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Disclaimer: Babylon 5 and its characters belonged to JMS and Babylonian Production. The author made no profit out of this. Feed back are all welcome at Sandy.

Note: It will take a while before the author could continue with the writing.


Beginnings

By Sandy

Part 1

Commander Susan Ivanova layed in bed waiting for her alarm to sound. When it did she dragged herself out of bed and into the small ensuit that served as a bathroom, and showered.

While the hot water rushed over her body she thought about the previous night. She hadn't slept much since a nightmare she couldn't even remember scared her awake. All she did remember was waking up whimpering and soaked in sweat, and completely scared out of her mind. She had layed in bed half of the night for fear of the dream and was a little more edgy than usual.

When she got out of the shower she dressed in her Earth Force uniform and was about to go and make a cup of coffee when her link chimed.

"Ivanova go" she said into it.

"Commander, come to my office instead of of C&C. Corwin has been alerted and has taken command." Captain Sheridan said.

"Yes sir" she replied.

"Good, Sheridan out" the link went dead and Susan was left to think about why she had to meet the captain so early in the morning.

"I need coffee," she mumbled as she walked into her kitchenette. She searched around in her cupboards before finding the coffee and making a cup.

She finished the coffee and looked up at her chrono. She decided to skip breakfast so she could get to the meeting on time. Plus she had spent most of the night up and her stomach was slightly queazy.

She left her quarters and headed toward the transport tube. When on, she told it to take her to the level on which the Captains office was located. When the transport tube stopped she stepped out and started in the direction of Sheridans' office. The whole way thinking **what's going on**.

Susan stepped into his office and saw that he wasn't in. She sat down in the chair oppisite of the captains desk and waited. Five minutes later he entered with Talia Winters, the resdent commercial telepath, at his side.

"Captain, Ms. Winters," she said in way of a greeting. She didn't like the fact that the telepath was there. Not that she didn't like the telepath it was just that she made her as nervous as hell.

"Hello Commander" Talia said.

"Ahh commmander how's your morning going?" Sheridan asked cheerily.

"Fine" She replied. The Captain frowned at that. Usually she was so moody in the morning not quiet and tired looking as she looked today. He shook his head and went around to the front of his desk and sat down. He gestured for Talia to do the same. She sat down in the chair to the left of Susan.

"What did you want to see me for, sir?" Susan asked, pointidly not looking at Talia.

"Well actually I have an assignment for you" he said, looking closely at Susan.

"What kind of assignment?" she questioned curiously. Her CO was being a little elusive about this. He usually just came out and said what was gong on.

"This came straight from Earthgov. See Ms. Winters is needed for an important meeting on Earth. It's some sort of big thing that's kinda secret and supposedly if anything got out about it, some people would go after Ms. Winters and the other telepaths involved. And it's important enough for psi-corps to demand that Ms. Winters have an escort and Earthgov gave them pick of any Earth Force personel on Babylon 5 other than myself. They wanted someone high up on the roster and they picked you." He stated.

Susan sat there for a moment absorbing the information.

"Uh... so all I have to do is to escort her to Earth then I'm done and I can come back?" she deadpanned.

"Yes, you'll take her there and stay with her and bring her back." He replied, slightly surprised she didn't immediatly refuse.

"Ok when do we leave and how long will it take?" she asked, to tired to argue. She knew she wouldn't win even if she tried.

"We'll be gone for about 3 weeks. The shuttle will be leaving from launch bay 7 today at 5:00 earth standard." Talia put in for the first time since saying hello.

"Ok, may I go back to my quarters and pack?" she said, not turning  to Talia.

"Yes your dismissed." Sheridan replied waving his hand.

Susan stood up and walked to the door and was about to walk out when she turned.

"Oh and John? Have a good time doing my job ok?" she said this and left. Talia had to suppress a laugh at the captains face when he heard that.

"That went well" she said lightly.

"Yes I did," Sheridan said back, "but something wasn't right with her. She was to quiet and looked a little more tired than usual." Talia nodded distractidly.

"Well I guess I'll be going now" she said and got up and left.

When she was gone Sheridan broke out in laughter. "I wish I could be there to see those two kill each other." he said through his laughter.

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Susan sat on her couch later that day watching ISN. Nothing important was on but she wasn't paying attention. She was thinking about the next three weeks. *What are you worried about? You get to spend three whole weeks with a beautiful-* a voice in head was saying chirpily. *oh shut up* she snapped at it.

She looked at the chrono and saw that it was time for her to get down to the launch bay. She sighed and got up and called for the vid to be stopped and well as the lights. She walked out of her quarters and quickly made her way to the launch bay. She didn't need tok worry about her luggage because some sercurty men had come had taken them down.

She had talked to Sheridan again and had gotten all the details of her assignment. Since the shuttle was small andcould be managed with only one person on board and was basically a self fly machine, Susan would be piloting. She would take them into hyperspace and she would spend 5 days alone with Talia. They would come out of hyperspace at the Mars jumpgate and then Susan would take them to Earth. They would land in the Capitoal Geneva and stay at the Jeanne De Arc hotel until the trip was over.

Susan didn't think it would take three weeks to go there, go to a meeting, and leave but she had orders and she would follow them.

Susan stepped out of the transport tube and into launch bay 7, looking for Talia. She found her standing next to a couple of men in black uniforms. It took her a second to recognize the uniform as psi-corp issued but when she did she was angry.

She walked up to them and glared at the men, who in turn looked down at their feet. She turned to Talia, who was looking over a data pad.

"What are they doing here?" she said, jerking a thumb at the two men.

"Uh? Oh they flew the shuttle, that we're taking, here and they're taking over my appointments while I'm gone," she replied looking up from the data pad. She had to stiffle a smirk when the commander scrunched her nose and looked around the launch bay.

"Here's your schedual guys. All the instuctions and appointments are on this pad, have a good time" Talia said, handing the data pad to the blond haired of the two men.

"Is our stuff already loaded?" Susan asked when the two men had walked off.

"Yeah, everythings packed up and ready to go." Talia said and turned to walk up the docking ramp. Susan followed her up and looked around the shuttle before sitting down at the pilot seats.Her eyes swept the console and familarized herself with the layout. She noted that it was a standard issue and that she knew it pretty well.

"Get strapped in commander your launch time is almost up." Corwins' voice said over the com.

"Alright" she said into it before getting up and going to the back "living quarters" area where Talia currently was. The  shuttle consisted of a small kitchenette, a small built in table, a bolted down couch, a bedroom with 4 beds, and a very small bathroom. Susan found Talia in the bedroom rummaging around in a bag.

"We have to be strapped in about now" Susan said, making Talia jump.

"Ok" She replied and zipped up the bag and stuck it under one of the beds. She followed Susan up to the front of the shuttle, named PRIAM OF TROY, and sat down in the co-pilots seat.

"Get ready for launch." the launch supervisor said calmly.

"Are you strapped in?" Susan asked Talia. When she nodded, Susan told the launch supervisor that they were ready to take off. The docking ramp was removed and the flight take off panels opened, everything waiting and ready to go.

"Your clear, commander. Have a nice trip" Crowin said as the shuttle left the stations launch bay and headed out into the saten of space.

"Oh I will Corwin. I'll have a great time" Susan said sarcasticly before shutting down communications. She skillfully moved the shuttle in and out of the other shuttles.

When Talia had heard that her mood had dimmed. She had been hoping that this three weeks with the beautiful russian would bring them closer together. Much closer if she had it her way. But at hearing what she said she doubted that the commander would reciprocate the feelings she had.

Talia sighed and contented herself with watching the commander pilot the shuttle. She watched has Susan's hands moved over the control panel as if they had been there all their lives, thinking that she had beautiful hands. The commander was so wrapped up in piloting that she didn't notice the telepaths' intent stare. Which served Talias' purpose perfectly.

When they had exited traffic and entered hyperspace, Talia got up from the co-pilots seat and went to the back and started looking through her bag again. She was looking for a letter that was from a friend on Mars. She had thought that she had put in with some other things in the small carrier bag but couldn't seem to find it. When she had searched the bag completely and found nothing she had rolled her eyes in annoyance and sat down on the bed.

She looked up at the chrono and saw that they would be eating in half an hour, at 6:00. She decided to look at what the choices were for dinner. She got up from the bed and walked in the the middle part of the ship that was considered the dining-lounge area. She gazed around the kitchenette and saw that the selection was synth'a'la'mode, basically a plate full of rubber-tasting mystery.

"So what's on the menu?" Susan's voice said, making Talia jump. She turned to find the Commander standing 5 feet behind her.

"Oh well a synth-makes anything you want with the taste you don't want," She said, "and um.. water."

"Yum. All the comforts of a 5 star hotel." Susan replied, and sat down on the couch. Talia nodded and got a glass of water. She had all the sudden felt hot.

"So what is this meeting about and when is it?" Susan asked as she propped her feet up on the bolted down coffee table.

"The meeting is about a project I worked on when I was younger, that dealt with minor empathy, which as you know is the beginning of telepathy,  in almost all humans. It was a research type project and when we launched it some people got angry." Talia said. She had moved from behind the counter to the couch and was now facing Susan.

"Why?" Susan said puzzled.

"Well we were asking for people to submit to some very deep scans, for money of course. And while the scans were being done we would throw tests through the peoples minds. One of the people that submitted to a deep scan had claimed that the psi-cops that were involved had put things in his mind. Supposedly they were sending thoughts that would break down the defience mechinism in every human, thus making them receptable to almost anything. The man who had said this gathered others who were involved and they claimed the same thing. It created a lot of problems with the project so it had to shut down. But not before some of the people cornered and killed two telepaths that had helped in the project. They were lower than a p-6 so did not have the 'feel' for things to come." Talia explained.

"That's why I needed an escort because of the people killed and the fact that some threats have re-surfaced and the last time it was very dangerous to be a telepath under the rating of p-6 to be alone. But I personally think that nothings going to happen. The first time around was 5 years ago why would they surface now?" She finished.

"Hmmm, well ok. Bet that the psi-cops did send those thoughts, they have it in 'em." She said dully, thinking over the information she had just recieved.

Talia had to bite back the defence that was so in her nature, since she knew that Susan was most likely right. Talia knew now that the corps were not the kind loving organazation that she had precieved them to be all her life. They did things like what she had mentioned just because they could. The fact that she had to fight back the defence that was so natural actually sickened Talia.

"Well I'm hungry, do you want to eat know or later?" She asked, changing the subject away from psi-corps.

"Uh.. now. I'm kinda hungry myself but not for that synth stuff, might as well get it over with now." Susan replied getting up from the couch and walking into the kitchenette with Talia right behind her.

They ate in realative silence and when they were done, went in different directions. Susan had gone back up front to the pilots seat and was reading a book she had been wanting to finish while Talia had stayed in the 'lounge' going over some data from some time ago.

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Later, around 11 ES(earth standard) Susan walked into the bedroom to find Talia laying on a bed, asleep with her data pad still in her hand. Susan stood watching Talia, she had never gotten a chance to watch her in such a manner before and was reveling in it. She watched how Talias' lips moved slightly when she breathed and how her lashes layed against her porcelean skin.

Susan watched her for a moment longer before walking up to the bed and taking the data pad out of Talias' hand and covering her up with a blanket. She set the data pad down and went to where her bags were. She pulled out a navy blue saten nightgown and went into the bathroom. She showered quickly, already missing her real water shower, and got ready for bed.

When she climbed into the surprisingly soft bed, Susan remembered agian the nightmare. She didn't know if she would have it again and if so if she remember it this time but was dreading that happening. It was just a dream yet it scared her more than any other dream she had ever had, even the ones about her mother. Susan closed her eyes and tried to forget the other nights happenings, she was soon asleep.

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Talia woke up feeling scared and uneasy. She knew that it was her dream that was making her feel so frightened, which meant that it would have to be Susan's. When she was thinking this she heard a slight moan from across the room. For a second she thought that the moan was nothing until she heard another, this time a little more louder and a definate hint of pain.

Talia was at a loss at what to do but when a small "help" came from across the room she made up her mind. She got up and noticed that she still had on the suit that she had been wearing during the day, but pushed that from her mind when another whimper came from where Susan was. She walked over and saw that Susan was laying in bed  with the blankets pushed off her and the sheets in her death grip, her eyes were shut tightly and she was shaking her head.

Talia was almost overwhelmed with the pain and sorrow when she touched Susan, but took her hand and tried to wake her up anyway. She felt the hand she held start to tremble and was soon calling out to Susan to wake up. When that didn't work she shook

Susans' shoulder. Susans' eyes opened slightly and Talia saw a vulnerablity she had never before seen in the stronge commanders' eyes.

"Susan are you ok?" Talia asked softly.

"Wha.." She said as she tried to sit up. "Oh god" she said as she fell back down due to a wave a naesea. She lifted the hand that was free to her stomach trying to calm the ragin storm that had settled in and made itself at home. She shut her eyes again in effort but when she opened them she was greeted by a very concerned Talia. She blinked a few times before trying once again to sit up and this time was succesful. Talia let go of her hand trying not to let the a blush surface.

"I... yeah I'm fine" she said, her voice marred by sleep.

"Are you sure? That must of been some nightmare" Talia replied lightly, trying to ease the situation.

"Yeah I'm fine.. uh what time is it?" Susan said, taking shallow breaths to calm her erratic heartbeat.

"Um... 3:36" Talia breathed, looking at the Chrono on one of the nightstands.

Susan sighed, " We should get more sleep, I'm sorry I woke you up."

"It's ok" She said as she got up from her knees and went over to where her bags were packed. She didn't want to sleep in the suit she had on it was very uncomfortable. She pulled out a cotton night shirt and and bottoms and went into the adjoining bathroom and changed. When she came out Susan was already laying back and had her eyes closed.

Talia smile faintly before getting back into bed. She  a goodnight and recieved a small grunt  in reply. She thought about why Susan would be having nightmares that would reach her in her sleep. They must be really bad. Talia knew that Susan would probably never tell her what they were about or let her help her with them. Talia sighed and slipped off back to sleep.

Susan wasn't having such an easy time going back to sleep. The dream she had wasn't like the one that she had on the previous night but rather a reacurring nightmare about her mother. She hated that she had waken up Talia, she didn't want her to think she was childish for having nightmares. Susan turned over on her side and tried to sleep again. She was successful and was soon in the nothingness of the non-dreamworld sleep.

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Susan woke up for a second time that morning but this time not due to nightmares but noise. She cracked open her eyes and saw that Talia was up and making her bed. She wasn't dressed in a bussiness suit as Susan usually saw her but in cream colored pair of pants and a light tee shirt. Susan smiled at the little priviledge she was given, even if it wasn't known to the person giving. She decided that since she could she would sleep and turned over and went back to sleep.

Talia got finished with making her bed and turned to look at the commander. Her auburn hair was spread out on her pillow and her back was facing Talia. She looked beautiful even if she couldn't see her face. Talia smiled and let the room. She walked into the lounge and sat down on the couch. She saw the book that Susan had been reading the other night and couldn't resist the urge to see what it was.

She picked it up and read the title: 'Soul of the Fire' by Terri Goodkind. She read the inside flap and was surprised. The book was about a whole other world that had wizards and wars. It was part of a series called The Sword of Truth. She didn't think that Susan read fantasy. She figured that she'd read something.. well she never thought about it but she didn't expect this. She saw that the book had been writed in the 1990's along with it's counter parts-Wizards First Rule, Stone of the Tears, Blood of the Fold, and Temple of the Winds.  

She read the first chapter and was amazed at how well writen the book was. She was slightly confused, but that was due to the fact that the book was the 5th in a series and she hadn't read the other books. She put the book down because she knew that if she got into it she would never put it down.

She stood up and decided to eat breakfast. She walked into the kitchenette and got synth-eggs and synth-toast and synth-bacon and sat down at the small table. She was just about to take a bite of the bland food when Susan walked in. Talia quickly lost her breath. Susan was wearing a navy blue saten night gown that hung of her slim shoulders and had hardly any back. Her bare shoulder blades and lower back were well defined and a natural light tan just added to her beauty.

Talia got herself staring and looked down at her breakfast. She took a bite and made a face at the taste. Just as bad as it was when she was little. Didn't anyone try to improve synth machines?

"Morning" She said after she had swallowed the awful food.

"Mmmm hmmm" was the reply she got.

"The food's bad as suspected" she offered.

"Yeah" Susan said slowly before walking into the kitchenette and getting a synth made coffee and synth-toast. She sat down opposite Talia and slowly sipped her coffee. She almost gagged, the stuff was so bad, but she swallowed it anyway for want of of anything that would wake her up.

They finished up and spent the day doing nothing really. Playing cards here or there with the deck that Susan had brought or reading books that they had brought with them. But a mostly uneventfull day.

The next few days were spent like that until Sunday when they were about to exit hyper space. Talia was sitting in the co-pilot chair watching the read swirls when she heard a beep come from the console. She wondered what it was but when it didn't sound agian she went back to staring into hyperspace. When Susan came back and sat down the beep came again and this time Talia was slightly worried because of the look on Susan's face. She seemed puzzeled and a little bit worried.

"What is it?" Talia asked hastily.

"Uh? oh it says there's a glitch in the reactor. That's not to good, I'll have to go take a look." Susan said distractidly, eyes sweeping the console looking for anything else that may be wrong. Nothing but the beep.

"Ok" Talia replied.

Susan got up from the pilots' seat and went to a small floor door near the air lock and pulled it up. She stepped down onto the stairs and made her was down. Once down into the reactors' area she went to where the glitch was supposed to be and check all the systems and machinary. She found nothing out of place so she went back up to the top part of the shuttle.

"What was wrong? Did you fix it?" Talia asked hurriedly.

"Must have been a malfuntion on the computers part because nothings wrong down there. don't worry, " Susan paused and looked at the chrono, "it looks like in about 15 minutes we'll be reaching the Jupitor Jumpgate, we better get strapped in and ready."

"Yes that's probably a good idea" Talia agreed.

They sat down in the  pilot and co-pilot seats and strapped themselves tightly in. Susan watched the console making sure nothing was out of place whereis Talia contented herself with stealing glances at Susan.

When they came out of the jumpgate the voice of the commanding officer came over the comm-

"Priam of Troy please proceed to docking bay 3. You may refuel and then be on you way. Good day" The clipped and dull voice said.

"Yes, thank you" Susan said, glad that they didn't have to wait.

She maneuvered the shuttle into the docking bay and sat it down gently. She unstrapped herself and made her way to the air lock and opened it. She waited until the docking ramp was pulled up before getting off of the shuttle as fast as she could. She was extemely bored and wanted something to do.

Talia followed her out and onto the docking/launch platform. She looked around and saw that other than 2 shuttles they were the only ones there. She looked over at Susan who was talking to a technician and thought that after seeing her in casual attir for some 5 odd day, seeing her in her uniform again wasn't to her liking.

Susan was talking to the tech named Josh about how long feuling and such would take.

"Two, three hours at the most. You could go to the cafe that's down awhile and have some luch if you wanted to." Josh said politely.

"Thanks, I think that's what we'll do." Susan said and extracted herself from Joshs' company so he could do his job.

"Talia, do you want to go have something to eat?" Susan said. The last few days had loosened them up and were now on a first name basis.

"Sounds great" Talia replied.

"Ok let's go" Susan said leading the way off the platform and into a transport tube, where she called for level 3.

"You know your way around here, how come?" Talia asked

"I was stationed here for a brief 3 months, but not to hard to remember- level 1 is official personel only, level 2 is the official personel's quarters, level 3 is the merchants guild , and level for is the docking and reactors type stuff. not to big but it's only a small station so you know" Susan told her.

"Level 3" the mechanical voice stated.

"Come one we're gonna eat and then we're gonna look around and then get back on that damn shuttle and fly to earth. ok with you?" suand asked.

"Yeah food looksie flight and good old earth, let's go" Talia repeated

"Ok then let's eat." she said as they walked into a small resturant and sat down.

The waiter came around and handed them menu's. Susan looked it over and decided on the bacon burger and fries, since she hadn't had real food like the kind they cooked here in ages. Talia picked a lunch sandwich and chips. They talked until the food came and when they were finished and heading out the door they were quite happy.

"So we take a look around and then off to good old Earth?" Talia asked again

"Yep off to Earth. That's where the fun'll start." Susan said

 

Part 1 Part 2

"Delta leader to delta wings, show's over. Let's collect the stragglers and return to base." ( Sighs and Portents )