would surely be the newest member to the pack; and after designing a plan for the geology team to go down back, I walked to the mess hall with my tray in hand and sat at Jeff's side.
"Commander. I take it that you heard the news from Mars last night" I told him after looking at his grimm face.
"I did. Terrible to see places I grew up, going up in flames" he sighed
"That's right, you were born in Mars" Earlier I had bumped into Mr Garibaldi and he told me about Jeff being from Mars and being there where they met. "Do you still have family or friends there?" I asked him
"No, thank God" he said somewhat relieved "You?"
"Yes" I told him truthfully
"Sorry, hope they're doing fine"
"Me too" I whispered "Mr Garibaldi is taking it pretty hard" I said diverting his attention from me
"Yeah, I figured as much" stated Jeff "I'm gonna check on him later"
"You alright Commander?" I asked him when I noticed his sight drifting off
"I don't know, maybe I'm just tired" he sighed "What's the status on Epsilon 3?"
"The Geology team leaves in a few hours"
"Good. Keep me informed" he said and walked away
Later that morning I was in the Shuttle Bay giving final instructions to the Geology team. "Now, we'll be providing fighter support in case you run into any trouble while you're down there" I told them "but I don't want you taking any unnecessary chances"
"We won't" assured me Dr Tasaki
"Just take your readings, make a low altitude scan of the surface and get out in one piece" I continued "We'll be monitoring your progress from CnC"
"Good. I work best with an audience" he said cockily "Anything else?"
"Just one thing" I said annoyed "Starfurys are designed for combat in space, not inside an atmosphere" I informed them now dead serious "Don't drop to low or you're on your own"
I headed to CnC to oversee the mission and make sure there was no traffic on their way in or out, which was rather difficult considering all the spaceships coming to and going from the station.
The shuttle was in a low orbit around the planet for a few hours, running up their scans "Survey 1 to Babylon Control. Ready for our final run. Initiating atmosphere drop at 5km inside the atmosphere curtain" was heard over the link and my blood momentarily froze
"Negative Survey 1. Do not enter atmosphere" I ordered "The fighters won't be able to follow you in"
"Don't worry Babylon Control" said nonchalantly Dr Tasaki "I'm not going far, just enough to get some samples" he said as the Shuttle descended to a lower orbit "You can't expect us to come this far without getting some minimal-" He was cut off by an alarm on both the Shuttle and the Station scans, showing three projectiles headed directly to the Shuttle
"Doctor! Take evasive action! Get out of there!" I ordered
"Too late" said a member of his team "we got locked on"
"Hang on" said Dr Tasaki as one of the projectiles hit the rear of the Shuttle, making their control fail
"Babylon Control to fighter escort!" I called "Can you reach the Shuttle?"
"Negative Babylon Control" was the response I received from Flight Leader
"All fighters, target guns on lower atmosphere" I ordered hoping that would work "wide angle firing pattern!"
"Babylon Control, what the hell are you doing?" asked Dr Tasaki as soon as the Fighters started firing
"Incoming fire to distract the missiles, pulling them off curse" I explained "Hit your after burners, maximum burn" I ordered him "With any luck they can't follow you outside the atmosphere"
"We won't have enough fuel to get back" he retorted wasting time
"The Fighters will tow you back in. Now do it!" I ordered running out of patience "Before the missiles lock on again"
Luckily he stopped being an a-ss and complied with my orders then "Survey 1 to Babylon Control. We're clear, returning to base" he said, relieve clear on his voice
"Confirmed Survey 1. Upon arrival you will report for debriefing" I said still angered by the lack of discipline they showed "And just one more thing" I continued as I started pacing "On your trip back I'd like you to take the time to learn the Babylon 5 Mantra. Ivanova is always right" I said seriously "I will listen to Ivanova. I will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations." I continued as Talia entered the Dome "Ivanova is God. And if this ever happens again, Ivanova will personally rip your lungs out!" I said not caring at the moment what Talia had to say. "Babylon Control out" I stopped pacing, ended the link and turned around to see the Dome staff frozen and Talia standing at my side with a slight smirk on her face. I looked around the Dome and everyone resumed their activities, Talia's smirk widened. "Civilians" I said sighing and turning my attention to her.
"Though day?" she asked, her smirk still in place. I only grunted. "Anyway, wanted to confirm our dinner plans for tonight. There's something I need to talk to you about" she said, the smirk being replaced by worry.
"Everything alright?" I asked her now worried myself
She nodded "Mr Garibaldi asked for a favor, and if it works, I think I can help you too"
"Me?" I asked not understanding
"He asked me to use Psi Corps' resources to contact someone in Mars" she said barely loud enough for me to hear
"Is it possible to do that?" I asked her in turn
"It may be. No promises, but if you provide me the names of the ones you want to contact, I'll try now and let you know what happened over dinner, if we're still on for that"
I sighed "Yes, I think I still can make it to dinner"
"Good. So, want me to try?"
I shook my head "I don't want to owe any favors to Psi Corps" I said flatly, hoping that Tessa and the others would be safe until our scouts got there.
She nodded "See you tonight then" she said before leaving the Dome.
As soon as Dr Tasaki boarded the station again, he and I headed to Jeff's office for the debriefing. Dr. Tasaki stated that all scans showed the same, no life forms on the planet, but after close revision to the video feed from the Shuttle, we could hypothesize that there was an old automatic defense system and that meant that whatever was down there, it was important enough to require said defense system. Based on that and believing that it could threaten the Station's security until we learned more about what was down there, Jeff and I agreed to go down there again, this time only him an me. My argument was due to security reasons, Jeff's, due to a first contact potential situation. I called to Talia's quarters and left a message for her apologizing for not being able to make it to dinner, but that I would have to go on a mission with the Commander to the planet below.
Jeff and I were able to get the shuttle to a landing grid on the planet. No life signs were detected and we noticed the atmosphere was not compatible to our own, so we took the necessary precautions before setting out to explore what was down there. We found ourselves in a series of artificial tunnels, where we could find alien corpses, obviously attacked by something. I noticed Jeff was about to step into the next aisle of the tunnels and there were more dead bodies there so in a wolf impulse I stopped him from taking another step, he eyed me curiously until I threw a few pebbles to the tunnel and immediately after they hit ground, shots were issued from both sides of the wall.
"Well, that'll cut down on tourism" I said looking back at Jeff. He sighed and picked up more pebbles, he threw one after the fire stopped he counted to 4 and threw another one, then repeated the process but counting to 3, no shooting after 3 seconds but certainly life threatening after 4. "Three second recharge before firing" I voiced out loud
"Looks like it" he agreed "Can you cover that in 3 seconds?" he asked worriedly eyeing the aisle, that was about 8 meters or so.
"Not a problem" I told him truthfully
"Ok, stand by" he said leaning down to pick up another pebble. As soon as the firing stop we ran to the other side. I noticed Jeff was not going to make it so I tackled him using my force and speed at the time to get us both safely to the other side, as we landed on the floor a new set of firing had started.
"You okay?" he asked as we stood up when the firing stopped
"Yeah. I'm fine" I told him trying to hide my grin at his surprised face.
As we walked further down the tunnels we found ourselves walking over a bridge that hovered above and stood beneath a massive and complex system of circuits and machines.
"Holly!" said Jeff astonished by the sight. I must say, I was too. To this day it is one of the most incredible and beautiful things that technology has had to offer. "Babylon Control, do you copy?"
"Babylon Control here, we copy Commander" said Corwin over the link. As Jeff began to describe what we were seeing I wonder where was Michael, he was supposed to be on the Dome. "It has to be 10, 20 miles deep"
"Commander! You ok?" Asked Garibaldi, presumably when he entered CnC
"We're fine" said dismissively Jeff and I chuckled at that "Michael, you wouldn't believe it. Incredible. A whole new era of technology" he continued excitedly "machines as big as buildings, all around us" An alarm was heard over the link at the same time that the bridge beneath our feet, along with the whole planet, began to shake
"Commander you have to get out of there!" said frantically Michael "You hear me? Clear out!"
Our path to the shuttle was blocked by debris caused by the quake, rocks that we barely missed by the way, I had to use my wolf again to keep us both alive in that situation.
"Commander, you alright?" I asked to make sure
"Yeah, thanks though" he said surprised again. If that kept up, I knew I would have to come clean with him, or at least think of a plausible reason to explain to him my strength and speed. "We're gonna have to find another way out of here" he said as I turned around and glimpsed a hologram projection of an alien, who turned his head glancing to a different direction.
"What the hell?" the words slipped from my mouth before I had a chance to register I had asked that out loud.
"Help me" said the alien "Save me" then it faded away
"You saw it too?" I asked Jeff now worried about my mental health. A crazy and schizophrenic wolf is never good for a pack, and when that wolf happens to be the Alpha, it's much worse.
"Yeah, and on the station" said Jeff. I sighed relieved a little by that fact and followed Jeff through the tunnel to which the projection had been staring at.
We found the alien connected to a machine that apparently was connected itself to the core of the planet. "Help me or your people, all your people will die" stated the alien barely above a whisper "You must help me" he concluded at the moment another quake started
"Help me get him out of this" ordered Jeff
"Commander" I told him complying with the order and starting to disconnect the alien from the machine "We don't have a lot of time, we're off the way we came in, we don't know if we can find another way back to the ship before we run out of air" I told him enumerating the odds against us
"We can't just leave him like this" he countered heatedly
"I know" I told him "It's a Russian thing. When we're about to do something stupid, we like to catalogue the full extension of our stupidity for future reference" I said smiling to him as we managed to complete disconnect the alien from the machine. It took us a few minutes but luckily we found our way back to the shuttle, however the seismic activity had exponentially increased in those minutes.
"Shuttle 1 to Babylon Control, do you read?" asked Jeff over the link as we boarded the Shuttle and while he started up the engines I buckled our guest to his seat
"Yeah, yeah, we're getting you. What's your situation?" came Garibaldi's response
"We're coming out, tell the fighters to initiate air cover now" said Jeff taking control of the shuttle while I medically tended to the alien on board as best as I could "and have a full medical team standing by when we arrive"
"Confirmed, initiating air cover"
As we exited the atmosphere, luckily in one piece, the Earthaliane heavy cruiser Hyperion came through the jump gate, her Captain stated that he came with orders to take control over the station.
The alien was treated by Stephen as soon as we boarded B5 and while Jeff stayed in Medlab to speak with Dr. Franklin, I returned to my post on CnC in time to be informed that Captain Pierce, Hyperion's captain, was coming on board that moment and expected to meet with Jeff in his briefing room.
In theory Captain Pierce was sent by Earth Dome to call dibs on whatever we had discovered on Epsilon 3 and to protect Babylon 5 when other races were told to 'sod off' when they tried to acquire the technology, considering that we were in neutral space. While Captain Pierce and Commander Sinclair were discussing the details in Jeff's office, a fighter left the Hyperion headed to the planet's surface, the readings coming from the planet had went now off the scale and the fighter did not make it down, even with air cover.
I contacted the Commander over the link in order to informed him about this new development. "Something's happening on Epsilon 3 Commander. You better take a look" A few minutes later Jeff came to CnC while I was at station 1 reviewing the newest data, so we walked together to my console. "A flight of ships departed from the Hyperion a little while ago headed down to Epsilon 3" I explained him
"Did they get through?" Asked Jeff, and I felt he was dreading the answer.
"Negative" I informed him "Bring up tactical display" I ordered the computer "They're encountering heavy fire from the surface" I showed him as the data was displayed "Four of the Hyperion ships have been disabled in the last 5 minutes"
"They're encountering attack heavier than when we went down" concluded Jeff
"I noticed the same thing. Definite escalation"
"They're pulling back" noted Jeff
"Commander, Captain Pierce on the link for you" informed us Lt JG Corwin
"Put him through… Captain Pierce, what's the idea of dispatching a team down to the planet surface without checking with me first?" asked Jeff clearly upset
"Unnecessary" stated nonchalantly Pierce "We have your log, your flight pattern-"
"But it didn't work, did it?" Asked Jeff interrupting Captain Pierce "Because you can't get to the planet surface without a properly encoded jamming device" added Jeff taking me by surprise, we had not used such a device, but I was able to school my features and not let such feeling show on my features.
"What?" asked Pierce as surprised as I was "Why wasn't I informed?"
"You didn't ask" said Jeff as nonchalantly as had being Pierce a few seconds ago
"Commander, I demand you turn over this jamming device at once"
"It's being repaired" stated Jeff "but I'll see what I can do. Babylon Control out" he concluded cutting the link
"Commander, we didn't use a jamming device" I said "we don't even have a jamming device" I added as an after thought
"I know" he smirked "But he doesn't know that, with luck it will discourage him from sending more ships down there until we finish working this out" he said as an alarm went wild on the Dome "What's that?"
"That's the thing I wanted to tell you" I told him looking at the readings from the planet "We're picking an increase of seismic activity inside Epsilon 3" I informed him "It doubled its increasing rate about the same time the Hyperion ships began their approach" I continued, stepping aside to let him look at the readings for himself "But they're not natural quakes. It's a massive artificial disruption located near the planet's core"
"Serious and growing in magnitude" I sighed "According to our projections if this keeps on, the planet will start to break apart from the inside until it explodes" I paused to gather my thoughts and feelings about this mess "Commander, if that planet goes, it will take us with it. The Hyperion can get out of the way, we can't. We'll be ripped apart." With those words, Jeff paled and called for an emergency session in his office with Garibaldi and myself
It took Garibaldi two hours to get there and I couldn't help but ask if that was his concept of emergency, because if so, we probably would be in a lot more troubles than I had originally expected if the planet blew up. Of course, I had used that time to gather as much data as possible regarding the planet.
"Data from our latest scan confirm our suspicions" I told them taking off my jacket. I was beyond tired and worried about the well being of everyone on board the station "Epsilon 3 is a labyrinth of passages, and a highly advanced fusion reactor, some of which are 5 to 10 miles across" I sighed and sat across Jeff "The scale of it out standing. There's power up there to a level we've never dreamed of, for the past 5 hours we've been monitoring the gradual but definite change in all of the fusion reactors, they're all moving to its critical mass."
"A doomsday machine" simply said Garibaldi
"Exactly" I agreed "I'd say we have at most 48 hours before they blow up, taking the planet and us with it"
"How long would it take to evacuate the station?" asked Jeff
"We're talking about a quarter million humans and aliens" said Garibaldi stating the obvious problem there "even if we called every ship in the sector, it'd take at least 3 to 5 days"
"Have you informed Captain Pierce?" asked me Jeff sighing
I nodded "He insists it's one more reason why his people have to go down there"
"You opinion?" asked me Jeff in an almost defeated tone
"Not a chance" I told him seriously "This chain reaction started the last time they tried to land down there" I said explaining my reasoning "Now my guess is the planet is booby trapped to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. If they go down there again, we may not have 48hrs"
"So why didn't it start when the two of you went down there?" Asked Garibaldi
"Better guess… because there was someone down there still running the show" said Jeff voicing my thoughts too.
"The guy you brought back?" asked Garibaldi incuriously
"Exactly. As long as he remains unconscious they system keeps running on automatic" I said "heading towards self destruct, without anyone to stop it"
"Alright" said Jeff, clearly having reached a conclusion and decided on a course of action "We'll give it another 12 hours, see if we can find a way around this thing. If not, we'll evacuate the station, try to get as many as we can away from here"
"It'll be a panic, stampede at the docking bays" said Mr Garibaldi
"I know" stated Jeff "We'll hold back making an announcement as long as possible, but you better go ahead and tell your own people" he ordered us, clearly referring to B5's staff, however I would inform Maher to make sure he got the pack away safely "This could get messy. Get something to eat and catch an hour or so of sleep. We got a long road ahead of us"
Garibaldi promptly left and I stood hovering at Jeff's desk "So if we go down there it blows" I started grabbing my jacket "if we don't, it blows anyway, just a little later" I said donning on my jacket "It's a good thing I'm Russian, we're used to hopeless situations" I said in an attempt to joke. Jeff gave me a sad smile, clearly understanding my actions. I returned the smile and left his office, a few minutes later, while walking through Blue Sector trying to get to Zocalo to grab breakfast and to speak with Maher, I bumped into Ambassador Mollari.
"Ah, Lt Commander, just the person I've been looking for"
"Ambassador, this is not a good time" I warned him, I really was not in the mood to deal with his antics at the moment
"No, I imagine no" he half conceded "You been holding off on me" he added smugly
"I have no idea what you're talking about" I told him truthfully "The situation is status quo" I added a second later, trying to cover all bases there
"Oh, of course. An Earth war cruiser parked outside the station mysteriously trips to the planet beneath us" he said clearly fishing for information "Rumor's that you have found someone down there and brought him back here. This to you is status quo, yes? You must lead a very interesting life"
"Ambassador!" I snapped
"You did find something down there, didn't you?" He continued "Something valuable perhaps? I wish to remind you that my government has contributed substantial amounts of money into the station, we are entitled to an equal share of anything you find down there" he added, unknowingly making Captain Pierce right about what the alien races would do
"Ambassador, do you really want to know what's going on down there right now?" I asked glaring at him
I leaned on him as to whisper a secret, for which he leaned forward too. "Boom, boom. Boom, boom" I said loudly in his ear "Have a nice day" I told him before walking away from the confused centauri.
While I was having breakfast, Maher informed me of the chat Talia mentioned having with Mr Garibaldi, and it worried me what he learned about this secret Psi Corps facility in Syria Planum that both Talia and Michael seemed to know about. I asked him to make sure to send word to our people on Mars about it and try to gather information about it, as well as keeping an eye out to avoid being caught by the telepaths there. After that, I informed him that we might have to evacuate the station within a day from that moment, that the commander could issue the evacuation order any moment now, and if that happened he had to make sure that the pack left the station safe and sound, and he would have to take Talia with them, make sure she survived.
"We won't leave you Susan" he said stubbornly
"I'm ordering you to do so" I told him seriously, smelling Talia's scent approaching us "I'm serious. Keep her safe, keep everyone safe" I ordered him before turning to face Talia.
After a few pleasantries, Talia agreed to walk with me for a while "Want some company while you dose off?" asked me Talia when we reached my quarters. I looked up and before I could say anything she had me in a fierce hug "I won't pry, promise" she assured me "Just want to make sure you're ok. I'm worried about you" she added softly.
I nodded and led us to my bed chambers where I dropped off my jacket before laying down. I locked my eyes on Talia, studying her features, making sure I had all of them committed to memory. I could spend all day looking into those soulful blue eyes, eyes that looked upon me with such care and tenderness that it was frightening.
"I should ask you to leave" I finally told her in a low whisper
"I'm sorry, what?" she asked clearly surprised by my words "I don't understand. Is this about Mars and that cruiser stationed outside the station?" she asked me, which made me close my eyes and remind myself that rumors spread fast around this place.
"Not about Mars" I told her sighing before turning to lay on my side and face her. I patted the empty space on my bed, inviting her to join me, hoping that she would do so. I was relieved the moment she sat down next to me, and I made sure to shift our positions in order for me to lay my head on her lap, taking a deep breath in to fill my lungs with her scent. "Might as well get some rest before you have to leave" I sighed draping an arm around her legs.
"I don't have to leave, I told you I have the day off" she said stubbornly
"In a few hours Maher might come and get you." I yawned, trying to stay awake a little longer, if only to enjoy this moment that I was sure then, would be the most intimate I would get with Talia, whether we survived that crisis or not. "You have to go with him if he does come"
"Why? Where?" she asked concerned.
'Because I can't stand the thought of you being hurt or worse, dead' I thought before I could stop myself, I could only hope that she did not pick up on that stray thought "Because I want you to be safe, so away" I told her, closing my eyes and basking in the feeling of being so close to the woman I loved.
I ended up snuggling against her on my bed for a few hours, enjoying her company and her scent and just her in general. A couple of hours later my link chirped and I was asked to report to CnC, and was also informed that Dr. Franklin had sent word of our alien friend from Epsilon 3. I was afraid of leaving her to comply with my duties as an Earthforce officer, and therefore being unable to keep her safe, but I was not about to turn my back on Jeff and everyone else on the station. I would certainly do everything within my power to prevent Epsilon 3 from taking us down, but being realistic, it was a fat chance we had of actually stopping what was happening down there.
"Talia?" I called her before leaving my quarters. "I need you to remember what happened with Mueller" I said when her eyes met mine
"What do you mean?" she asked confused "Did he survive? Is that why you're worried?"
"No, he's dead" I said shaking my head "Just remember, it never is for nothing" I begged her
"What's really going on Susan?" she asked barely above a whisper
I sighed again "Boom" was what I told her before I headed to the Observation Dome.
As soon as I sorted things out on CnC, I called for the Commander and asked him to join me there, a little less than an hour after I sent him this message, he was back on the Dome with me.
"I got your message, what's up?" he asked me the moment he saw me, both of us walking over to my console
"Dr Franklin's reporting that the patient's awake and confirmed our information" I told him "If any ships land on the planet, it will self destruct"
"Did you tell the Hyperion?"
I sighed, I had done so and Captain Pierce gave me hell about that "Yes, unfortunately they figured out there's no jamming device" I said, ready to open the link with Captain Pierce I had previously prepared
"How can you tell?"
"Because they're about to launch an expedition the planet surface" I told him gesturing outside
"What!" Snapped Jeff looking at the fighters from the Hyperion "Get Pierce on the line!"
"Already done" I told him as I opened the link
"Captain, what the hell do you think you're doing?" Asked Jeff losing his temper "That planet will blow up if your team goes down there! We've just received confirmation"
"From a source with every reason to lie to protect what's down there" countered stubbornly Pierce "Our people have been monitoring the same activity you have and they assure us that we can safely land on the planet as long as normal precautions are taken" To which I thought that his people were a bunch of incompetent officers
"Damn it Captain! I have a quarter million people here!" Argued Jeff "I'm not gonna let you jeopardize their lives!"
"Commander! It is not your decision. We're going. What you gonna do? Shoot us down" Asked mockingly Pierce
"If that's what's required to protect the station, yes!" said firmly Jeff
"Excuse me?" Asked Pierce, apparently not believing Jeff's words
"Lt Commander, put Delta and Zeta flight on alert" Ordered me Jeff, ignoring Pierce "stand by for immediate launch"
"Orders?" I asked already giving the flights through the console, the orders to stand on alert
"Planetary blockade" stated the Commander
"Commander! If you order your ships to fire on my fighters, you can kiss your career goodbye" threatened Captain Pierce
"If you go down there, I will anyway" said simply Jeff
"You're bluffing" said Pierce
"Lt Commander, open fighter bay doors" continued Jeff
"Fighter doors, aye!" I said complying with his order
"Stand by for launch." He ordered me before turning his attention back to Captain Pierce "It's up to you Captain. As far as I'm concerned, I've nothing to lose" as soon as he said that, Captain Pierce ended the link "Status?"
"They're canceling launch" informed an Ensign
"Tell the fighters to stand down, but keep them ready in case we need them after all"
"We've got a ship coming through the jump gate" intervened Lt JG Corwin
As soon as the ship in question was out from hyperspace, it launched a beacon toward B5 and the Hyperion. "We're being scanned" I informed the Commander looking at my console "They're accessing our language and translation files"
"Everyone alright?" Asked Jeff as soon as the scan seemed to be over
"I think so" I told him, after the chorus of 'yes sir' "We've got a signal coming through" I said as I opened the link to said signal
"This is Takard… we… have… your… language…files…" Stated the alien that appeared to be in charge of the ship that had just scanned us "take it… to learn… to speak. We have... been 500 years searching… for this place. We… received it's call signal"
"Must be talking of the beacon that went off" I reminded Jeff
"This world belongs to us… We are last of our people… Searched 500 years… we will take!" continued the alien "Give you… 10 of your hours to move aside…We do not wish to kill… but we will if you not… let us take what is ours" and with that he cut the link
"Open channel to the-" started Jeff, but was cut off by Pierce over the link, broadcasting to us and the alien ship
"This is the Earth Alliance Cruiser Hyperion to intruder. This sector is under Earth jurisdiction. Any attempt to seize this planet by force or to launch an attack, will be met with deadly force. You have 9 hours in which to withdraw" he ended cutting the link
"Worst case of testosterone I've ever seen" I said as another set of alien ships came through the gate.
For some unknown reason to me, the day to day traffic coming to and from the station, had not diminished in the least, so I had to deal with the traffic and the crisis at the same time; and was taken aback by the fact that Jeff had not given the order to evacuate the station yet.
"We have another ship asking for leave" informed me Corwin
"Get them for launch ASAP" I ordered him "The more we get out now, the fewer we'll have to evacuate later"
"Garibaldi to CnC" came Garibaldi's voice over the link "Somebody just grabbed the patient you brought back from the planet. It's like he created a diversion in Blue 7" he said as Jeff walked over to stand at my side "By the time my guards got back, he was gone"
"He's not fit for travel" whispered Jeff "Hold off all traveling ships"
"It's too late" I told him "Several transports have already left and one's about to get to the gate in… wait a minute" I said looking at the reading in my console "where the hell did it go?"
"Signal coming from the enemy flag ship" stated Corwin opening the link
"You have ignored our warnings. You sent ships to our world. No more lies! Now we take what is ours and we stop your people!" said the alien leader
"He's right" I informed Jeff upon finding the ship that had not headed to the gate "the transport's heading down to the planet"
As the transport approached the planet, the alien ships started firing upon not only them, but the station and the Hyperion too. Captain Pierce returned fire first and by doing so pressured Jeff to give the order to launch the fighters and fire back too.
"My God! Whoever is in that shuttle is a mad man!" I said impressed by the maneuvers and ability displayed by the shuttle's pilot during his approach to the planet. The surface defenses were not activated by the shuttle and I had then an inkling to at least one of the people on board it. Mr Garibaldi, stubborn as he was, decided to take off after the shuttle with the pretense to bring it back, but ended up helping the perpetrators. Meanwhile the fight on orbit was still going on. After a few minutes of this, we had received considerable damage on the Cobra Bays, and as the alien ships prepared to fire again, an energy surge from the planet drained all of our systems from power, a second later an image projection of Dral, Delenn's friend, appeared in front of us.
"I am sending this message to all three parties involved in the struggle for control of this planet. It belongs to none of you. It belongs only to itself and to the future" he said vehemently "Commander Sinclair, the secrets buried here must remain a secret, it would give any race an advantage over all others, and it's in the interest of all races that none should get exclusive control of it. We entrust the safe keeping of this place to the Babylon 5 Advisory Council, we rely upon your guidance Commander. Make sure that this world is left alone until the time is right" continued Dral in a serious tone, leaving no room for arguing "If in light of self interest should be insufficient for the cause, understand this: the defense system of this planet is now fully operational, do not attempt to come here again. Any approach will be met up with resistance. Any ship attempting to land, will be destroyed. When the time is right, it will be here, waiting for you, but not until then. Good bye" he concluded as his image faded away and the energy was restored to our systems.
"Somebody better get Pierce on the link" ordered Jeff
"Commander, the enemy ships are moving again" informed us Lt JG Corwin "It's heading toward the planet"
"What? Didn't they get the message?" I asked confused by their action
"They got it" assured me Jeff "But I don't think they believed it"
The alien ships were destroyed within seconds of that. Mr Garibaldi came back with Londo and Delenn, who were the people responsible of taking the alien from Medlab and bringing Dral to the planet to take his place. A few hours later, Captain Pierce informed us that he received confirmation from President Santiago, confirming that Jeff had complete jurisdiction over Babylon 5 and this sector.
After that crisis was dealt with, I was able to comply with a request that Jeff had made and we managed to get a com channel to Mars for Mr Garibaldi. The person he was trying to contact, according to Jeff, was apparently the love of his life, and it turned out that she was injured but alive, however, she was married then. I informed Jeff about this before he passed on the link to Michael.
That night, when my shift finally came to an end and all the reports were filed, I headed to Talia's quarters and for the first time since we had met, I was the one who trapped her in a bone crushing hug; I did so with the sole purpose of reminding me that she was safe and the station had not blown up.
"Susan, are you alright?" she asked concerned and a little short of air, but returning the hug herself
I chuckled lightly and loosened the grip I had on her "Terrific" I told her taking a deep breath to fill my lungs with her pleasant scent "I'm fine. I just need to sleep for more than a couple hours, just wanted to make sure you were fine before I retired to my quarters" I said putting an end to the hug
"Why wouldn't I be?" she asked me frowning
I smiled at her and shook my head "No particular reason." I surprised us both by placing a kiss on her cheek then. "Good night Talia" I then headed to my quarters and as I laid sprawled on my bed, I decided that as soon as I had rested from this 'near boom' experience, I would ask her out on a date myself, an official and proper date.
A/N: Longest TW chapter so far, awesome right? Though I strongly suggest you do not get use to it. Hope it's length was worth the wait. As always, I'm wondering what you think so far. Like it? Hate it? Let me know. Remember to leave your reviews… they nourish my imagination.
My month trial is over this coming Friday and unfortunately I was told that even when I get the job done and I'm good at it, they prefer a guy for the positon, which is discrimination and illegal almost anywhere but here (another reason for me to try and flee my own Country). Anyway, job hunting starts again on Saturday, unless they change their minds here and either let me keep it or change me to another service.
So, thanks for staying with me.