Disclaimer: not mine

So for some reason the website I was using for transcripts isn't showing up in my history anymore? And I can't find it. The only other one, only has 4 eps for s2 done, thankfully this is one of them.

Chapter 7

Prompto nodded to the man who had hired him and walked away from the table, relieved to be done. He hesitated, something flickering at the edge of his awareness. He focused but whatever it was, was gone. He shook it off and kept walking, either he'd pick it up again or he wouldn't. It could be nothing to worry about at all, or it could be something, this was B5 after all.

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He looked up from his paperwork as his link beeped, lifting his hand to answer. "Sheridan."

"Captain, you have a transmission from Senator Voudreau."

He bit back a sigh as he stood. "Patch her through." He moved to the screen set into the wall as the Babylon 5 logo vanished to reveal the Senator in her office back on Earth.

"Captain Sheridan," she greeted.

"Senator, what can I do for you?" he smiled politely.

"Taro Isogi, chief executive of FutureCorp has arranged a meeting on Babylon 5 with Amanda Carter, a representative of the Mars Provisional Government," she got right to the point. "Carter is an outspoken advocate of Mars independence and we suspect FutureCorp is conspiring with her to finance another rebellion on Mars Colony."

"Do you have any proof?" he asked in concern.

"We know FutureCorp desperately wants a foothold in space. An exclusive trade and services agreement with Mars would give it to them if they could move the current Mars Conglomerate out. Many of the members wanted to pull out after the last rebellion. Another would have them running like river rats."

"I understand your concern, but there's not much I can do about it. I have no authority over corporate negotiations. Babylon 5 is neutral territory, any race can negotiate here without interference, even our own," he pointed out.

"This is a possible threat to Earth Alliance security, captain and as such, we are asking you to check it out. Nothing official. Just keep an eye peeled and an ear open and report anything of interest to me," she ordered and he fought not to grimace.

"With all due respect, senator my duties as commander of B5 don't include spying on civilians."

"These are volatile times, captain. Practicality is more important than principles if lives are to be saved. I'll expect to hear from you soon." With that she was gone.

He went to move back to his desk only for his commlink to beep again. It was adding up to being one of those days. "Yes?"

"Captain the Tikar delegation is docking."

"I'II meet them in the conference room immediately," he answered, straightening his uniform.

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"I've never seen you so excited about a deal before," Talia smiled as they walked through red sector, arm in arm.

Well, it's not just a deal, TaIia. It's a step into the future. Mars can be the beginning of a whole new life for the human species as it was meant to be," Taro was definitely enthusiastic and it was wonderful to see.

A man in black stopped in front of them, "Free Mars." He raised his hand to grab Taro by the through, electricity flowing from his hand.

"No!" she cried but was knocked to the ground, staring into the man's eyes in horror as images bombarded her from the man's mind. "Taro!"

"Hey!" a familiar voice yelled, footsteps pounding down the hall and then she saw Prompto behind him, blue eyes narrowing dangerously as he glared at the attacker. "Pain!"

The man cried out in pain, dropping Taro before moving away, and then Prompto was there.

"Talia?"

"Taro?" she crawled to his side, terrified.

Prompto knelt down and reached for his throat. "He's alive, barely. Are you okay?" concerned blue eyes met hers, and she nodded shakily. He got up and rushed to the nearest Babcom station, calling for security and medical before returning.

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"So you have no idea what the images you got from the attacker meant?" Sheridan asked even as he handed her a glass of water.

"No, it was all too quick. Just a blur of light and sound and then the blackness." She sipped slowly.

"And all he said was, 'Free Mars'? Mr Argent, did you get any of these images?"

"No Captain, I was too focused on stopping his attack to scan him even on the surface. And he didn't speak while I was there," Prompto answered.

"My first assignment was Mars Colony," Talia answered his question to her. "I scanned several Free Mars people during that time. They're violent fanatics with a murderous hatred of Earth Alliance. But this man was different. There was no thought of a cause in his head, no anger no emotion of any kind, just those images." She was trembling slightly, so Prompto gently gripped her shoulder, hating the gloves he had to wear in public, offering mental support and comfort if she was willing to accept it, which she did.

"So, what reason would Free Mars have for trying to kill your client?" the Captain frowned.

"None," she shook her head. "Taro's proposal is a peaceful solution to the Mars problem."

"Earth Central feels differently. They believe he is going to back another rebellion on Mars."

Talia stood to pace a little. "Taro hates the violence on Mars. He never would do such a thing. Someone's been lying to you, captain."

"Or to you," the Captain pointed out.

"I'm a telepath," she argued.

"Telepaths are human beings. You are an old friend of Isogi's. You trust him."

"With good reason. Taro Isogi has spent his life improving the lives of others. He built a business based on that principle and he's never broken a rule or harmed another to do it. Mars is his dream, captain. Now he's nearly been murdered for it, and you're trying to cast the blame on him."

"I'm sorry."

"I'm sorry too. I'm also tired, and I hurt. May I go back to my quarters now?"

"Yes. I'II arrange for an escort for both of you."

"One escort, at your service," Garibaldi announced as he entered, and Prompto bit back a snicker.

"I'll be fine on my own Captain." He smirked slightly, he'd mentally linked with Noct and Hermione as soon as he'd sensed the danger and rushed to Talia's side. He watched Talia and Garibaldi leave before looking back at the Captain. "Do you think they'll try again?"

"We're reporting Mr Isogi as dead to keep him safe, Doctor Franklin said it was a very near thing. Are you alright after projecting like that?"

"I'm fine Captain, it's not something I like doing but it doesn't hurt me."

"Why didn't Miss Winter's try that?" he asked curiously as Prompto stood up.

"Because it's not something a P5 can do. It takes at least a P7, they don't bother teaching anyone under that rating. Sometimes a lower rated telepath can pull it off under fear for their life," he shrugged slightly.

"I see. Well, you should go get some sleep, I'm assuming Noctis knows?"

"Yeah, he'll keep an eye on me. But the attacker didn't actually see me, just heard me, so odds are they won't look for me. Goodnight Captain."

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Prompto walked into his room to find Noctis and Hermione waiting for him. He collapsed between them on the couch, curling into them for comfort. He felt Hermione gently tug his gloves off even as Noctis' hand ran through his hair.

"Are you okay?" She asked softly, and he nodded.

"I got there in time to save the victim. If I hadn't sensed Talia's terror…"

"But you did," Noctis murmured, kissing his throat. He felt them exchange a look above his head and then they were moving to the bed. Sending pain hadn't hurt him, but it had worn him out to do it on the fly like he had. They soon had him stripped down, Noctis laying at his back, hands gently stroking over his bare skin. He felt the bed change a little, increasing in size just enough for Hermione to fit, though it was very snug. She kissed him, copying Noctis in touching him, and Prompto stopped thinking to just bask in the pleasure of their touches.

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"I want you to hold all outgoing traffic until further notice," Sheridan announced as he stepped into C&C.

"Captain?" she asked in concern.

"There's been an attempted murder, and I don't want the attacker leaving or finding out they were unsuccessful."

"Do you know who it is?" Susan asked in alarm, turning from her console to face him.

"Not yet. But we do have eyewitnesses, TaIia Winters and Prompto Argent."

"Were they hurt?" She asked, both telepaths had been witnesses? What were the odds of that?

"Fortunately not. I think the killer wanted a witness and didn't count on Argent coming across them, or attacking to save his victim," he explained. Well, that was a relief. "Tell me. What do you think of her?"

"Ms. Winters?" Susan asked in surprise, her and not Argent? Then again, she'd had more contact with Talia than he had, while he'd had more contact with the young man. "I think… she's an interesting person." She followed him away from her station towards one of the side ones where he took a seat, staring at her.

"You never describe anybody that way."

"I don't really know her that well. We've chatted from time to time. And she's interesting," she shrugged slightly. "You know how I feel about telepaths."

"Do I ever!" he smirked at her. "You threw one out of a third-story window on Io."

"There was a pool below the window!" she argued.

"I'II assume you knew that," he chuckled and she smirked. "Aside from Ms. Winters' 'interesting' quality, do you think she can be trusted?"

"Yes, except she's very loyal to Psi Corps," she made sure he would understand the difference.

"And you don't trust Psi Corps," it was a statement, not a question.

Her feelings towards the organisation were very well known, although she thought she could accept certain members of it. Like Prompto who seemed to hold no more love for it than she did. "No. Do you?" she asked.

"Telepaths are gifted and cursed in ways I can never hope to understand. But they're still human beings, good, bad or indifferent. No. I trust in individuals, not organisations."

"Then you may trust Ms. Winters," Susan told him.

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"Come in."

The doors opened and he stepped inside. "Ms. Carter, I'm Capt. John Sheridan, commander of Babylon 5," he introduced himself to the woman. "I'd like to ask you a few questions about your meeting with Taro Isogi."

"I'm afraid I must decline, captain. Private negotiations are not subject to Earthforce scrutiny."

"In this case, they are. Mr. Isogi was murdered last night." He felt bad lying about the man's death, but for his safety it was best if everyone believed him dead, at least until they worked out who had tried to kill him and why.

"What? Who could…?" She demanded in shock, and it seemed real to him.

"According to an eyewitness, the killer said, 'Free Mars'."

"Free Mars?" She asked, and he nodded.

"Yes."

"No, that can't be," she denied. "There's no way they could have known about this meeting. And even if they did, they had nothing to gain by killing Mr. Isogi. Taro was working to achieve a peaceful compromise that would ensure the colony's independence without bloodshed. Somebody obviously didn't like it. Damn them."

"Any idea who 'they' might be?" he pushed, they needed more information.

"The Senate, Mars Conglomerate," she shrugged and stood, walking across the room, obviously agitated. "They'd be the most opposed. I never thought they'd go this far."

"Thank you for your time, Ms. Carter. I may have more questions for you later."

"I'II be glad to help," she told him, and he believed her. "Whoever killed Taro Isogi killed Mars' best hope for the future."

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"What have you come up with?"

Noctis looked up from where he was standing with Doctor Franklin, seeing the Captain's surprise at his presence. "Mr Isogi was hit with a massive electrical charge," he answered. "When Prompto explained the attack, I offered my services. Technomages are well versed in dealing with these kinds of injuries." Hopefully Prompto was still asleep with Hermione back in his quarters. Thankfully today was her day off duty so she could stay with him.

"Thanks to Noctis, we know that the electricity was meant to disrupt every cell in his body, thankfully it was stopped before it could. There's scorch marks on his throat that show the outline of fingers but no prints or striations of any kind."

"A slaver's glove?" Garibaldi asked.

"No. I mean, they pack a jolt but not enough to do this much damage," Doctor Franklin denied. "No, this is high-tech and definitely not standard Free Mars issue."

"My guess is some sort of prosthetic weaponry," Noctis added.

"What I can't figure is how he got it on station. A power source that would generate that big a charge should show up on scanners," Franklin admitted.

That was a good question, he could hide easily enough, but human technology should show up.

"Will he live?" Garibaldi asked.

"Thanks to Noctis' help, yes, it was a very near thing though," Franklin answered.

It had not been fun, draining the electricity from his cells without causing permanent damage to the man, especially his heart and brain. He would take a while to heal, but he should do so.

"Maybe he had some special help," the Captain murmured.

"You want to explain that?" Garibaldi asked in concern, turning to face him.

"Not until we have more to go on. Keep an escort on Ms. Winters and intensify the search. Include EarthGov and Corp secure areas."

"Will do. Captain? I'd like to know where you're going with this."

"Someplace very dark. I hope to God I'm wrong." He looked at Noctis. "For what it's worth, you've got my permission to get into the security feeds to watch over Mr Isogi, Ms Winters, and Prompto."

Noctis nodded, not that he hadn't already been doing that, and from the Captain's expression he was well aware of that. Still, official permission was always nice. Since his services were no longer required he left Medlab and headed back to the others.

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"Mr Garibaldi, attack on Ms Winters," Noctis used the comm to send the message as he saw through the security system as the man attacked the guard with her. He got an image of his face and began running it through the stations systems and beyond, ensuring the systems wouldn't log the search, not wanting to tip anyone off.

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Talia looked up as the young man she'd seen with Prompto entered the room, bowing his head to the Captain.

"Noctis, what can I do for you?"

"I identified the attacker," he moved to the monitor and activated it, bringing an image up.

"That's him," she agreed. Who was this….Noctis?

"He's Free Mars, one of their leaders in fact. His name was Abel Horn," the young man continued.

"Abel Horn?" the Captain asked.

"Do you know him?" she asked in concern.

"In a way. My wife, Anna, and I had some very special friends on Mars. They worked at Ritchey Station. They were there when Free Mars blew it. AbeI Horn claimed responsibility for it." he looked at Mr Garibaldi. "I want him, Mr. Garibaldi."

"According to Earthforce Intelligence, AbeI Horn is dead. A cruiser scragged his ship over Phobos during the rebellion," Noctis spoke again.

"Oh, my God," she gasped in horror and they all looked at her.

"Is that what you saw in his mind?" the Captain asked, and she nodded, feeling sick.

"Yes."

"Would someone tell me what the hell we're talking about? Sir?"

"Later. Right now I want her in protective custody and a fugitive alert posted on Horn."

"Done. Ms. Winters," Mr Garibaldi motioned to her and she reluctantly left.

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John turned to Noctis, "what did you not say?" he asked.

Noctis smirked slightly but waved his hand at the wall monitor which lit up with information. "Project Lazarus."

John hissed in a breath at the name.

"You know it?"

"I've got some old files on it, yes. I get the feeling you have more?"

"Interestingly enough, there is a Psi Corps officer name attached to the Horn's files, an officer now listed as deceased. And I found another name, Bureau Thirteen, but there is very little digital record there, except that they are part of the Corps."

"I see…" he knew that name as well, and he definitely did not like what was happening on his station.

"Be careful Captain," Noctis warned, and John nodded, only to find he was suddenly alone.

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Hermione took her station, hating being separated with the attacks. Yes, they were permanently connected to each other, but that didn't mean she liked having to leave Prom alone after he'd had to hurt someone with his mind. Part of her was tempted to quite, to leave Earthforce, but with everything that was going on…maybe she was needed where she was?

For the moment, she needed to focus on all of the angry ship Captains who wanted to leave but were being denied as the search for Horn continued.

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"So then my pop says to the guy, 'Fifty credits for a salami? I could've killed you for 20.'" They both laughed.

"Your father was quite a character," she told him as she sipped her tea, curled up in her chair.

"He was the best. He cooked like an angel, swore like the devil, taught me everything about security. He could spot a crook a sector away, and he was still hauling them in at 75. Then he got Torg's Syndrome and just kind of faded away. I sure miss him."

"I never really knew my father or my mother," she admitted softly. "I was raised by Psi Corps from the time I was 5," she shook her head, smiling slightly. "Of course, there was Abby."

"Abby?"

"She was my support during my first year at the Centre. When telepaths first come, a senior telepath guides them through the program," she paused but then decided to continue, to help him understand. "The first day I was crying all the time. I was scared and confused and hurting, and then Abby came. She held me for a very long time, never saying a word." She chuckled. "I didn't know it then, but she was scanning me, ever so gently. And little by little, the pain and fear and confusion melted. And all that was left was this warm, safe place in my mind. It was wonderful," she smiled at the memories. "But the next year Abby was assigned to another newcomer."

Before he could say anything his link beeped at him. "Garibaldi."

"Mr. Garibaldi, please report to my quarters," the Captain's voice came through clearly.

"On my way," he agreed, before looking at her. "Sorry."

"Mr. Garibaldi," she called as he stood. "Thank you."

"My pleasure, Ms. Winters," he smirked and left.

She finished her tea and then stood to clean up and go to bed. Twice she'd been at an attack and been unable to do anything. She knew she'd been lucky the first time when Prompto had sensed her distress and been close enough to help. The second time…she didn't know how security had arrived so quickly, but it hadn't been quick enough for the man escorting her. She needed to know how to defend herself… she went to the Babcom unit and placed the call, Prompto appearing on the screen.

"Talia? Is everything okay?"

"Can I speak to you?" she asked.

"Sure, I'm free till eleven hundred tomorrow."

"Thank you."

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"This is a long shot," John admitted. "My information on Lazarus is 20 years old but according to the files the computer power crystal emits a low level of a benign radiation. It wouldn't ordinarily show up on the environmental scanners but if we could reconfigure

them to look for it…"

Michael nodded but then raised his hand as his link beeped. "Garibaldi."

"Chief, Zack Allan. Ms. Winters is requesting an escort for a business meeting in Red 7."

"With who?" he asked warily.

"Amanda Carter."

He glanced at him, and John nodded. "That's a go, Zack. Come through Red Alpha. I'II join you at Point 6."

"This is trickier than I thought," John admitted. "The element is definitely out-of-date."

"Why not let the wizard have a go?" Michael asked, so he stood aside to let him take the seat at the console.

"So I should call Noctis in?" he teased at Michael calling himself a wizard.

"Now, all we have to do is cross-reference with the MedIab files, find the updated element number log that with e-systems and, voila!" He grinned, and John smothered a laugh as the door began to open and shut.

"It's trickier than you thought." He shook his head as Michael retreated. "Thanks Mr. Wizard," he grumbled.

"Need a hand?" a voice asked and he jumped.

"Could you not do that?" he asked.

"Sorry," the younger man grinned, motioning to the console, and John stood again to give him access. Noctis placed a hand on it, didn't even touch the controls, and the doors stopped acting weird. "Tracing his cybernetics, smart."

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"What am I? Tell me!"

"I don't understand," she pressed deeper into the chair, terrified.

"You're a mindbender. You saw it in my head. Tell me what it means! Tell me!" he demanded.

She didn't want to! "Pain. Pain," she whispered.

"Yes, pain! Tell me. Tell me, please. Please."

She gasped as images of an Earth ship, his exploding and then…an operating theatre flashed through his mind.

"Ours now. AII ours."

Talia gasped as she lost the memory. "You were dying. They operated on you, rebuilt you. Scanned you. There was a Psi Cop," she whispered.

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"Found it, Red 7, Suite 15," Noctis announced.

"Suite 15?" the Captain demanded, and he nodded. "Amanda Carter." He raised his link. "Garibaldi."

"Captain?"

"Where's Ms. Winters?"

"Meeting with Ms. Carter in her quarters."

"Our perp 's inside. Get him, but get him alive. I'm on my way." He glanced at Noctis who stood.

"You might need my help." Earth technology was not ready for cybernetics yet, and the whole idea behind Lazarus was disgusting. He summoned his staff and left the office on Sheridan's heels.

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"I'm already dead, Mr. Security Man," he heard Horn say as he reached the door, stepping through.

"No, you aren't, Horn," John told him calmly, seeing the hand wrapped around Talia's throat. "Now, just listen to me. They are using you to betray your own world."

"How do you know this?"

"You know it too, AbeI. You can feel the machine crawling in your brain."

"Get out of my way!" he demanded.

"Let us help you. That's all we want to do. You let her go, and we'll help you. You've died too many times, AbeI. There's no need to die again," he told him, keeping eye contact. Slowly, he lowered the gun and she stumbled forward, Michael catching her and quickly passing her out of the room. "Good. Now, put the weapon down." He told him, seeing Amanda stand out of the corner of his eye, hoping she had the sense to stay out of the way.

"It was the Earthers, wasn't it? It wasn't enough just to kill me?"

"We'll find out who it was together. Just put the gun down."

"Mars will never be free until the sands run red with Earther blood." He snarled, bringing the gun up and then froze, energy running over his body.

"I've got him Captain," Noctis stepped into view, staff levelled at Abel.

"Captain, I'm reading a dangerous energy surge from the body," one of the security men called.

"Noctis?" he asked.

"Working on it," the technomage answered.

Horn went limp in the energy field. "It's safe. He's alive…but he'll need a lot of help to live again."

"Thank you," John told him, and Noctis nodded. He didn't know if they could fix what had been done to the man, even with Noctis' help…and how much help should they give such a dedicated terrorist?

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"I am very sorry, Ms. Winters. AbeI said you knew what was wrong with him. I was worried about him," Amanda told her as the medic finished patching her head wound up. "I didn't think he'd harm you."

"And how does a Mars Government rep know so much about a Free Mars terrorist?" Garibaldi demanded.

"AbeI Horn wasn't always a terrorist. Fifteen years ago he was a bright young man utterly devoted to independence for Mars Colony. That's when I met him. Fell in love with him. He convinced me to join Free Mars. It wasn't a radical group at the time. Later, when they became too become violent, I left them. I never saw AbeI again until today."

"Tell me another one." Garibaldi snorted.

"You can have Ms. Winters scan me if you think I'm lying. Besides, I've already said enough to ruin my career."

"If we report it," the Captain stepped in.

"Are you proposing a deal, captain?" Carter looked at him.

"You said Taro Isogi's plan is the best hope for Mars. Did you mean that?"

"Yes."

"Then continue to negotiate with him. Make that happen."

"I don't understand, him?"

The Captain nodded to the back of the room and they all looked to see Prompto pushing a wheelchair…with Taro sitting in it, alive if weak.

"Ms Carter," Taro greeted the shocked woman.

Talia smiled and walked over, offering her hand and he took it. "It's so good to see you," she whispered, and he smiled at her. She'd known he was alive but it was better to see it for herself.

"I look forward to continuing our talks," Taro told Amanda and she nodded.

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"Captain," Michael called as he entered the room.

"Mr. Garibaldi. Is there something?"

"There's a whole list. But let's start with how you knew about the Lazarus Project."

"Some people collect coins or art. I collect secrets. Black projects, conspiracies, secret organizations. They fascinate me."

"Does one of those secrets include who was behind this thing?" he demanded.

"It's better you don't ask that."

"Look, captain, you don't trust me the way Jeff used to, but if there's a threat—"

"The threat goes far beyond Babylon 5, Mr. Garibaldi," the Captain cut him off.

"I'm not surprised. If Horn was what you say he was, then this has nothing to do with Free Mars. To pull something like this off would take a lot of power and a lot of money. And I think you know who it is," he pushed.

"AII right. But promise me this information will never be repeated outside this room."

"You got it," he agreed.

"For the past six years there have been rumours about a rogue agency operating deep inside EarthGov. A dirty-trick squad dealing in black projects and star chamber justice. It took me over three years just to get a name. Bureau 1 3. And the man who gave me that name died soon after. I am convinced they exist and that they are behind this incident."

"Why?"

Isogi is a danger to Earth policy on Mars. I think his death was meant to be a warning to the other corporations. I also think Horn was meant to destroy Free Mars from the inside and possibly ruin Amanda Carter as well. Unfortunately, I can't prove any of it."

"If this is true…"

"Then everything we believe in is in jeopardy. There is a spider in the web, Mr. Garibaldi. And I intend to find it and kill it."

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Noctis stared at the unconscious man on the bed, it was impossible to strip the implants from his body, the damage he'd taken when his ship was destroyed had been catastrophic. He was honestly surprised they'd managed to keep him alive in anyway. The Captain and Doctor had agreed to his taking custody since they didn't know how to deal with the alterations.

The man was an unrepented terrorist….should he even try to save him? He received the sensor data and lowered the ramp for them, Prompto and Hermione soon joining him.

"Can we get the tour later?" she asked, and he nodded. "So this is him?"

"Yeah, I just…don't know what to do. What was done to him is disgusting but…he's a terrorist and he doesn't regret any of the bloodshed. I didn't miss having to make these kind of decisions." And he'd always had his wife at his side when he was King, to help him make them.

"The normal punishment on a station for his crimes would be spacing or…."

"Mind wipe," Prompto finished for her. "Give him a new identity. I've never done that before."

"And I wouldn't ask you to," Noctis assured him. There were other ways beyond telepathy to wipe someone.

Several days later a man boarded a transport bound for Orion VII. His hair was short and black, his features altered slightly. Abel Horn was truly dead, Marcus Fleet would hopefully be a good man and live a peaceful life. Noctis watched him, unseen, until he was gone from the station, hoping they had done the right thing.

TBC….