Title: Thunder In The Heavens, Part 1
Author: B5Crusader@geocities.com Date: 03-01-98
Dedication/Notes: This story takes place during the events from Season 3's "Grey Seventeen Is Missing" through Season 4's "Epiphanies".
This idea behind this story came from one of my beta readers, who wanted another story about Danya Tworivers and a story showing the events of the Shadow War through the eyes of a Ranger. Hopefully, this story will cover both of these wants at the same time. Unlike the previous story, Delenn, Sheridan, et al. make more of a an appearance then as seen in Tidal Forces. Hope you all enjoy it.
Valshar Temple, Tuzanor, Minbar, Minbari Federation August, 2260.
It shifted. Gentle. Slow. Drifted left, right. Up, now down. Waving, seething, roiling as the power grew. Shivering, swaying, in obeyance of the master before it, around it. A slackening of pressure, quaint silence, a breath of warmth in the growing chill. It came again. Harder, colder. Another shift, ragged. Violent. Cold. Indifferent. Another touch, not gentle. Rougher. Unyielding.
Not cruel. Cruelty did not exist in this instant. It was simply cyclical. A repetitive cycle since it's birth in fire and darkness into the light. The natural way of things. It was simply life, undeniable, unending. The Universe continuing as it all ways had. And it all ways would.
A scent. Moisture. Light and gentle. And with the whispers, both gentle and harsh, forgiving and unremorseful. A cleansing, fresh, bright, new, clean. Wonderful to see, better so smell, indescribable to feel. Peaceful in the growing turmoil.
Quickflash. Indefinably bright. Seeringly hot. A sharp crack, punctuated by the low rumbles. It fades, minor, insignificant. As forgotten as quickly as it is seen. There would be more. The rumbles continue.
It fades now, slowly, inexorably. Returning to the shell it belongs to. Tired, but as joyful as it was wary. Nature was rumbling, the Universe, it's creator, watching, waiting. Arrogance would result in death, respectful caution rewarded in ways unimaginable to most.
Another flash, closer, brighter, but weaker. The light grumble of the Universe followed. So it pulled farther back, back to a smaller realm, away from the glorious shifting patterns of chaos around it. Back to the more ordered, but equally chaotic realm around it. Feeling relaxed as it anchored itself back into familiarity, back into what was home.
The smell of dirt, damp and wonderfully clean in a way unfathomable to most. Nurturing, feeding, lifegiving. The drifting of the green. Supple yet strong enough to endure the buffeting. Life seething, moving, building, growing, aging, dying. Waiting to be reborn in the shadow of the past, the remains of what once was.
"Back here again, are we?"
Danya snapped her attention to the presence standing before her and simply stared. What little surprise she felt, which was small in measure, did not appear on her features. The one before her had been here before. Many times, recently. Far too many for her to be comfortable.
He smiled at her,his brown eyes twinkling with amusement she could never recall having seen there before. A mirthful and carefree smile that had never been on the face of the man she had known. His brown hair, once closely cropped, now longer just as she had remembered it would be, gently mussed by the chaos around them, somehow adding a hint of boyingshness that should have been long erased from his features.An ease as he leaned against a stone table, so familiar, so reminiscent of th recent past she felt the stab of sadness in her heart.
Concern now on his face, in his amber eyes, his deep voice."What is wrong?"
Danya looked down, not wishing to see, not willing to believe he had returned again. "You are dead. You don't belong here."
A laugh. "I did not choose to come here. You brought me here. I simply go where the Universe dictates I am needed."
"Why are you here?" Danya asked angrily of the shade before her.
"His face hardened, cold. "You brought me here. This is your mind. Not my own! Why are *you* here? Now. In this place."
"I don't know." She answered, softly.
He changed. The brown hair faded, receded to nothingness. Replaced by bonecrest and blue mandlebrot patterning and alien, yet so familiar eyes. Minbari, now. Not human, "Good beginning."
"What do you want from me?" She asked, as she had a hundred times of the one before her.
He tilted his head slightly as is considering her. After a moment he spoke, the coldness replaced again by the familiar warmth."An echo of the past that must be heard."
"An echo of the past?" She asked, fear and understanding nibbling at the edges of her conscious.
The man changed again. Some of the hair returned, the blue patterning fading under a shock of greying brown hair. The eyes unchanged, the face smooth and impassive as any Minbari if not for the warm and very human smile there. A human-minbari hybrid not unlike her leader.
'Why this partial change?' she wondered.
"I am the bridge between worlds, a builder of worlds and dreams. As is she. Why not this form? It is as sufficient as the others." The man replied. The smile faded, the sky above them rumbled and darkened.
"An echo of the past must be heard." He repeated his phrase again, a hint of edge in his tone.
"I can't!" She yelled at him.
The warmth died. Coldfire burned in the amber eyes, unforgiving, ruthless. A mask of cold indifference made ugly by the scar the marred his face from cheek to jaw.
"Then watch the fire consume all around you. Watch as the dead sing the praises of the damned and bless the cursed living for their arrogance." The voice was raspy, dead and promising of a darkness and evil worse than anything she could imagine.
She started to leave, surprised to find cold hands holding her, iron clad and unbreakable. She looked into his eyes and saw It dancing there. Gleefully demonic, hungry, waiting. "Look, damn you. Look at your world."
Unwillingly she looked into the valley below, saw the city, the compound. Once bright and life filled, now dead, charred, burning. The living damned crying for, begging for release from their torment. Smoke rose through the air.The beautiful city destroyed. The City of Sorrows now truly reminiscent of its name. Blackened. A wasteland. Blasted away in hellish fire.
Quickflash. Not of bright light, but ugly red from the sky. The rumble replaced by a whine. Unwillingly, but unable to stop, she looked up. And saw clouds. Clouds of Shadow ships. Hundreds. Thousands. Millions. So many, so thick they blotted out the sun and the stars themselves. Unending waves of Darkness and the screams of joyous death, of evil incarnate.
"Please, stop this." She whispered, begging. Tears streaming from her eyes.
"I can not. Only you can The echo of the past must be heard." He said suddenly gentle, the familiar friendly voice returned to the stony face and cold, dead eye.
"I'm afraid." She whispered.
"We all are. But fear must be and can be conquered. The terror must end. you know this in your heart." She looked back at him and saw her friend again, warm and very alive looking. Looking exactly as he had the last time she had seen him.
She nodded slowly. "But I am not certain I am ready."
"You are." He smiled confidently at her.
"How do you know? You are dead." She asked in disbelief.
"Am I truly dead? I am here now. You're thoughts called me here. So here I am. Death is but an end of your current existence, Danya. It's the beginning of something greater. But Death is worthless if your life is worthless." He replied.
"I don't understand." She said, completely confused.
"You're not supposed to. You're not ready yet." He grinned, happily.
"When will I be ready?"
His smile faded to a serious expression. "When the echo of the past is heard."
"But I don't think I can do it." She protested.
He suddenly looked pleadingly at her, a deep sadness in his eyes. "You promised me, Danya. You promised."
"I know, Jeff. I know I promised. But I can't go back. I'm sorry." She started crying.
"You have to go back. Make my dream live, Danya. Make my passing mean something." He demanded.
"I am afraid." She whispered again, trying to stop the tears from flowing.
"We all are. Did you think I was not afraid. Or Jenimer? Or William? Or Catherine? Or all the others?" Jeff asked.
"But I am alone." She said.
"You are never alone. I am here. They are here. When you pass on, we will be waiting. We've always been waiting for each other." Jeff smiled serenely.
"In the place where no shadows fall?" She asked, a hint of true hopefulness in her voice.
"That is one name for it. I believe your people would have called it the Happy Hunting ground, yes?" He asked in a slightly teasing voice, reminiscent of a fond memory.
She chuckled at his comment, remembering her attempt to explain her people's beliefs to him. "Yes."
"Feel better now?" He asked, gently.
She nodded, surprised to find that for the first time in longer than she cared to think about she *did* feel better. The guilt was gone for what she had done. But the emptiness lingered, gnawing at her very soul.
"I know. But it will be all right, Danya. Trust me on this. Everything will be all right. As long as the heart, the mind, and the soul are united, everything will be all right." He reassured her.
She looked at him and saw the sad, knowing smile she had so often gazed upon. And her resolve crystalized. "I know. Thank you." She whispered, stepping forward to hug him now as she would have never done in the past. The embrace was kind, comforting, warm, loving. Over far to quickly for her taste.
He stepped back, she noted he was fading now, almost completely transparent. He looked away as if seeing something she could not. A horizon beyond what she could see. A sad smile flitted across his face. "Will the echo of the past be heard?"
"Yes, Jeffrey Sinclair. It will be heard, and felt, and remembered. I swore this to you then, and I do so again. Isil'zha veni." Danya stated firmly.
"Isil'zha veni, my friend." His form faded into the closing chaos.
Quickflash, a searing burn, faster than imaginable, deadly.
Danya's eyes flew open. She caught the lightning with her thoughts a mere foot from her. Contained it, felt it's power in her mental grasp. Carefully studied it as it started to dissipate. Ignored the tingling of her skin. Soon enough it had dissipated, gone as quickly as it came. More fleeting than the wind that now raged around her, tugging viciously at her rain soaked robes.
She realized she was shivering from the freezing rain buffeting her and rose to return to her chamber.
"Most impressive, Anla'shok." A familiar voice said with complete awe.
"Ojorrun!" Danya practically yelped the name in surprise as she turned to see the old Sech standing nearby, protected from the storm by a crystalline overhang.
Sech Ojorrun smiled hesitantly at Danya, an odd mix of awe and the pride a master has for a prize student. "Well, come get out of the rain, before you catch ill." Ojorrun mockingly chastised the human female.
Danya readily complied with a rueful smile. After reaching cover she bowed politely and focused her thoughts to him. 'My apologies Sech Ojorrun. Did you require my services elsewhere in the temple?'
'Not at all, Danya.' Ojorrun led her back into the warmth of the temple with a smile. 'Many of us were simply concerned for you since the storm worsened so quickly.' As if to emphasize his point a loud rumbling echoed through the temple.
'I am sorry if I am the cause for anyone's distress or concern. That was not my intention.' Danya apologized.
'I know. That is why I decided to check on you myself.' Ojorrun replied simply, leaving left unsaid in his thoughts the opinion of a rare few of the telepaths at the temple. Danya did not need to hear the words, mentally or verbally, to know there were some opposed to her, or any other, humans presence at the sacred place.
"Danya, is there something wrong?" Ojurrun stopped outside her sleeping cell, choosing to voice his question.
"What do you mean?" Danya asked puzzled by Ojurrun's sudden question.
"I watched you for several minutes. Lightly scanned you even. In the past you instantly recognized my presence and easily could block me out. In the garden it was if you were 'elsewhere'. I could feel nothing but a wall of power." Ojorrun looked away for a moment in embarrassment.
"You are wondering how I did it?" She asked softly. The Minbari simply nodded.
"Like so many of my abilities, I don't know how I did it. I wasn't even aware I was doing what you claim I did." Danya confessed.
"May I ask what you were meditating on?" Ojorrun asked.
Though it was considered rude for such a question to be asked by any Minbari, it was doubly so for a master Sech such as Ojorrun. But Danya had encouraged Ojorrun's unusual inquisitiveness about her abilities because it gave her someone to discuss her triumphs and failures, as well as talk about the personal demons that still haunted her.
Ojorrun had saved her from insanity and eventual death. She felt he at least deserved to know the truth about her meditations. In this way he could better help her control her gifts.
Danya looked down, a smile flashing across her face. "I was reflecting on an echo from the past." She murmured.
Ojorrun nodded sagely at her words. "You appear to have had a satisfactory conclusion to this reflection?"
Danya shrugged. "I don't know. I have not started along that path yet. I will be leaving tomorrow."
"Leaving? Where are you going?" Ojorrun asked, truly surprised.
"Delenn has made a call for all telepaths willing to serve to come to Babylon 5, has she not?" Danya asked, already fully aware of the answer.
"Of course. you know this. That is why I and several others will be leaving soon. It is the sea calling to me for one more service to my...our people before I pass beyond the veil. But why you? Why now?" Ojorrun nodded.
"I have decided to return to the Anla'shok. The investure of Delenn as the new Entil'zha seems as good a time to return as any. The Dream must continue." Danya said simply, bowing politely before entering her small quarters. Before she could close the door Ojorrun stepped forward, staring intently at her for several moments. Danya allowed this knowing it was extremely impolite to close the door in the face of a revered Sech such as Ojorrun.
"You have seen *His* Dream, haven't you?" Ojorrun finally asked. "You have seen *Him*?"
Danya smiled sadly. "I saw an old friend, passed beyond our grasp."
With that she closed the door, leaving the elderly Minbari telepath staring in shock at the smooth surface before him, unable to believe what she had admitted but knowing she had spoken true. He slowly walked back to his own chambers. He would need to meditate on what he had seen and heard.