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: sadly 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 is a FEMLASH portraying Susan's and Talia's relationship, 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.
Once again 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…
Chapter 35 (61)
For some unexplained reason, Mr Garibaldi decided to tell John about the B5 Triangle. It was an area in Grey Sector that even us wolves tried to avoid whenever we went for a run down there. Most of the 'Ghost' stories on board the station, were actually in part because of us. While it is true that we had been going frequently to Epsilon 3 below us, or other worlds near Babylon 5, to stretch our limbs, it was also true that it was tricky to manage the transport of so many people back and forth without raising suspicions, as it was, Garibaldi was still snooping around in order to find anything amiss with the family business. So I was surprised when John asked me about that particular location on the station.
"What can you tell me about 'The Triangle'? asked me John clearly excited at the prospect of a mystery to solve
"Who told you about it?" I asked in a serious tone, still upset at what he had pulled against my mate, but secretly amused by his antics.
"Mr. Garibaldi told me how there are registers of batter change, strange lights, weird noises, people vanishing…" he said listing out "I want to know if it's your people" he said then.
"No. That particular portion of Grey Sector, even we avoid it." I told him truthfully
"Big bad wolf is scared?" he asked jokingly but that did not sit well with me, so I pinned him by neck to the wall.
"There is something there that puts on edge. If we go, we are more violent." I explained. Which was somewhat truth. The few of us that had ventured to that sector of the station, we were more on edge after that. "You want to have violent wolves on board? You just have to keep putting our mates on harm's way" I told him before releasing him and walking away.
The Captain of course decided that figuring out what was going on around the B5 Triangle, was a good way to alleviate the stress he had been feeling due to the daily booms. It troubled me a little because I still cared for him. Which is the reason I believed his report after his visit to Medlab.
"Hate is a weapon used against you" told me Kosh on our session.
"I don't hate him" I told him truthfully knowing full well that he was talking about John. "I hate what he did, I feel pissed off at him"
"Free yourself from anger and control you will gain" He said walking away.
I was mussing over his words and trying to find a way to not feel anger anymore, when John came walking casually into CnC.
"Commander… everything in order?"
"Remarkably so… and it's beginning to worry me" I added because there had not been any boom situations to solve. Minor Alien conflicts on board. Nothing huge other than the increasing traffic of ships to and from B5. And no visits in the last month or so from the Rangers.
"Do you always worry when things are going well?" he asked amused
"I don't have time to worry when they're not" I said as we were told that the Jumpgate was online, so I focused on that. "It's the Arkati" I informed the crew "She's pre-registered, route her to Bay 8" however I was momentarily assaulted by John's perspective of the controls in front of us, he was seeing everything in a different range of lights, it was almost blinding and was causing a headache to both of us, but he took a moment to compose himself and the assault in my mind finished. However he was still experimenting some sort of hallucination.
"What the hell?" he asked feeling pain and fear at whatever he was seeing outside
"Sir?" I asked confused and worried for him, and getting frustrated by the fact that now I was receiving nothing mentally from him. I could not for the life of me, see whatever it was that he was seeing.
"Anna" he whispered a moment before he jumped as a reaction of that vision
"Captain, what is it?"
"Station 6, go hypertrack. I want that whole area scanned, right now!"
"What area sir?" I asked for clarification as he kept pointing outside he turned around the Dome "Captain? Is something wrong?"
"I… I have to see to something" he said after a moment of hesitation before leaving the Dome.
Vladimir told me that he heard John explained to Stephen what he thought he had seen. The Icarus, the ship that his wife and Mr Morden had been on board on, exploding right in front of his eyes outside B5
"Garibaldi to all officers on board, I want a location on Captain Sheridan" came through the officers links a few hours later, just a moment before I was informed that there was a fighter prepping for launch.
"Delta 1 why are you prepping for launch?" I asked curious for the reason, there was nothing programmed "Delta 1 please respond, this is Commander Ivanova" I added
"Ivanova, this is Sheridan" came through the comm. system.
"Captain? What are you doing?"
"Just going for a little spin, there's no need to worry" he said oddly too calm "I'll be back before you know it. Authorization code Gamma Six Six Zed Niner." Came through as he cut the channel
"Delta 1 is launching" told me Lt Corwin less than a minute later
"Ivanova to Garibaldi… I found the Captain" I told him. A few minutes later he was also launching and following the Captain.
It turned out that there was an Alien life form living in the B5 Triangle, which ended up possessing John and forcing him to go to Sector 14 in order to be released and go back home. The Alien communicated in the form of dreams or hallucinations, but it just wanted to go home. Curious enough his home was a temporal anomaly, in which B4 appeared to be trapped.
"It was a life form" said John at his quarters that night, where Stephen, Garibaldi and myself were with him. "Sentient but completely alien."
"What was it doing in your head?" asked Garibaldi
"It was trying to survive and to go home" said John sighing. "It must have come through that rift in Sector 14 and somehow ended up in the Markhab 's body I found… it drove him mad"
"How did you figure out what it wanted from you?" I asked trying to understand the situation
"The images I got… fear, loss, home… somehow he was sending me a message and touching emotions deep inside of me, which mirrored his own state. I was actually seeing what it felt"
"This is fantastic!" said clearly excited Stephen "For this creature to not show up in my scans, it would have to be completely different from every Alien species we know! Possibly gaseous in nature, or maybe even pure energy" he said in wonder "And then somehow made an empathic connection with you"
"I think he's excited" I voiced out loud feeling as excited as he was.
"Whoa excited?! We could be discovering a completely new life form from here" he added "Since you helped him, do you think we might be able to contact it again?" he asked John
"Ahhh, no thanks" declined John "I prefer to be only slightly insane"
"Yeah. Don't we all?" asked Garibaldi. But it troubled me that he was feeling upset about it, yet his demeanor was the same as usual.
A few minutes after that, we all decided to leave, however I stayed back in order to talk to John.
"Ivanova, I know you hate me right now" he said
"Why everyone thinks that?" I asked under my breath. "I don't hate you John. I hate that you used Talia without considering repercussions" I said truthfully "I have always followed your lead because I know you value life. All life" I continued seriously "But you disregarded her life for your own personal needs…. Look, I understand why you did it, I really do understand it. But I hate you felt the need to trick her into that"
"She did not want to help me at the time" he said defensively
"Does not matter. You put her in harm's way and that is something I find really hard to forgive" I said before leaving his quarters and headed to mine.
Things with John the following days were not the best on a personal level, but we were getting there, I was getting there back to trust him. Thanks to Kosh's training and also thanks to Talia, who kept reminding me that John was my friend and he had not meant harm to herself. However, I think the turning point when he mostly won back my trust on a personal level with him, was when the new Commercial telepath finally arrived on the station.
"Susan" he said catching up to me on my way to CnC "I would not go to the Dome today if I were you. I will take care of everything there"
"Why?" I asked suspicious of his intent "What's going on?"
"Just handle all the diplomatic meetings and issues today, and I'll handle the traffic and welcome of Bester's new pet" he said walking towards the Dome
I am thankful I did not have to deal with that particular issue at the time. His name was Jean Christophe, he was French, and as Bester had promised a P7. I was surprised when I felt a subtle scan on my mind the next morning as I headed for my office in Red Sector before my shift started. I looked around and saw him, smirking, knowing he had just done that on purpose. I almost jumped him but was stopped by Ambassador Kosh, who stepped in front of me
"Remember to let go of your anger to gain control" and then he walked away.
It was easier said than done, but after talking to Talia the last couple of weeks about this, we came to realize that Kosh was right, whenever I felt angry or upset; it was when I had less control over my telepathic abilities.
"Captain, you got a minute?" I asked John a couple of days after that, when I saw him signing reports at the dome.
"Sure, what's up?"
"We've got a Markhab's transport 10 hours overdue. I've tried to reach her, but she's not responding. So I'd like to send a flight of starfuries out to her last known position… see if there's a problem"
"Better to be sure. I agree" he said nodding
"Good, I'll sent the zeta squadron as soon as Lt Keffer gets back" I said turning to leave
"I thought Zeta Squad was on break" he said making me stop and turn back to him
"It is, but sometime ago Keffer decided to follow up on the rumors regarding the Ghosts on hyperspace. So he's been spending some of his free time in Hyperspace" I saw him pale at my comment.
"Tell Lt Keffer to return to base. And I want all freelance expeditions curbed from now on" and I knew that if I had any doubts about his chat with Delenn and Kosh, now there were none. "And his fighter is to be recharged and ready to go within the hour"
"Yes, sir" An hour later I was debriefing the fighter pilots on the mission. "So we don't know what the problem is. There may not be a problem. But we would like it to check it out, just in case"
"Where has her last position?" asked Keffer
"Sector 23, grid 230, by 9 by 40" I provided
"Cargo?" Again Keffer. He was a good officer. Looking at the big picture through the small details.
"Nothing major, as far as we know" I said "The Kar'tii is a civilian transport. It left the Markhab homeworld 12 days ago. Her homing beacon's linked to your scanner, so you shouldn't have a hard time finding her. Good Hunting" I said dismissively and as the pilots were walking away to get ready, I asked Lt Keffer to stay. "Just one more thing… the Captain wants a moratorium to your expeditions into hyperspace" And honestly also did I. It was not safe for him to go hunting these Shadows.
"Come on Commander, it's on my own time!" he argued
"That's not the issue" I told him honestly "Things are getting a little nuts around here right now. You should know that better than anyone else…"
"But there's something out there" he countered
"Yes" I agreed completely "Yes there's something out there. But there's also something in here. And something in here is me giving you a direct order"
"Commander, I just…"
"If there's some part of that sentence that you don't understand Lieutenant, I'm happy to explain it over the next four months while the squadron goes out on missions without you"
"Understood" he relented clearly disappointed "We'll be back in a few hours"
It pained me to see him look so defeated, but I knew it was for the best. It was for his and the station's protection. By this point I just wondered when John, or Kosh for that matter, would tell me directly about the Shadows, then again, Kosh being Telepath himself surely knew I already knew.
As he promised, soon Keffer's squadron was coming back through the jumpgate, bringing in tow the Markhab's ship
"Zeta 1 to Babylon Control"
"This is Babylon Control, go ahead Zeta 1" I said through the link
"We're bringing the transport in for inspection, recommend full medical team. And you better let the Captain know, I've got an ugly feeling about this" said Keffer somewhat shaken if the tone in his voice was indication
I made arrangements for the Markhab ship to be docked in Bay 14. And just when the medical team was about to board it, the Markhab representative showed up denying all access to it, stating that they had jurisdiction over their own kind.
"Sheridan, go" came the Captain's response as soon as I paged him
"We've got a problem in Bay 14 Captain. I think you better get over there"
"Will do" he said ending his link
Stephen was really upset when he contacted me letting me know about his findings with the Markhab's bodies on Medlab, so I told him about the Markhab ship now waiting to be boarded. He asked me to meet him there. Stephen and I walked into the Bay at the same time, Captain was already there.
"You mean the right to hide the truth" he accused the Markhab representative that was stopping us from going into the ship "What the hell did you think you were doing?"
"Stephen" I tried to calm him
"I need some privacy here" was Stephen's response. Making the medical team to leave the bay.
"Stephen" tried the Markhab too
"You don't want us to board that ship because you suspect the same thing that I do" said Stephen sternly
"Which is?" asked annoyed the Captain
"We've had 4 dead Markhab in the last 3 days" I told the Captain
"Dr. Lazarenn has certified them all death by natural causes" continued Stephen "Nothing jumped out about them in a cursory autopsy, so I let it go. But I just finished a more detailed examination of the bodies. They were killed by some plague or infectious disease that was brought here by your people. Now I want to how terminal and how contagious!"
"It is 100% terminal" stated defeated Dr Lazarenn "and 100% contagious" With that statement, he finally allowed the medical and security teams on board the ship in order to retrieve the bodies. All personnel on the case was ordered to use face masks and to be extra careful with the processing of the bodies. Stephen left with Lazarenn, still arguing about his approach to this outbreak.
According to Stephen's final report, Lazarenn had told him that the disease had appeared on the Markhab homeworld a century before. On a small isolated Island known for living in excess. They Markhab believe then that only the immoral would get infected, seeing as by the time they reached the island, there was no one left alive to spread it. Then, about a year before the events in Babylon 5, the disease had appeared again and had spread along the galaxy because they still believed that by being pure they would not get it. All the Markhabs were prohibited by their government to speak about it. But a few doctors had been working on a way to find a cure.
So Stephen started to work with him on ways of finding a cure, because by that point they did not know at all if the disease was infectious beyond their own species. That is how the command and medical staff found ourselves sitting around John's conference table discussing the situation.
"Dr. Lazarenn says the incubation period can last several weeks or few days. Until then, it is absolutely invisible" Said Stephen handing out a copy of his report and action plan to all of us. "Once the symptoms appear the patient expires within 24 hours"
"And there's no known cure" I added
"Not yet at least" continued Stephen "Now the problem is between the time the disease shows up and termination you only got a few hours. And you can't know how the disease works if you can't follow it over time"
"Do you know how far this thing has spread?" asked Garibaldi
"Until we know otherwise we have to assume that the entire Markhab community has been infected" provided Stephen
"What about everybody else?" asked now a worried John
"That's the big question" stated Stephen "Is the disease contagious outside their species, and if so, is it transmitted through air, touch, body fluids or other means? If it is physically transmitted we might have a chance at containment" he said giving everyone a little bit of hope "It it's airborne… given the air here is recycled, the entire station might be infected" and there he went to crash down the little hope he had given…
"Doctor, it is your jurisdiction" started John after a moment of heavy silence in the room "What's the plan?"
"I want every Markhab on board this station brought in for a complete medical examination
"Well doc they'll scream bloody murder" provided Garibaldi "They will say that we are implying that they are immoral…"
"We have to know how far this thing has spread" said Stephen interrupting Garibaldi "and more importantly we have to find someone who is infected before the disease becomes terminal so we can follow its progress"
"What kind of symptomology are we looking for?" asked Dimitri
"Chronic dizziness, acute sore throat, low blood pressure, swelling of lymph nodes and surface glands. It's all in my report" said Stephen "Now once this disease comes out of dormant state it hits straight for the central nervous system where it somehow starts shutting down all neural pathways that control respiration and heartbeat. Then… inside 24 hours paralysis and death"
"Commander Ivanova, I'm hereby issuing an executive order placing Babylon 5 under quarantine" ordered John "Incoming ships will be diverted elsewhere. No ships will be allowed to leave until we determine just how far this disease is likely to spread"
"Are we gonna tell people why they can't leave?" I asked him
"I don't think we have a choice" stated John
"What about segregating the Markhabs from the rest of the population?" asked Garibaldi
"No no no" said Dimitri "If the disease is airborne then moving them into a different part of the station is not going to solve the problem"
"All the air here is recycled" reminded us Stephen "If it turns out that the disease is not transmissible to other species then confining them to one area will speed up the infection among the Markhab community without good reason"
"On the other hand when word gets out we've got the best next thing to the Black Death on the station, it's gonna scare everybody" argued Garibaldi "And when people get scared they start looking for scapegoats. If we can keep the Markhabs all together in one place then my people can protect them. Because trust me, this is gonna get real ugly, real fast"
"No, there's still too many variables, too many unknowns" said John "I need answers doctor and as fast as you can get them. That's all. Garibaldi. You're gonna cancel all leaves for security personnel. I've a hunch you're going to need them"
And of course Garibaldi was right about the chaos and riots. People started to panic as soon as the first sign informing of the quarantine was posted on customs. Security personnel were divided in two tasks… Keeping the order at customs and guarding the bays, and rounding up all the Markhabs on board for testing to Medlab.
Delenn and Talia were strolling through Zocalo that day, when they stumbled upon a Markhab child that had just found her dead father. However I did not know about it until later on. At the time I was busy at CnC diverting all incoming traffic. I called Talia to let her know that I might not make it home that night because of this situation.
Also, at the same time that this was happening, the Markhab Ambassador let John know that he felt that the reason for the disease to spread like it had, was not because of his people immorality, but other races. And in light of that, since we would not allow them to leave the station, they would seclude themselves in an isolated area of the station where they would pray and repent.
Things got worse from then on. Stephen's analysis proved that the disease was airborne, and after finding a Pak'Mara body in Brown Sector, it would appear that it had jumped species, pending an autopsy. Which Stephen's med team refused to perform because they were afraid of getting infected. So as he himself was about to go inside and perform the procedure, Dr Lazarenn came and volunteered himself for the task inside the isolation lab, because he wanted to atone, so after performing the autopsy he stayed inside to be monitored because he had contained the disease. The results of the autopsy, according to Stephen, proved that the disease had indeed jumped species.
"We've had three more incidents of violence against the Markhabs" I told the Captain over the Babcom system from CnC to his quarters "It's getting ugly out there as Garibaldi predicted. Some extreme human and alien groups say they've found a solution, wipe out the Markhabs you wipe out the problem"
"Seems I've heard that one before" he mused "How's their quarantine going?"
"Four thousand of the Five thousand estimated Markhab population on board has gone into the quarantine room. The rest haven't been found yet or they're hiding afraid to take the trip which of course puts them in danger if they're found by the others"
"Tell Garibaldi to take some people off the search teams and put them on patrol. If you can do the same with some of your people, please do. Any violence should be stopped immediately"
"Will do. Try to get some sleep Captain. I'll take first watch and have someone wake you in 4 hours. CnC out"
Somehow at some point, Delenn had talked the Captain into giving the order to security to let her and her companion through towards the quarantine area because they wanted to help as much as possible, willingly exposing them to a highly contaminated area.
Next day, around midday when I was about to head to my quarters for short nap and a shower, and hopefully check in with Talia, Dr. Franklin called John and myself to his office in order to give us a whole lecture into what he had discovered between the cross analysis of the Pak'Mara and the Markhab.
"So in other words an order comes from the brain to the gap but the chemicals that are supposed to relay the information to the next cell, don't work anymore?" asked John to Stephen
"Exactly!" came the excited response "The hearts not ordered to pump, the lungs aren't ordered to breathe… the body dies"
"Have you developed a profile of who's more prone to being infected?" I asked him
"The risk is confined to those races that use specialized cells to manufacture chemicals used in neural relays" he said "In Markhabs, the chemical is produced by yellow cells. In Pak'Maras it's the green cells. Now those are the ones targeted by the disease."
"Fortunately our bodies don't work that way" Added Dimitri "But given the chance the disease could mutate into something that could affect us all if we don't stop it now"
"So, what do we do?" asked John
"Well, we can't destroy the disease" started Franklin "but we can artificially stimulate yellow and green cell production with a series of regular injections, now those who receive the injections, overtime will produce stronger cells that would be capable of withstanding the disease. All my data shows it should work"
"Should?" I asked incredulously "You haven't tested it yet?"
"No. There was no time" he said glancing towards de isolab where Dr Lazarenn's body was covered by a sheet
"I have enough for 500 doses to start with, but we'll have to hurry" Said Stephen walking out towards the quarantined sector. John and I following close by.
As we walked there John asked the security team to send a message inside the quarantine zone.
"Any reply to our message yet?" asked John as soon as we reached them
"No sir" came the terse reply of one of Garibaldi's security team member
"Open it up"
Stephen was the first one in, and as soon as I got inside I could feel how Stephen and John were horrified not only by the sight of thousands of dead Markhab bodies, but the utter despair and horror we all felt at not being on time. My horror intensified the moment I got a whiff of the scent inside… my mate's scent was filled with fear and dread, surrounded by dead and … and then I saw Ambassador Delenn and Talia tiredly standing up upon seeing us.
"Talia!?" I rushed to her side and scanned her for signs of the disease "What! I don't understand. What are you doing here? Why are you here!" I asked frantically, beyond worried and scared for my mate.
"Take me home" she whispered pressing into me. So even when conflicted about the situation, I complied
That night as we were watching the news, we had a huge fight because I couldn't believe she could have done that. Going into such a dangerous situation without even letting me know, not giving me the chance to make peace with her decision, so of course I made an impulsive and rash decision.
A/N: Ok… No words here to describe how grateful I am you are all still here, or how sorry I am for disappointing you in the time between updates.
Remember to leave your reviews… they nourish my imagination.