Title: Darkened Souls, Part 5: Reunions
Author: B5Crusader@geocities.com Date: 04-15-98
Dedication/Notes: After a bit of a hiatus I've started writing a little more on Darkened Souls again. Hopefully, this one will be finished fairly quickly in comparison to some of the other stories. This part is probably the least violent of all chapters, since it leads into the rest of the story. Anyway, enjoy.
Earth Alliance Station Babylon 5, Epsilon Eridani System, 2257
She silently observed the crowds of aliens from her small corner table. The plain brown cloak she wore easily concealed her appearance from any passerby's that showed any interest in her. Fortunately few passed by the small cafe she sat in despite its location along the central corridor of the station.
She was watching. Waiting. Learning.
The crowds were light as she expected them to be. The station was not yet "officially" on-line. That would occur at the reception tomorrow for all the gathered ambassadors. She smiled slightly in anticipation at the reaction her own appearance would bring.
She had come onboard the station quietly and without fanfare. He had been there to greet her. She did not speak or remove her hood as he greeted her in flawless Adronado. She had merely smiled to herself and allowed the bewildered security men escort her to her Ambassadorial suite.
She idly watched the mixed species interact around her. She noted that most seemed to be humans. The humans seemed to have little trouble being around so many different aliens. But she also noted most of the other species avoided the humans, or acted overly courteous to them.
'A wise decision, considering what they've managed to do in seven years.' She mused to herself. She was actually somewhat proud of these humans. They had proven her theories about them correct. Not only to the Grey Council, but to the universe itself.
The Earth Alliance had rapidly rebuilt after the Minbari withdrawal and recognition of the humans as independent sentients. It seemed as if they had concentrated all their frustration and rage into making themselves what they had once been.
It had taken only two years for Earthforce to be rebuilt and the new Warships, the Omegas, to come off the lines. These ships possessed some bits of Minbari weapons technology that the humans had scavenged and reverse engineered and proved to be quite efficient. Less than six months later, humanity had launched a war so terrifying and brutal against many of the other races that some had simply abandoned their colonies well in advance of the Earthforce fleets.
The humans had called it the Reunification War. A war to recapture all lost human colonies and to free all humans enslaved by aliens. The Earthforce ships had slaughtered billions of beings, including the extinction of ten separate races.
To the Minbari it had been interesting to watch. They ignored the worlds that begged for their help, letting them be annihilated by the humans. The Minbari had warned them what would happen should humanity slip loose from their Minbari masters. The aliens had been arrogant. Their worlds died for that arrogance.
By 2255 the Earth Alliance was one of the most feared governments in existence, having recaptured all its colonies and adding dozens more alien colonies. They had proven Delenn's point to the Minbari people and the Grey Council.
The sound of a body landing heavily nearby drew her attention to the corner near her table. She saw a small humanoid struggling to get to his feet. By the clothes he wore, it appeared to be a young human boy. She was unable to see his face clearly as a hood covered his features. While odd, the choice of clothing was not unremarkable for humans.
The young boy was not able to get up in time as two older Drazi youth grabbed him and flung him into the nearby wall. She simply sat and watched the young boy, perhaps all of ten years old, groan in pain. A small smear of bright red dabbed the wall where his head had struck.
"Teach you lesson for stealing." One of the Drazi hissed menacingly and punched the boy hard in the stomach. The blow earned him nothing more than a mere grunt in pain.
This did not surprise her. Humanity had been battered, abused, and nearly exterminated. What did another human getting abuse matter? They had come to thrive of the abuse, grown from it. Turned it into their weapon against the other races.
Dissatisfied, the Drazi swung again. This time much harder. Again nothing but a grunt and a hiss of air. Now angry the second Drazi pulled a sharp knife on the boy.
The boy spat out an word that instantly caught her attention more for the language than the insult itself. The boy had spoken Minbari!
The first Drazi yanked the boys head back. She saw the flash of bone and instantly knew. The boy was Minbari!
The jagged bone of the young Minbari's crest suited the demonic rage on his face. Dark azure eyes burned with hate as the seemed to bore into the Drazi holding the knife. Without even seeming to move, he lashed out in a series of flawless kalen'tha moves.
The first Drazi went down gasping and coughing up blood as he found his throat had beam half crushed by a well placed hand. The second Drazi just as quickly found his knife wielding arm to be broken in several location and his head being rammed in three quick successions into the bulkhead.
Watching the young Minbari prepare to slam the now helpless Drazi into the bulkhead again she actually jumped as a all too familiar voice boomed.
"What the hell is going on here?"
She looked to see Jeffrey Sinclair standing in front of two humans in Earthforce security grey uniforms. She instantly noted Jeff's Earthforce blue uniform suited him well. She knew he was a Captain now and agreed silently with the Minbari intelligence officers that he truly deserved more.
His brown hair had been cropped to a more proper "military" style from their last encounter. She noted a few more age lines on his face. Otherwise he was the same as she remembered. If anything, the fire she had seen in his eyes then seemed to be brighter than ever. He seemed a bit sad and world weary, but that seemed to be an expression many humans carried about them.
The Minbari boy instantly dropped the Drazi and spun around. Much to Delenn's surprise he bowed his head, not in Minbari fashion but more as a human gesture of acknowledgement. "They attacked me. I was defending myself." The Minbari answered in English without a hint of accent.
Captain Sinclair looked the boy over carefully seeming to note the small cut at his temple before turning his cold gaze upon the two Drazi. "Is this true?" He asked, his voice neutral in tone but promising something terrible at the same time.
The first Drazi stood slowly and nodded, obviously afraid of the human before him. "Yes, sir." He replied.
"Why?" Was the simple question.
"He stole money from us." The Drazi answered warily.
"If you are foolish enough to loose money gambling that is your problem. Get out of here. Next time you may not be so lucky." The Captain hissed at them angrily, obviously knowing exactly how their money had been "stolen".
"Yes, sir. Thank you, Captain." The first Drazi practically dragged his companion back the way they had come.
She watched silently as the Captain turned to face the young Minbari before him, curious at the expression on his face. She could not recall ever seeing a true smile on his face before. Yet here she now saw one. A smile for the child of a race he should have hated.
"And what do you have to say for yourself, little one?" The human asked the young Minbari with a serious tone to his voice, despite the smile.
The boy looked down in embarrassment and shrugged. "I was just defending myself."
Jeff Sinclair smile turned to a knowing look. "You were with Jimmy again in Down Below."
"Yes, sir." The boy answered looking back up with a defiant grin on his face.
Jeff actually chuckled at the boy's honesty. "Next time, don't cause an incident that will catch the attention of security. Okay?"
Delenn was not sure what surprised her more. The boy using a Minbari term for father or the sudden, fiercely protective and loving hug Jeff Sinclair gave the youngster. She simply sat stunned as she watched them.
So it is true! Jeff claims a Minbari child as his own. She was shocked.
The Minbari had continued to watch Jeff closely after the humans retook their home. She had been pleased by his accomplishments and sorrowed by his losses as if he had been her dearest friend. In many ways this human had become her dearest friend, during their time together on Mars.
She had grieved when she had learned that Jeff's son had been one of the victims of the mad Sinoval. She knew Jeff's revenge on the Warrior had been too quick and unsatisfying for the crimes Sinoval had committed.
May you rot in they Abyss and Valen damn your soul, Sinoval! She thought angrily.
The Minbari had watched as "Death's Hand" took the rage at the loss of his son and turned it against any aliens that stood against Earth and humanity. Joined with Sheridan "Starkiller" they had led the way to humanity's resurgence of power. They had left behind them a path of blood, death and destruction that rivaled the Dilgar Invasion.
Ironically, the Reunification War had ended with the massacre of the Minbari colony on Shek'Nath. "Death's Hand" had lead the invasion well. Within three days the planet had fallen to Earth. Minbari intelligence had informed her that Sinclair had for some inexplicable reason taken a young boy and his mother and spared them from the executions that had followed.
That had been two years ago.
Delenn had not believed the information until now. That Sinclair had massacred the Minbari at Shek'Nath did *not* surprise her. He had also led the massacres of the Narn colony Dross and the Drazi colony on Kaszeh. Sinclair and Sheridan had masterminded the extermination of four separate species. What was the elimination of twenty thousand Minbari after the deaths of billions?
But to save a Minbari mother and child? Even with the evidence before her, she found it hard to believe.
Or is it so hard to believe? A small voice in her mind asked.
She had to wonder at this. The humans had suddenly ceased the hostilities after Shek'Nath. Two months after the massacre, the Earth Alliance had put for an initiative to build a place dedicated to peace. The Babylon Project, the humans had called it.
All the races instantly rallied to the idea, grasping at the small hope that the Humans truly desired peace. All except the Minbari. They had remained apart from the rest until a year ago, when they had finally agreed to fund this station's construction.
What prompted this change? She, and others in the Grey Council, had wondered. She was here to find out why, among her other duties as she "played" ambassador with the inferior races.
Noticing the odd human father and minbari child pair had started to leave, she rose and quickly followed them. She followed and watched them for twenty minutes as they browsed the stalls of the Zocalo and chatted with various Earthforce crewmembers and alien dignitaries.
When they stopped at a fruit vendor she decided to approach them.
"Hello, old friend." She spoke softly in English.
She wasn't sure what she had expected. Surprise, certainly. Anger and hate, most likely. Those expressions she could expect from any human. She would have been less surprised if he had laughed and acted as if she was some long lost friend.
Blankness greeted her in return. A bland, emotionless face with eyes that reminded her of someone long dead stared back at her. It was if she were talking to a corpse. No surprise, no hate, no fear, no anger, nothing but cold indifference. Not even a hint of recognition. The fire she had seen earlier was gone.
"Do I know you?" His voice was deep and held an edge of implied threat in its tone.
"Has it been that long, Jeffrey David Sinclair? Do you no longer remember me?" She asked in an arrogant tone as she removed the hood of her cloak.
"As if I could forget you." Was the reply. The voice lost its threatening tone, but neither was it friendly.
She bowed formally to him before turning her head upwards to look at him. She smiled ever so slightly at the humor in his eyes. "I am Ambassador Delenn, of the Minbari Federation." She said formally when she noticed several nearby aliens were watching them with far too much interest for their own continued existence.
"Captain Sinclair, EarthForce. I'm afraid Ambassador Fengle was recalled to Earth for medical concerns. I am the acting Ambassador for Earth until a proper replacement is sent." He mimicked her formality, easily recognizing the signs of unwanted attention.
Has it really been so long? And yet we still understand each other with so much ease and familiarity. Jeff wondered to himself as he looked at Delenn. Outwardly he was cold and indifferent. Inside he felt the usual mix of anger, hate, and affection all mixed together in a mass of confusion and contradiction he always felt around her.
"Perhaps I can discuss some matters with you regarding interests that concern both Earth and Minbar, if it not inconvenient." She asked him.
"Now is a perfectly good time." He replied.
"Rikai, who the hell is this Minbari?"
Delenn looked somewhat perplexedly at the young Minbari before her, having momentarily forgotten his presence. Now he stood between her and his human father glaring at her in open anger, his arms crossed over his chest exuding defiance towards her.
Jeff smiled down at the boy in humor. "Shenn, this is Ambassador Delenn. She will be representing the Minbari here on Babylon 5."
Delenn remained silent as the boy seemed to rake her up and down with his eyes with a critical look on his face. After a moment he nodded as if coming to a decision.
"Greetings. My name is Shenn. Welcome to Babylon 5." He bowed to her in perfect Minbari fashion.
She returned the bow, making hers shallower than the youngsters. "And I greet you, Shenn. I am Ambassador Delenn of the Family Mir."
The boy grinned, obviously pleased with himself, as he turned to face his "father" again. "Are we gonna see Uncle Mike now?"
Jeff smiled down at the boy and roughed his head bone playfully, earning him a giggle from the lad. Delenn's eyes widened slightly at the obvious affection between the two, but again said nothing. "Why don't you go on ahead and tell Uncle Mike I'll be along in about an hour and a half, ok?"
"Ok. Bye, Rikai." The boy quickly hugged Jeff and happily ran off to his destination.
"Shenn is very...." Delenn started.
"Arrogant, loud, rude, obnoxious..." Jeff interrupted with humor in his voice.
Delenn looked down in embarrassment at Jeff's voicing of her internal opinion. "I was going to say, I believe the human phrase is 'high spirited'?"
Jeff actually laughed out loud at that. "Yes that is one way of putting it."
Delenn glanced down for a moment to hide the sudden nervousness she felt at seeing him after so many years, before looking him over carefully. He silently waited as she took in the new age lines on his face, the hair just starting to grey, and the small almost invisible scars on his hands and face.
A thousand different questions and thought crossed her mind that she wished to voice. All of which were dangerous in trusted company, lethal to them both should she voice them in such a public place. So she spoke as formality between enemies demanded. "It is a pleasure to meet you again Captain. It is my hope that you and I may be able to heal some of the wounds between our peoples."
"And mine as well, Ambassador." Jeff replied, greatly wishing he could say more. She had seemed to change so little since Mars. Strange as it sounded he had missed her. He could tell that she felt the same way.
"I..I should be going." Delenn bowed uncertainly and started to leave.
"Ambassador Delenn..." She turned to his questioning voice.
"Yes, Captain? May I be of some help?" She asked, just the barest hint of a hopeful smile on her face.
Jeff grinned openly. "Actually you can, Ambassador. There are several matters Earth would like to discuss and resolve over the next few months. Perhaps I could give you a short briefing of the issues for discussion later this week?"
"That is most acceptable, Captain. Perhaps we should go some place more appropriate than the middle of the Zocolo." She smiled slightly at seeing his sudden blush.
"Of course, Ambassador. Please, this way."
Unawares the two Ambassadors were watched by narrowed red eyes from a darkened corner of the Zocolo. The eyes had watched in surprise at the relaxed nature of the human Captain and Minbari Ambassador's discussion.
"You saw?" Another, heavily accented voice asked nasally. G'kar turned a baleful eye towards Londo Mollari.
"Of course I saw, Mollari. I am not blind." Gkar snapped back angrily.
"Then you see I speak the truth. The humans are allying with the Minbari.When that happens Narn will become a memory." Londo Mollari stated too cheerfully, earning him another baleful look from the Narn Ambassador.
"At least I will have the consolation in knowing the Centauri will soon follow." G'Kar spat back, instantly erasing Londo's smile.
"Then you see they must be stopped. At any cost." Londo stated.
"A plan has been set into motion already Mollari. If it succeeds then the Humans and Minbari shall destroy each other." G'kar stated confidently.
Londo snorted derisively at the notion that the humans could stop the Minbari. While the Earth Alliance had the rest of the aliens quaking in fear, the Minbari simply waited in silent superiority. No one dared challenge them. No one as foolish enough.
'Except the humans.' Londo thought with a bit of admiration. Not even the Centauri Republic in its prime had dared challenge the Minbari.
"You know, G'kar, you missed your calling. You should have been a writer. You are very good at weaving fantasies." Londo remarked as he sipped more of his drink.
G'Kar chuckled at that. "Perhaps, Mollari."
"And how goes your other preparations?" Londo asked.
"They are proceeding well. We shall be ready soon, I think." G'Kar smiled mirthlessly at Londo, who simply nodded in acknowledgement.
Londo was a past master at conspiracies, diplomacy, and the grand machinations of interstellar politics. He fully supported G'Kar's plans but had been very careful to hide his own dealings in the affair. He had even begun his own secret deals with the humans. Just in case.
G'Kar and he went back quite some time. They had in fact been inadvertently responsible for the war between Earth and Minbar. They both felt responsible for making the humans into what they were.
G'Kar had listened to Londo and had pleaded with the Kha'Ri not to take the former Earth Colonies and make slaves of the humans. They had not listened, proud and arrogant and presumptuous. Londo had as little success with his own government in that regards. The Humans had extracted a terrible vengeance on all the aliens who had enslaved them when the so called 'Reunification War' had begun. Both Londo and G'Kar knew the humans were far from finished with their revenge towards all aliens.
An unofficial alliance had been sealed between the Centauri and Narn during that war at the battle of Dross. Mollari had been witness to slaughter of the Narn Fleet and its colonies.
He had been on the EAS Agamemnon, an "observer" for the Centauri Republic at the request of Sheridan the Starkiller. Londo had decided then that Minbari epithet had been well suited to Human Captain and his battle reputation. Even more chilling to him had been the human Commander known as "Death's Hand".
Jeffrey Sinclair. Londo had seen corpses with more life and compassion in their eyes than that particular human. His moniker had fit him well, for he had led the human's StarFuries with deadly precision and ruthlessness against the Narn Fleet's fighters, and later again when nuking the Narn colony at Dross.
And now Jeffrey Sinclair commanded a station supposedly devoted to peace. The human looked like the same man but the human Londo knew would never have accepted command of a place dedicated to peace with Earth's alien enemies. *This* Sinclair actually had a *Minbari* as a son!
Something had changed. He intended to find out what had done it.
Delenn gently ran a hand over the warm skin beneath her and inhaled deeply, savoring the smells around her. Slightly spicy, a hint of saltiness from an alien sea. Her head rested comfortably on the shoulder of her companion and she smiled as she felt a light touch where her bonecrest and temple met.
"I almost forgot how good this felt." Jeff murmured, his voice barely audible but completely relaxed.
Delenn lifted her head from his shoulder and shifted slightly to lay on top of him a grin lighting her face. She leaned forward and kissed the tip of his nose as his arms drew her back close to him. "So had I." She confessed.
She traced the hair on the ridge above his eyes. She had been fascinated by his eyebrows as much as he had been curious about her crest. "I have missed you, Jeff."
A light rumble of humor started in his chest. She slapped him playfully on the chest. "That's not what I mean!" She scolded mockingly, earning a laugh from Jeff that she quickly joined in.
"I've missed you too, Delenn." Jeff said as he gently traced the ridge of her crest around her ear. She noted the far away look in his eye.
She traced a scar on his chest to a dark bruise she had not noticed earlier. "You've been hunting again?" She murmured.
Jeff raised an eyebrow at her. "How did you know about that?"
She smiled. "I've known since Mars. You're very good at killing your target and deflecting blame from yourself. I noted seven of your kills on Mars."
"Actually there were twenty four." Jeff commented dryly. His eyes seemed to glitter coldly for a moment, as if he were remembering something too dark and terrible to speak of.
"You see, as I said, you are very good. I chose not act unless you were caught. As it was you were killing fools and did me a bit of a favor in that regards." Delenn said.
Jeff nodded slowly. "Thank you."
"Has it been difficult for you?" She asked as she moved to sit next to him on the slanted Minbari bed. She was rather pleased to see Jeff had no trouble sleeping in one after so many years.
Jeff shrugged. "The nightmares are still there. The rest I'm sure you know about. The Reunification War and all that."
Delenn nodded. "Yes, most of it. I had been informed that you had taken a Minbari son, but did not believe. How did this come to be?"
Jeff's eyes narrowed dangerously. The sudden anger in his voice startled her. "I will not give him up. Not to Earth, not to the Minbari. He is *my* son!"
Delenn gently laid a hand on his chest and spoke softly. "While there are many Minbari who feel such a situation is intolerable, no one will take him from you." She kissed him gently. "I was just curious as to how he became your son."
Jeff looked away in shame for a moment before returning his gaze to her. "I'm sorry. I should not have spoken as I did."
She smiled. "Love is a strong emotion. One can not be faulted for following their heart."
Jeff squeezed her hand gently.
"I saved Shenn from the death squads when I led the invasion of Shek'Nath."
"Why?" Delenn asked simply.
"I don't know." He smiled sardonically at his own words.
"The invasion had gone well. Shai Alyt Branmer's defensive tactic was anticipated and we quickly cut through it, forcing him and most of the Minbari Fleet to withdraw. By the time I made planetfall, all the Minbari on world had been either killed or captured."
"I went to the main holding area too confer with the troops as to how to proceed with the executions. I remember standing before this group of Minbari leaders calling them every filthy thing I could dream up, promising to bath in their blood, and other such foolishness."
"It enraged me the way they simply stood there, accepting what I said without anything but apparent contempt for me. I personally blew the head off an Elder with my fraggin' PPG and still got no reaction."
"What did you want from them?" Delenn asked, trying to ignore the mixture of rage, pain and anger she felt at Jeff.
"Fear." He said simply as he looked at her for a moment.
"I wanted them to fear humanity as much as I feared all Minbari." Jeff admitted.
"I understand." Delenn said softly.
"I saw a female in the crowd, holding a young child of perhaps six...seven years of age and figured that I could get a reaction by killing the kid in front of the mother. I did."
"She let me take the boy from her. I could see the sudden fear in her eyes as I took him but she didn't stop me. She didn't do a thing until I aimed my PPG at the child. She attacked me with a fury I had rarely seen in anyone, human or Minbari."
"My own rage exploded, and I beat her. I'm not even sure how long I beat her, I only know I stopped when she lay still and bloody. She was not unconscious, I could see her watching me as I stood again and turned the PPG on the boy."
"I couldn't fire. I tried...but I couldn't do it. Looking into those azure eyes, I suddenly lost my hate, my anger, my blood lust. I realized I wanted more than this. More than wanton killing, death. and destruction."
"So you took him and killed the rest." Delenn stated with a mixture of disgust and pride in her voice.
"Shenn and his mother, Lerno. Yes. I took them with me and specifically ordered the Minbari to be killed swiftly and without torture. I earned several kinds of hell for that decision at Shek'Nath, but it was worth it."
"You saved the mother as well? Where is she now?" Delenn was surprised. Minbari intelligence had indicated that was the case but never had any hard evidence to back up the theory.
"Yes, I saved Lerno. About sixth months after taking them as my...my servants, I guess is the best term, Lerno committed suicide. She had hated me at first but tolerated me because of my obvious affection for Shenn."
"I admit I started to care for her greatly, despite the accusations from others. I know she started to care for me too. Lerno said as much after our last time together. She was afraid of what others would do if they found out that we cared for each other. I did not listen to her fears, certain I could handle anything. Two days later she killed herself."
Delenn simply stared at him in shock for a long moment before speaking. "I am sorry. I had no idea."
"No one does." Jeff said softly, sitting himself up. "Most think I killed her to prove that I was a loyal Earth soldier. Everyone left me alone about Shenn after that. Maybe Lerno knew that would happen."
Delenn hugged Jeff suddenly, surprising him by the intensity of her grip. He hugged her back after the barest hesitation knowing she was only trying to comfort him. After several minutes of the silent embrace, Delenn withdrew. Jeff kissed her on the cheek gently.
"I should be going. Shenn and Mike are waiting for me." Jeff smiled sadly.
"I know." Delenn whispered. She reached into a nearby drawer and passed him a data crystal.
He took it, a questioning look on his face. "What's this?"
"All my files on the Vorlons." She replied simply.
She smiled gently at his puzzled expression. "They are coming here, are they not?"
"Yes." He replied uncertainly
"Then you will need that information on the data crystal." She stated simply.
"Why are you giving me this? Earth Alliance has is own files on the Vorlons. We could both be executed for this." Jeff asked. From past experience he knew the Minbari never did anything without some purpose to it that made sense to them , if not anyone else.
Delenn smiled at the dubious look Jeff nearly succeeded in keeping from his face. Had she not known him so well, she would never have noticed the expression. "View the file, all of the file, first. If you have any questions, I will be waiting."
Jeff nodded slowly, unable to miss the tone of a permissive dismissal that rankled him slightly despite the number of years. Delenn noticed his reaction and looked down in embarrassment.
Old habits were hard to break.
"We can't do this again. Can we?" Jeff asked to fill the suddenly uncomfortable silence, already knowing the answer.
"No. It would be too dangerous." She looked in his eyes sadly. "For both of us."
Jeff nodded once before starting his search to find his uniform. Delenn merely sat and watched him silently dress and leave.