Title: Tidal Forces
Author: B5Crusader@geocities.com Date: 09-11-97 Revised: 02-11-98
Notes/Dedication: Tidal Forces came about after a few of my fellow B5 fans were discussing the Rangers and telepaths. After it was noted that very little was ever mentioned about telekenetics or what type of people join the Rangers, this story just came to mind. This story takes place in Season 2, but after the events in K. Drennan's Book 9 "To Dream in the City of Sorrows." and before the events of Season 3's "War Without End" Parts 1 & 2.
As always criticism and suggestions are welcome, but keep the corned beef sandwiches.. :)
Tuzanor, Minbar, Minbari Federation 2259
Danya smiled slightly to herself. She was happy. She couldn't remember the last time she'd been happy. She was happy it was quiet. It was strange but Minbar was quiet. Such well disciplined people. Being around Minbari made her happy, though such a notion was contradictory to what she had been raised to believe. She was a human after all.
The silence was precious and welcome relief. Danya couldn't remember if she had ever been surrounded by such wondrous silence. Everything here seemed radiate peace and serenity. The scent of the garden, the teemswee chirping, even the funny little goks as they played a few meters away under a small well trimmed bush. She sighed contentedly.
All of this was appreciated even more remembering the last few years of her life. The Corps was difficult for all since teeps had a great responsibility to protect humanity. For Danya, it had been nearly unbearable. She was "special" as she had been continually been told up until ten months ago when she'd killed two PsiCops and three Corp doctors. Now she was rogue. A blip.
Danya sighed and quickly pushed the thoughts of her past away. She had come to Minbar looking to serve again. To make a difference. She only hoped that what she had heard of Ambassador Sinclair was not true. She doubted the news reports were any where near accurate. Danya found the notion that one of the Heroes of the Line could betray Earth absolutely ludicrous. Unfortunately, too many back on Earth seemed to be buying it.
"Ms. Tworivers?" A lightly accented voice asked gently.
Danya turned to see a young Minbari standing patiently waiting for her. She was rather surprised she had not felt his presence before but decided that it was not important.
She remembered he was the one who had greeted her at the main port in Yedor but couldn't recall his name. She could have simply scanned for it but did not allow herself too. The same thing that made her "special" to the Corps also tended to make he react badly to even the lightest scan on others, be they alien or human. She could not take the chance for fear of harming or even killing whoever she scanned.
"Yes?" She said after a moment realizing she had forgotten to speak. She continually had to remind herself to talk amongst normals. She had rarely been around anyone but other members of the Corps. Even those had been carefully screened to ensure not to be harmed by her or she by them.
"Ambassador Sinclair will be meeting with you and the others soon. Would you please follow me." He smiled serenely and bowed.
Danya stood and out of politeness bowed slightly before following him to the Ambassador's office. Once there she was placed in a room that contained four other Minbari and eight humans. All were cautiously talking to one another. Danya instantly clamped down on her mental shields. The thoughts and emotions in the room were very loud. What little peace she had was now lost. She sighed again to herself thankful for at least a short period of peace and quiet.
The others quickly greeted her drawing her into their discussions. It was the typical chat of people trying to get to know one another. Where they were from, where they had been, why they came here, the weather, favorite foods, and so on. Despite the rather bland topics Danya found her self enjoying talking with the others. She quickly realized she did like talking to people despite the constant background "noise" in her head.
"May I have your attention please, the Ambassador will be here shortly." A Minbari announced.
The small groups quieted instantly and remained that way for the few minutes it took for the Ambassador to arrive. Danya found it interesting to note that all, including the Minbari, were nervously thinking about the Ambassador in one manner or another. She wasn't trying to deliberately scan them. Their thoughts were simply overwhelming her mental shields with their close proximity.
Danya was surprised to see a scar on the Ambassadors face as he entered the room. She quickly recalled her Corps history lessons regarding the Battle of the Line and its most noted hero. She was certain he had no scars then. She mentally shrugged to herself. She wasn't exactly joining the local chess club after all.
She listened intently as Ambassador Sinclair defined and explained what the Rangers were and what they fought for. She was gratified to learn that everything she had been told about the Rangers were true. Well before he had finished she had decided she would remain and become a Ranger.
All the other members of her group also chose to join as well, as she suspected would happen. If nothing else, Ambassador Sinclair knew how to bring people over to his side. She wasn't really surprised he'd been able to make the mixed Human-Minbari Rangers work despite the wounds left from the terrible war between the two peoples.
Another two Rangers, both humans gathered her group together and started to leave.
Danya turned to see the same Minbari from the gardens standing beside her.
"Entil'Zha wishes to speak with you." The Minbari replied and started for the doorway the Ambassador had come through, obviously expecting her to follow. Danya quickly filed away the term Entil'Zha for future reference. She figured it was probably another way of indicating Sinclair's position as leader of the Rangers. She knew enough Minbari to know it was not the title used to address an Ambassador.
A few moments, and several hallways later Danya found herself in a rather simple room that she instantly found very soothing. The crystalline structure of the room diffused the day's light making the room seem warm. The few plants throughout out the room vaguely reminded her of the garden, which she suspected was what had been intended.
'Good room harmonics.' Her old PsiCorps training kicking in before she even realized it. She inwardly chastised herself. Despite this she knew her assessment was true. This would be a good room for a teep to work in. No discernible distractions or residual emotions or thoughts from previous occupants of the room.
Danya took one of the two chairs in the room next to an unobtrusive desk and simply waited silently for her new Commander. Seeing such a golden opportunity she lowered her shields a little to enjoy the harmonious room.
She studied the plants and without even realizing became absorbed by them. The colors were vibrant and many hued. The smell equally enticing. The textures varied. Smooth here, rough there. Such deep green. The scent pleasant, sweet, surrounding her. The leaves supple, bending easily as she moved them. Touched them. The smell of the earth...she could feel the sun. Such vibrancy, the scent...
"Ms. Tworivers? Are you feeling well?"
Danya stood up startled to see Jeffrey Sinclair looking at her in concern. She clearly sense the mixture or concern and interest but not his thoughts, which surprised her.
"Uh...that is yes. Yes, I-I'm fine." Danya answered, wishing her voice sounded steadier than it did.
Jeffrey Sinclair looked at her for a moment appraisingly before turning away to sit in the chair across from her. Danya took that moment to put her mental shield back in place and reinforce them. She internally chastised her self for nearly losing control.
She closed her eyes for a moment. When opened again she saw Sinclair silently watching her. She wished her view of him wasn't so distorted. Every color contrasted too sharply, every line sharpened here, blurred there. The scar seemed to gap on his cheek. She tried her best to ignore the image. It was simply an after effect of her nearly losing control.
"You wanted to see me?" She asked, thankful her voice sounded reasonably normal again.
"Yes. There seem to be a few...discrepancies about your background." Sinclair said.
"Discrepancies? I'm not sure I understand." Danya lied. She knew Sinclair was politely saying she had lied through her teeth and been caught by him. She briefly wondered how he had uncovered her carefully established, albeit false, background.
"I think you do. Would you care to explain?" Sinclair asked.
Danya said nothing. She could see he was more interested in why she had lied rather than the fact that she had lied. Then again she figured he could easily arrange for any person that threatened him to be taken care of one way or another. She had noted the devotion of the Minbari in general towards him. The Rangers seemed even more devoted, though she wasn't sure why.
He sighed and leaned back into his chair.
"You know. I've learned a great deal in my time here on Minbar. Their history, their language, their culture, their people. They are uncommonly wise. They also have much more in common with humans than even I had thought."
He paused to look at for a moment. Danya remained silent unsure as to what to do or what Sinclair expected of her.
"I find it interesting though that they seem to share one trait in particular. Do you know what that may be?"
"No. I haven't had much contact with Minbari." Danya answered neutrally.
"Lies? But it is said Minbari do not lie." She asked puzzled at the answer to his own question.
"Yes, but you forgot the other part of that statement. Minbari do not lie, but Minbari never tell you the whole truth." Sinclair said.
"I had not heard that before." Danya answered.
"It's rather ironic considering a favorite saying of theirs is 'a half truth is worse than a lie'. So, how is it that two races separated by culture, lightyears and societal development can be so similar?" He asked.
"I do not understand the question." Danya answered intrigued at where Sinclair was going with this conversation.
"Minbari pride themselves on being truthful. They admire honesty and integrity. So does humanity. So how is it that the Minbari are known universally as being honest as a race are the most likely to lie if it suits their purpose? And how is it that Humans widely seen as dubious at best in their truthfulness are most likely to be honest if it suits their purpose?" Sinclair asked watching her sharply.
"Maybe because in their hearts they really are honest and value the truth above all. Maybe they just get scared because others may not understand." Danya answered slowly.
"So then I guess my question to you is what are you scared of enough to make you lie to me?" Sinclair asked looking pleased at her answer to his previous questions.
Danya looked down for a moment. When she looked back up she knew she had her decision. She needed to trust someone. Why not him?
"I'm a rogue telepath." She stated simply.
"A blip? What's your psi rating?" He didn't seem to surprised or concerned by this information. Danya took heart in that.
"I'm a P-10."
He raised his eyebrows at that but said nothing.
'A half truth is worse than a lie.' The words Sinclair had just spoken came back to here in sharp clarity.
She suddenly felt oddly guilty and ashamed at holding back on her telekenetik abilities. But she knew teeks were even feared by others, both normal or teep alike. The ability to manipulate matter was frightening. Danya knew most teeks were mentally unstable, unlike herself. She highly suspected the instability was due to that ability. Manipulating matter with a mere thought was an awesome feeling. She felt almost godlike on occasions she had used her abilities. Invulnerable. Unstoppable. It was something that could easily become abused.
At that moment she desperately wanted to tell him but somehow could not bring herself to. She remembered all to well the fear others had directed at her upon discovering what made the Corp consider her so special.
"I left the Corp because of...something I saw. And did. I'd rather not talk about that." Danya added hastily.
"I understand perfectly. I've seen a few things in my time I'd rather not talk about either." Sinclair remarked rather cryptically.
"Will you allow me to join the Rangers? I understand if you decide that I must leave." Danya asked, hopeful that she would be allowed to stay but suspecting that she would be pushed aside.
"Of course you may. I think I may have need of a telepath in the future. You will train with the rest of the Rangers." He reassured her.
"Thank you. I was afraid you'd not let me join once you discovered I was a teep." Danya said smiling in relief.
"I prefer the Minbari way of dealing with telepaths. Here telepaths are regarded as special. They are helped and trained but are expected to serve others when needed. The rest of the time they may do as they wish." Sinclair informed her.
"That sounds nice. Kind of the way the Corp was envisioned but never became." Danya said.
"I suppose so. Well you should join the others." Sinclair rose.
Danya quickly stood with him.
"Thank you again, sir."
"Thank you for being honest with me, Ms. Tworivers. You may find a little honesty will take you far here on Minbar." Sinclair said.
"I'm sure it will, sir. Again, thank you." Danya bowed her head and quickly left the room, relieved that her secret would be safe. She was certain Sinclair would not reveal her secret to anyone so long as she did nothing to bring suspicion on her self.
"I'm glad you're here. You know how grateful I am?" Hekili spoke softly in Adronado, the pain only slightly heard in voice.
Danya felt more than heard that pain. Being this close it was hard for her not to feel it. She was simply glad Hekili was even alive to experience the pain. It would pass in time and he would return to his old self soon enough. Danya did not like to think about the barely avoided alternative.
'If I hadn't been there...' Danya let the thought pass away quickly and smiled reassuringly at her Minbari friend.
"I know. You would do the same for me, would you not?"
"Yes, of course. All life is sacred." Hekili replied a small but pained smile brightening his face.
"Then let us speak no more about it, my friend." Danya patted Hekili's limp hand gently, prompting the Minbari's smile to grow somewhat.
"As you wish."
Seeing Hekili was tired and the furtive glances the nearby healer was giving both of them Danya stood slowly.
"I should let you rest. And the healers undoubtably wish to confer with you before you rest."
"You do not have to leave on my account." Hekili said. Danya picked up the light humor behind the words that had been aimed more for the ears of the Healer than for Danya. Hekili had a very odd sense of humor for a Minbari who'd grown up in a rather strict Religious Caste Clan.
'Almost human in nature.' Danya noted idly while suppressing a smile that threatened to break across her face. "I know, but the Nafak'Cha is tomorrow. We will both need to be rested for the ceremony. It is very important."
Danya saw Hekili's eyes gleam in silent humor at the irony. A human equally excited and anticipating the Nafak'Cha as any Minbari.
'Who would have thought such a thing possible?' Danya knew it was Hekili's "voice" in her mind. Danya smiled to her self as she placed her palm on Hekili's chest.
"Valen be with you, Hekili."
"And may He light you way, Danya." He replied solemnly.
Danya quickly left the room as the Healer glanced at her. Danya did not miss the anger in her eyes. Despite the popularity of the Humans amongst the Minbari of Tuzanor, there were still some who resented their presence. Admittedly most of these quiet dissenters were not from Tuzanor and the surrounding region but Danya was always careful to avoid these individuals once she knew who they were. Given her abilities, this was a rather easy thing to do.
She sighed in relief after closing the door to her small cell. Her room mate, Eve Worthington, was quietly studying a small book that Danya recognized from their philosophy classes. Like many humans who joined the Rangers they were intrigued by the founder of the Rangers. The mysterious, almost deified Valen. Eve was especially drawn to study the prophecies of Valen. Danya was also intrigued by them but no where near so as Eve.
Eve glanced up at Danya and nodded a silent greeting. Eve knew Danya was a telepath. Danya was truly grateful that Eve never felt the need to chat about trivialities to fill the silence between them. They were closer friends without a single word or thought between them than many who talked to their friends everyday.
Danya lie down and closed her eyes, letting the mental shields and tensions of the day wash away from her. She could hear Eve's thoughts but quickly pushed them into aside until they were a barely felt background noise in her mind. She released a deep breath of air, feeling her muscles relax.
The day had started as any other day of training in the Rangers. A blend of combat training, language and cultural studies, tactics, philosophy, meditation, and the usual physical conditioning. A typically busy day for Ranger trainees. Typical until the accident at the flight hangers.
Danya had been assigned to help with repairs on a damaged flyer. The flyer had been damaged the previous day by a trainee with more bravado the flight skill and had scraped up against some trees while flying nap of the earth in an attempt to impress Sech Nileera, one of the flight instructors. Danya had been most pleased to have been chosen to work on the Minbari craft with Hekili, a Ranger assigned to maintaining the training craft.
Everything had gone well. The repair had been easy enough to fix. Hekili had noted her interest and skill in repairing Minbari systems and had showed her much of the flyer giving detailed instructions and information about the craft. After noting the other technicians had left for the mid-day meal Hekili had ordered her to wait for him at the entrance of the hangar while he secured the ship before they too went to eat.
Just as she reached the entrance she had heard Hekili's cry and the sound of crashing metal follow it. Spinning quickly she saw that somehow a stack of crates containing parts had fallen and trapped Hekili underneath. A passing Ranger who had heard the commotion had rushed in. Danya immedietly ordered him to get help before she had run over to Hekili.
It had been obvious the Minbari was in great pain. Danya had concentrated on the quarter ton crates and literally tossed them aside without even realizing she hadn't even touched them. She had been too concerned with getting Hekili out and safe that she had simply used her talent on instinct.
'How could I be so stupid?' She wondered, in remembering the days events. Fortunately, Hekili could not remember things clearly and no one had seemed concerned as to how he had been freed.
Despite her relief that her telekenetic ability was still a secret, she was puzzled slightly as to why the usual after effects she often suffered had not surfaced. On one hand, she was glad they hadn't surfaced, but on the other it made her nervous. Was she starting to loose touch with reality like the rest of her family had?
Danya sighed to herself, pushing aside these thoughts. She was sure she just needed to rest.
A moment before a knock came at the door Danya sat up suddenly as she felt a familiar presence just outside. Like all telepaths Danya wasn't able to read people unless she had line of sight but she was able to pick up impressions. Eve noticed Danya's movement and quickly went to the door having learned very early in their time together that Danya always seemed to know when someone was at their door. Eve waited for the knock before opening the door
Eve's eyes widened in shock as Entil'Zha stood in the doorway dressed in a simple Ranger uniform, but she quickly bowed to cover her surprised expression. Danya quickly rose and followed Eve's example.
"We are honored by your visit, Entil'Zha. Would you like some tea?" Danya asked in formal politeness.
Jeffrey Sinclair smiled slightly at that but shook his head. "No, but thank you. Ms. Tworivers, I would like to speak with you for a few moments in regards to the accident today."
"Of course, Entil'Zha." Danya said quickly and followed Sinclair out the door.
Danya was slightly puzzled at Entil'Zha's request, especially since he had come in person. Usually a summons by Entil'Zha was done by one of his Rangers. She walked quietly beside him, glancing out of the corner of her eye to gage what he was feeling or thinking. She would never scan him. She had far too much respect for him to ever do that, even if her personal beliefs would have allowed her to do so anyway.
Her puzzlement grew as they passed the training headquarters building but she kept silent knowing better than to ask what he was doing.
'The only way to get a straight answer out of Ranger One was too look at each reply in a mirror while hanging upside down.'
Danya didn't particularly feel up to deciphering one of Entil'Zha's cryptic words of wisdom. She could swear he was actually a Vorlon sometimes, though she admitted the only Vorlon she'd ever met was the Ambassador to Minbar. The impression she got from that Vorlon had made her decide to avoid them like the plague at all times.
Danya was surprised when Entil'Zha suddenly turned to enter "the Chapel", as the Human Rangers had dubbed the rather impressive building. She quickly followed him as he strode up the aisle to a bench situated near the statue of Valen. He took a seat and gestured for her to sit as well. She quickly complied.
"Tell me what happened today." He said simply, the command authority in his voice obvious.
Danya frowned slightly knowing he would have been informed of her report.
"Ranger Hekili and I had finished repairs on the flyer just before the midday. He ordered me to wait for him at the entrance of the hanger. Upon reaching there I heard him cry out and turned to see him injured. Another Ranger heard the sound and came in. I ordered him to get help. I then proceeded to help Ranger Hekili with his injuries." She reported succinctly.
"Nothing else?" Jeffrey asked.
"No, sir." Danya replied.
For several moments Jeffrey Sinclair watched her without saying a word. Danya was staring to feel nervous at his silence when he finally started to speak again.
"Ollenar, the Ranger who was there when the accident occurred, reported that a number of crates had fallen on Hekili. You made no mention of this." He said quietly.
"Perhaps Ollenar was mistaken. Everything happened very quickly and he only saw the situation for a few moments. It was a rather shocking accident." Danya suggested by way of explanation. She hated herself the whole time as she again had to lie to protect her secret.
"Hmm. Perhaps." Jeff conceded.
"May I know why you are asking me these questions?" Danya asked.
"Nothing important. Simply Sech Vesil noted that all the crates combined weight was about a quarter ton and that no single human or Minbari could lift such weight alone, given their bulkiness. I also wanted to hear from you personally what happened." He answered.
"I see." Danya replied uncertainly.
"By the way, you did an excellent job during the accident. Ranger Hekili was most kind in his praise of you. You made a good impression on him. And me." Jeff said smiling.
Danya blushed in embarrassment at Entil'Zha's praise.
"I was only doing what needed to be done, sir. I do not deserve any praise. I am a Ranger...well, I will be a Ranger. We're suppose to help those in need when we can."
Jeff's smile grew at her words.
"I have no doubts you will become a Ranger. I suspect you'll be one of our best."
"We all are the best. We would not be here otherwise." Danya said confidently. This caused Jeff to laugh gently.
"Of course." He conceded humorously.
Danya was glad to see that Ranger One was in what seemed to be a good mood now. She had rarely seen him happy and relaxed. Much of the time he seemed mysterious and brooding. Almost dark and foreboding at times. She, like the rest, had heard from the older Rangers that he had been different until Anla'shok Sakai had passed beyond during a mission Entil'Zha had led. The story was well known and recounted often to remind the trainees of what sacrifices might have to be made to stop the Darkness.
Unlike many of the others, though, Danya did not hold Jeffrey Sinclair in awe. She respected and admired him, but was not as fanatical and reverential towards him as she had seen some. She did not mistake his actions as aloofness like many others trainees, but instead saw it for what it was. Determination, pain and loneliness. Entil'Zha was a great man, but he walked his path alone and headed unwavering to what ever awaited him at the end of his journey. Having experienced that path herself she admired him in that regard.
Several minutes passed as they both sat under the statue of Valen lost in their own thoughts. Danya could feel vague emotions and images from Entil'Zha. They seemed to be mixed, both good and bad, but were mere background noise to her own thoughts and memories.
A light chime sounded startling Danya out of her reverie. She realized with a shock that it was past mid-night. She looked over to Entil'Zha to see him looking intently at the statue of Valen as if he had not heard the chime. In that moment Danya made her decision.
Jeffrey Sinclair looked over at her. "Yes?"
"It is past the mid-night chime had wrung." Danya stated simply. Jeff smiled lightly at her.
"I know. I'm sorry if I kept you. Please go and rest. The Nafak'Cha is today."
Danya smiled in thanks and bowed her head but remained were she sat. "That is what I wished to talk to you about, sir."
Jeff looked at her questioningly and nodded for her to continue.
"It is tradition that a secret be told to someone during the Nafak'Cha that one had never told anyone else. Correct?" She asked. Even to her it sounded like she was stalling for time.
Jeff merely nodded. "Yes. That is the tradition."
"If Entil'Zha would not deem it unsuitable I would like to tell him my secret as part of the Rebirth Ceremony." Danya asked formally in Adronado.
Jeff nodded solemnly. "I would be honored."
Danya hesitated before continuing. "I'm not sure that what I have to tell you would qualify as a secret that no one else knows. It's about my past."
"Psi Corps." Jeff stated.
Danya nodded slowly. Jeff smiled reassuringly. "I think whatever you have to tell me will qualify under the ritual. There have been some Rangers who never tell any secret during the ceremony. It is merely a tradition intended to encourage trust between all involved. It is not the important part of the Nafak'Cha."
"I understand that. But it is difficult to say what I have kept a secret. I'm afraid you may not think well of me afterwards." Danya sid looking down.
"Why would I think less of you?" He asked puzzled.
"A little honesty may take you far." She quoted looking up at him. For a moment, puzzlement reigned in his eyes until Jeff remembered where he had heard that phrase.
"And what has honesty have to do with you?" He asked.
"I haven't told you the whole truth about myself." She stated simply.
"Then, you are not a telepath?" He asked.
She actually chuckled at that. "Oh, I am a telepath. But I didn't tell you why I left the Corps."
"And I didn't inquire. I don't blame anyone for running from the Corps. Every PsiCop I've ever met had trouble following three steps behind." Jeff said.
Danya laughed at this joke, relieving some of her tension. "It's more true than you know."
"So why did you leave the Corps?" He asked gently.
Danya took a deep breath and released it slowly. "Do you know what telepaths in the Corp refer to each other as?" She asked.
"I believe the term is teeps. And mundanes are non-telepaths." Jeff replied. Danya smiled in relief that Entil'Zha knew something of the Corps.
"I am a teep as I told you, but I was not classified a teep. I was...am...a teek." Danya stated firmly.
"A teek? I don't believe I've ever heard a reference to that before." Danya could see his interest was piqued. In that instant she caught an image in his mind of something awesome. And it had a name: Ironheart. Just as quickly as it came the image went away.
"I am a telekenetic. A teek."
"A telekenetik? I thought there were no stable telekenetics?" Jeff looked unable to hide his surprise. Danya was relieved that the fear and rejection she had suspected might occur did not. In fact Ranger One seemed even more sympathetic.
"There are...a few. We are rare. Rare enough that the Corps doesn't let our existence be known to most. Teeks are just mere legends or nutcases to the rest of the mundanes." Danya stated.
"Please continue." He said after she paused for several moments.
"I'm a eight on the teek scale. That may seem high but the teek scale has a wide margin if error for each level of the scale because there are so few of us. Only one in ten thousand telepaths exhibits telekenetik abilities. Over half are insane. Those that aren't insane are generally too weak in their ability to be of much use to the Corp."
"So not only are you a strong teek but you're mentally stable." Jeff commented. Danya bittersweet smiled in response.
"Yes, I am what the Corps considers stable. But I'm not sure how long that will be."
"What do you mean 'for how long'?" Danya could feel his alarm at that statement.
"My family has a long history on the Corps. I'm a fifth generation telekenetik. My family has always been over five on the teek scale and we've always been stable at first. Until my generation." Danya closed her eyes as she continued.
"I was the youngest of five children, two sisters and two brothers. One of my sisters was a mundane. She never developed any abilities, telepathic or telekenetik. My other sister was a powerful teek, a ten. She went rogue at age sixteen killing eight people before she was taken down by the PsiCops. My oldest brother was a low level teek, a three, but a powerful telepath, a P12. My other brother was like me an eight teak and a P10 telepath. He started out okay but after a few years with the Corps he went crazy. When the Psi Cops found out what he had been doing to mundanes they sent my other brother to stop them. Peter ended up killing Thomas when he put up a struggle. Tommy nearly killed Peter using his teek abilities but Peter was smarter and faster. Pete was never the same after that. I haven't seen him since."
"I'm sorry." Jeff said quietly.
Danya nodded her head slightly in thanks, her eyes still closed.
"My father never forgave Peter for killing Tommy. He...snapped one day, a few months after Tommy's death. He went fro a walk outside the dome at Syria Planum. His body was found several weeks later. He died of a ppg wound to the head. Mother just...ran away. The PsiCops went after her of course. Brought her back several times. The final time she was completely crazed. She kept screaming non-sense. The walls were talking to her, the plants would eat her, the stars were singing to her. Stuff like that. She's in a Corp run asylum doped up on sleepers and anti-depressants. She doesn't even know me anymore."
Danya sat up straighter and opened her eyes to see the compassion in Ranger One's eyes that she had felt in his thoughts as she related her story.
"I was a part of several experiments in the Corp. I am a teek but I'm very sensitive telepathically to people around me. I...do not react well to others. Because of this, the Corp restricted those I could be around. They had no desire to loose another powerful teek to insanity. These experiments were to try to enhance my abilities and control the after effects on my mind."
"What sort of effects?" She noted the concern in his voice.
"I...I'm not sure I can describe it. I often feel detached to those around me, afterwards. At the same time I feel..." Danya shrugged as she struggled for a word to describe what it was like.
"Omnipotent?" Jeff supplied.
"Yes." Danya conceded. "But it's more than that. Sometimes, I loose myself in whatever I may be using my telekenetics on. On some occasions I don't even realize I'm doing it. It's difficult afterwards, like reality is somehow oddly distorted. That was why the Corp had me in the experiments. They were trying to figure out how I could better control my ability and not be affected as much."
"So why did you leave?" She could tell from his expression that he already suspected her answer.
"They didn't want me to improve my abilities for really useful applications like construction, telepathic shield for military craft or hazardous material containment. They wanted it for uses that required finesse, manipulating circuits, wires, things like that. One day I couldn't help but over hear two PsiCops talking about my progress. In one of the Cops mind's I saw what they wanted from me."
"They wanted you to be an assassin." Jeff stated simply much to Danya shock.
"How...?" Then she saw the image from his mind again and she understood not what she was looking at but who. Ironheart.
"Ironheart." She whispered.
He merely nodded a silent affirmation.
"So you ran."
"Yes. After two years on the run, I heard about the Rangers. I've always wanted to serve Earth, to protect it. So I came here. To serve in a new way." Danya stated.
"And you thought I would not trust you when you revealed this too me?" He asked gently.
"Not many take the information well." Danya replied.
"True. But I am different. Do not worry. No one shall know of your secret unless you choose to reveal it yourself." He smiled as he stood.
Danya quickly rose as well, feeling relieved and surprisingly at ease. "Thank you, Entil'Zha."
"Go get some rest now. It shall be dawn soon enough." He ordered.
Danya bowed and left The Chapel knowing she would rest well for the first time in years.
Ranger Compound, Tuzanor, Minbar,
Minbari Federation, 2260
"Entil'zha veni.. In Valen's Name!"
Jeffrey Sinclair repressed the smile that nearly broke across his face as he listened to the new Rangers chant in near perfect unison. He viewed the assembled Rangers before him with pride. They were some of the best Rangers they had been able to gather so far. Like all the previous training groups before them they were a wide and diverse group of people but united in defeating the Shadows.
But they were different than previous training groups. This group included the first Rangers not trained on Minbar, most notably those who had survived the near disaster at Zagros 7. Jeff was still pleased that Captain Sheridan, Delenn, and Marcus has been successful in getting them all out safely. He had been even more surprised at Sheridan's use of the infamous "bonehead maneuver" against the Shadow vessel. It was that creative thinking they were going to need if they were going to defeat the Darkness.
He silently watched the Rangers file out and congratulate each other. It was the usual mix of minbari and human congratulatory customs. Normally he did not stay long to watch the new Rangers mingle. He had found that as soon as they realized he was watching they became much more formal.
Jeff openly grinned as he spotted Danya Tworivers shake Anla'shok Hekili's hand before giving him what Jeff could only consider to be a "bear hug". The startled Minbari smiled uncertainly and returned the hug quickly. Several Sechs frowned slightly but said nothing apparently deciding it was simply human sentimentality.
Jeff wondered if the Sechs frowned simply in disapproval or if it was because they wished they could be as free and open with their emotions as the human Rangers. Jeff certainly knew the Minbari could be as equally passionate and emotional as any human, but kept it all hidden behind an emotionless mask of serenity.
Jeff realized he had been staring at Danya when she turned to looked directly at him and nodded her head slightly. Several nearby Rangers noticed her action and turned to see him as well. They too bowed respectfully. Jeff sighed, his moment of silent observation over. It was time to go back to work.
"Entil'zha, have you chosen someone for the mission?" Rathenn asked quietly, having silently approached the human. Rathenn was not surprised that Jeffrey Sinclair did not so much as even blink at his quiet approach.
"Yes, I have." The Human replied quietly.
"May I ask who it shall be?" Rathenn inquired. There were preparations that needed to be performed before hand.
"Anla'shok Hekili and Tworivers." Jeff replied, with a smile that Rathenn found rather odd. Entil'Zha rarely smiled in his presence since the loss of Anla'shok Sakai.
"I shall inform them." Rathenn bowed and started to leave.
"That's not necessary." Jeff said.
"But, Entil'Zha..." He was cut of by a slight wave of Jeff's hand. Rathenn noted the odd smile was still on his face.
"I shall inform them. Please wait a moment."
Rathenn nodded and waited. He was surprised to see Entil'Zha take only a few steps before stopping, his eyes focused on Ranger Tworivers.
'Danya, do you hear me?' Jeff concentrated on the words carefully in his mind. He was pleased when Danya suddenly grinned back at him in amused surprise.
'Yes, Entil'zha. I hear you. You've been practicing with the Minbari telepaths again, haven't you?' Jeff could hear the amusement in her voice.
'Well, if I can't read them, then I should at least make it possible for them to hear me clearly. No?' Jeff felt her laughter in her mind but could tell he was getting tired.
'Report to the administration building with Hekili. You have an assignment.'
Jeff sighed in relief as he felt Danya's mind pull away from him. He had been working with the Minbari telepaths to develop a way to train the Rangers to be more resistant to telepathic scan. The results had been encouraging but were far from being a certainty.
"Let's go, Rathenn. They will meet us there." Jeff said and turned to leave.
Rathenn followed, confused but unwilling to pry into how Entil'zha had made contact with the Ranger telepath. He mentally shrugged to himself. The more he learned about Entil'zha the less he understood him it seemed.
Danya smiled slightly as she and Hekili bowed to Entil'zha fifteen minutes later. Jeff returned the bows with a slight nod of his head.
"I'm glad you got here so quickly. I'm afraid you'll miss the graduation festivities. We need both of you for a mission. But you have to leave tonight." Jeff informed them without preamble.
"Understood, sir. What type of assignment is this?" Hekili asked curiously. Being worker caste by choice, instead of following his family's Religious caste leanings, he very much liked Entil'zha's no nonsense command style. Simple and efficient. The Religious and Warrior castes could learn something from that.
"I need you to check out Sector 812 out on the rim. There have been some disturbing reports by several traders of unusual happenings. I need to know if the Shadows or their allies are moving." Jeff stated.
"Surely there are Rangers closer to that area?" Danya asked.
She noted Entil'zha sighed tiredly at her question but she knew it was not her. Something else seemed to be bothering him.
"There are. Unfortunately all are busy keeping track of other reports of Shadow activity. I fear they may move soon. We are not ready for that but I need to know what happening so we can prepare."
Danya could tell Entil'zha was not happy about the situation at all. She sincerely hoped that the Shadows were not on the move. While the Rangers were getting stronger they still weren't' completely ready. The fleet was not even completed yet, for instance.
"We shall not fail you." Hekili said.
Both Ranger in unison chanted. "Entil'zha veni. In Valen's name." They both bowed and quickly left the room.
"God speed to you both." He murmured softly.
"Do we answer it?" Hekili looked over at Danya as he asked the question.
Danya's brow creased in a slight frown at what the ship's instruments told them. "Yes. We've got the information, or lack there of to be more accurate, Entil'zha wanted. I don't think he'd accept us leaving a crippled ship floating helpless. Besides, our cover should survive any scrutiny from whom ever we encounter."
"Very well. Earth Trader Ship Caravan, this is the Survey ship Behtarrin. We read you and are plotting an intercept course. We should arrive in...fifteen minutes." Hekili informed the crippled ship.
"Roger that, Behtarrin. Thanks for the help. We'll be waiting. Caravan out." Came the reply.
"Well, at least we get to do something out of this mission other than look at floating rocks." Hekili muttered.
"What? Roaming space looking for Shadows and finding nothing but asteroids too boring for you?" Danya asked, laughing.
"Well, I seem to recall you wanting to have a little target practice yesterday, hmm?" Hekili reminded her, pretending to be offended by her words.
She inclined her head to him with an apologetic smile. "My apologies, my most honored comrade."
"Humans!" Hekili grunted.
"Why, yes I am." Danya grinned as Hekili chuckled.
They'd been teasing and bantering with each other for nearly a month now, having started after two previous weeks of routine and quite boring scanning. They easily fit into the rare traffic of other ships out here with the small three person survey ship. Where the Rangers had acquired the little ship from was a mystery to them both. The "refinements" added by the Rangers were obvious to those who knew what to look for.
Danya had to admit she was surprised at the level of the Ranger's scouting network. Anyone else searching for information of their ship, would find that it was owned by a new Human-Minbari surveying company owned by a Misters Green and Trehkar based out of Minbar. The companies headquarters was listed as being in Yedor, but the small company's personnel center was listed as being in Drokor.
Danya herself found it amusing that the Rangers hid in plain sight. But then Entil'zha was all ways saying the best place to keep a secret was in plain sight.
"If we are unable to help them with their repairs, where do you suggest we take them?" Hekili asked.
"Babylon 5 would be the most logical place. It's not as close as some of the other outposts, but it's better equipped to help with repairs. Besides, it would get us back to Minbar all the more quickly." Danya answered.
"And if they do not wish to go to Babylon 5?" Hekili asked.
"We dump them on the nearest outpost and be on our way, like any other adventurers of the space lanes." Danya replied reasonably.
Hekili rolled in eyes at her final words.
"Okay, okay! So it wasn't exactly the most poetic thing in the universe. Sheesh!" Danya raised her hands in mock surrender.
Hekili chuckled lightly. The past month with Danya had changed his opinions about humans and telepaths greatly. As a child, the few telepaths he had met always seemed far too serious, too reserved for him to be comfortable around. The even fewer human telepaths he had encountered later seemed dour and unfriendly at even the best of occasions.
With Danya he had discovered that telepaths were just like anyone else he had ever worked with. She had a sense of humor that bridge both her peoples and his own, a depth of understanding and compassion he'd seen in only the most staunch religious caste healers, and a fierce determination that rivaled any Warrior he had ever met.
He was proud to call her Anla'shok, but even more proud to call her his friend. She was a strange one, but definitely well suited to the rigors and duties inherent in being a Ranger.But then, Danya had come to the Rangers through rather unusual means, he'd heard.
Fifteen minutes later the Behtarran approached the Caravan. Danya simply shook her head in amazement at the level of damage she saw. She glanced over to Hekili and saw him shake his head in answer to her silent question.
"Caravan, this is the Behtarran. The damage we see appears to be quite extensive. I'm afraid we will be unable to provide you with anything more than a tow if you feel your ship is structurally sound. May I suggest a tow to Babylon 5?" Hekili informed the Earth Ship.
"Thanks, Behtarran. The ship is structurally sound enough for a tow. Could you take us to Earth Outpost 210?" The captain of the Caravan replied.
"Earth Outpost 210. Understood, Caravan. We shall begin grappling procedures now, then head for the nearest gate." Hekili replied.
Hekili began busying himself with the grapple procedure as Danya took over piloting controls. With in a few minutes, the Caravan was secured and the two ships were on their way to the jumpgate.
"Behtarran to Caravan. We should reach the jumpgate in fifty four minutes. Then another fours hours in hyperspace before we reach Earth Outpost 210." Hekili reported.
"Roger that, Behtarran. Thanks for the save."
"May I ask what happened? It appears you were hit by something big." Danya looked questioningly at Hekili's sudden question.
"Looked like raiders to us. We we're headed towards a rendezvous point when they struck. We're all trying to figure out why they just left like they did." The Captain of the Caravan sounded truly puzzled.
Danya raised a skeptical eyebrow at the Earth Captain's explanation.
"It appears the universe has decided to be kind to you in your time of need. It pleases me to know that I have been able to help in this small way." Hekili replied.
"Uh...thanks." The Caravan's Captain sounded unsure at Hekili's words for a moment. "Hey! I got an idea. Ee-oh 210 has a really great restaurant for a Rimward post. How about I and my passengers treat your crew to dinner?"
Hekili looked over at Danya who shrugged and nodded her assent. "We would both be most honored to accept you offer." Hekili answered.
"Excellent. Only two, though? I keep forgetting you survey types are mostly loners."
"Yes, well we kind of consider ourselves 'adventurers of the space lanes'." Hekili replied, trying hard to ignore the withering stare Danya aimed at him.
The Captain of Caravan could heard laughing for a short time. "We've got some business here that's going to keep us occupied for sometime. See you when we touch down at 210. Caravan out."
Danya snorted in mock distaste as Hekili cut the link. "Minbari!"
"What?" Hekili asked.
The bantering began anew between the two Rangers. Underneath the barbs and jokes was a subtext both of them understood without a word. The Caravan's story didn't fit with the information they had about this sector. No one did business this far off the regular trade routes unless it was dangerous or illegal. Usually it was both.
Earth Outpost 210, Several hours later.
Danya winced as the sudden flood of thought and emotions that threatened to pierce through her mental shields as she and Hekili strode through the entrance of the restaurant, known simply as Rimmers. She could appreciate the humor of the name that surveyors and traders would derive from the name.
The instant she heard the room go silent she reinforced her mental blocks, knowing all thought would be centered on them. Or more correctly, on Hekili. The pair of Rangers had learned quickly that Minbari were a rare site here at 210.
"Hekili! Ms. Blackelk! Over here!" A small, thin human with a balding pate clothed in typical jumpsuit attire favored by long term spacers was waving them over to his location. The gathered sentients at the restaurant, mostly humans, quickly turned back to their meals as the pair joined the Caravan's captain.
"Trevor Hurdel. I'm most glad to finally meet you two face to face." Trevor greeted them, shaking their hands. At the table sat a woman dressed in black, her face a disapproving scowl.
Hekili bowed politely and smiled. "As it is for us. My name is Hekili. My companion is Ms. Blackelk."
Trevor grinned and turned to include the dark clad female. "This is Ms. Duova, of the Psi Corps. I'm afraid her partner Mr. Tworivers was delayed and will join us shortly."
Danya swallowed hard at hearing the Trevor's words. She simply stood there stunned to silence until she noted the two humans and the Minbari looking at her oddly.
"Are you all right, Ms. Blackelk?" Trevor asked.
"Ah..that is yes, Trevor. And please call me Dana." Danya smiled her best charming smile, hoping it didn't show any of the fear that entered her heart.
"Dana sometimes had trouble readjusting to normal gravity after such a long survey mission. It can be very tiring." Hekili explained in a matter-0-fact voice.
"Please, sit. Sit." Trevor encouraged them sit down. The pair did so, Danya not missing the questioning look Hekili gave her before returning to his usual Minbari mask of serenity so many non-Minbari seemed to expect.
"A pleasure to meet you, Ms. Duova." Danya nodded her head in polite greeting and further locked down her shields.
"Ah here comes Mr. Tworivers now." Trevor said.
Danya stiffened noticeably as she recognized the deep tenor voice instantly. "So these are our two rescuers."
Hekili stood and bowed. "I am Hekili...and...."
'Don't say anything, Peter!' She drilled the message so quickly into his mind he wasn't able to even attempt blocking the message Danya sent.
"...this is Ms. Blackelk."
Peter Tworivers simply stared at this Ms. Blackelk before him in shock. He knew *that* voice better than anyone else alive. It had been so many years since he'd actually seen her, but he recognized her despite the strange clothes and the harder edge she seemed to have developed. She was certainly stronger than he remembered and seemed much more disciplined with her thoughts.
He knew she was a 'blip' and knew what had to be done, but he had been alone so long he wanted a few minutes for himself. He made his decision. Seeing the odd expression on he partner's face but unable to read him, Ms Duova leaned forward. "Do you know Ms. Blackelk?"
"No. She just reminded me of someone I knew once. I'm sorry if I embarrassed you ,Ms Blackelk and Mr. Hekili." Peter smiled politely.
'Danya? What the hell are you doing here? Where have you been? Why did you run? I missed you. I'm sorry I didn't listen to you, talk to you before.' He directed his thought carefully to his sister, making sure to create enough 'clutter' in his mind to prevent his partner from realising what was happening.
'Not now, Peter. Later, when we are alone.' Danya retorted angrily. Peter backed off noting the sharp interest his partner was now directing him.
"I hope you both don't mind that I ordered ahead for all of us. It's cheese lasagna, the best you'll find outside of Italy back home. Also a fresh salad and some tea to drink." Trevor grinned, obviously anticipating teh coming meal.
"Is that not expensive? I would not wish to burden you. A simple dinner would be most welcome." Hekili spoke with obvious embarrassment.
Trevor waved away Hekili's concern. "Don't worry yourself any about money. Besides, we'd still be stuck out there if not for you two. Consider it my way a repaying a debt."
Hekili smiled and bowed his head. "Then I am honored."
At that moment dinner arrived ending conversation. Danya took great pleasure in savoring the food. She liked Minbari food but it had been a long time since she'd had a meal from home. Or anything resembling home. Hekili indicated his approval for the lasagna, relaxing the mood at the table immensely.
The five quickly started with the usual dinner chit chat about their lives and careers. Trevor talked about his trading business and Hekili and Danya told them a bit about their survey company they worked for. Even the two Psi Cops seemed to relax and discuss a little bit of their work. After a time, Trevor and the female Psi Cop wandered off to further discuss their shared interest in classical music.
"All right, Danya. What the hell is this Dana Blackelk stuff? What the hell are you doing here?" Peter asked angrily, not seeing Hekili's look of surprise.
"Doing my job, Peter." She replied, instantly tense.
"You know this man?" Hekili asked, as his hand slowly came to rest on his fighting pike.
Danya sensed Hekili's thoughts and quickly laid her hand over his to stop him from withdrawing the pike from its concealment. She glared angrily back at Peter. "Yes. He's my brother."
"Your brother?" Hekili looked at her in confusion before looking the other telepath sitting across the table from him.
"Yes, I'm her brother. I think you should leave, Minbari." Peter growled at the Minbari.
"I think not." Hekili replied easily, allowing himself to smile slightly.
Danya closed her eyes as she felt a sudden break in her shield, the background thoughts of the other patrons starting to become more intrusive into her mind. Such close proximity to her brother's mixed emotions were starting to wear down her mental shields.
'Not now! Dammit, not now!' She tried to reinforce the crumbling walls of her mental shield using every technique Minbari or otherwise she knew. It seemed to be working but only just.
"Fine. Whatever." Peter growled and turned back to his sister, angrily. "Danya, you have to come back. It would be better if you simply came back with me. Tell them you were confused, upset by what had happened to our parents. Tell them anything but stop running!"
"No." She stated, her voice ice cold. The wall in her mind shuddered as she felt his thoughts lash out at her along with his words.
Peter grabbed her arm. "I'll have to take you down, Danya. You know that!"
Danya squeezed her eyes close as his thought came screaming into her mind, despite the gloves on his hands. She felt the pressure spike sharply, tried to control it. The pain grew with it. And with the pain came rage. The wall shattered in her mind.
"No!" She shouted, opening her eyes and realising the pressure in her mind upon him.
Peter was thrown back as he felt a force slam into him, pinning him to his chair. He came to rest ten feet away as the chair smashed into the wall, splintering. His head slammed into the wall and he fell into darkness. In that instant she saw what her brother had become.
Anger, rage, hatred over took her. Danya saw the world twist before her. Light became dark, what was sharp became blurred, the fuzzy suddenly startling clear. She started moaning softly. She could feel everything, every heartbeat, the rush of blood through veins, the grains of the wood tables, the fluidity of liquid. He head felt like it was exploding.
She looked at a glass and it instantly shattered, she could feel it as she mentally ripped the molecules apart, shattered the crystalline structure of the ice cubes.
'I can't control it. Dear God, help me! I can't!'
She collapsed on the floor curling herself up. The universe shifted again, blending and separating. Chaos swirled in her mind and around her as objects were suddenly thrown about the room or seemingly shattered on their own accord.
Hekili grabbed her, causing another moan from her. He jerked back as he suddenly felt her thoughts in his mind. 'Cant control it. Help me. I can't...I can't control...'
He quickly grabbed her and dragged her out of the restaurant, easily blending into a stream of customers who had decided that whatever was happening was more than they cared for.
He quickly dragged her towards the star port, to get back to their ship. Merely two blocks from Rimmers he had stopped to catch his breath. Danya had opened her eyes and saw herself in a shop window. In a matter of seconds the window shook violently, then shattered as if struck by something.
Hekili swallowed hard as the logical part of his mind finally pieced together what he thought was illogical. Danya was responsible for what was happening.
She suddenly pushed him away, seeing him warp and change, become dark like the things she'd seen in her brother's mind. He was one of them! They'd taken her friend and replaced him with this monster before her. She lashed out with her mind. "Bastards!"
Hekili felt the blow and staggered back but did not fall. He didn't question why Danya hadn't use the same level of force he's seen just a minute before. Without thought he extended the pike and swung as hard as he could. His eyes widened in surprised horror at what he saw.
Danya's vision swam before her, the world inverted and horrifying. She saw/felt the pike slice through the air and instantly concentrated on it. The end of the pike twisted like putty but still struck with enough force to send her into darkness.
Hekili simply stood there for a minute looking at the now ruined pike and his friend's slumped form. It was only when he licked to moisten his suddenly dry lips did he taste the blood streaming from his nose. He ignored and quickly felt for a pulse, knowing the force he had used would have killed her had she not some how twisted the pike.
He breathed a sigh of relief as he felt a slow, steady beat. Without hesitation he picked her up and carried her back to their waiting ship. He could tell by the sudden level of activity that many had decided it was time to leave the Outpost.
After laying Danya down in the bunk room, he informed the tower of his own intention to leave. Informed it would be a two hour wait he sighed and acknowledged the message. After checking on his partner again, he finally cleaned himself up noting in surprise the bruise covering the entire left side of his face and several minor fractures in his bone crest around the temple and ear. He could tell the fractures would become permanent marks on the crest, but shrugged to himself. It was unimportant.
He looked back in on Danya, seeing her toss and turn fitfully. He knew the situation was beyond his understanding. The only solution was to return to Minbar as quickly as possible before something else happened. His superiors could help her there.
The Machine is Now Alive, Desensitized, With Open Eyes Without Remorse or Compromise The Machine Is Now Alive. To Wreak Havoc In your Life There's No Use to hold Me Back I Am Ready To Attack. -- "Hunter-Killer", Fear Factory
Nearly two hours had passed and they would be leaving soon. The ship had been ready to leave for well over an hour so Hekili waited outside, watching the other traders, cargo haulers, and surveyors ready their ships to depart. It looked like nearly the entire Outpost was being abandoned. The unexplained incident at Rimmers had scared a lot of them.
'At least the mission wasn't a total waste.' Hekili thought to himself. While waiting he'd been able to talk to and hear a dozen or so stories from the other crews and pilots about strange happenings on the Rim. Enough stories to certainly warrant Entil'Zha's attention.
Hekili had maintained the outward appearance of the usual, but obviously bored, Minbari surveyor as he observed the comings and goings of others. In actuality he he was keeping on alert for the two Psi Cops. He knew that if Peter Tworivers kept his threat they'd be coming for Danya. If his friend's brother was even remotely like her, Peter would keep to the threat.
While Hekili had the utmost respect for Earth law in regards to telepaths, he did not agree with it in the least. Yes, Danya was breaking that law and yes they were technically at an Earth outpost but Hekili had no intention of allowing Danya to be unwillingly taken back to the Psi Corps. She was a Ranger now. Ranger's protect their own. He had heard many terrible rumors about what they did to "blips". After all, she could be of far greater use to humanity serving in the Rangers than lounging in some Psi Corps holding cell.
Hekili heard a sound from with in the main hatch he stood beside and turned to see Danya standing there. She looked a little pale and shaky, but otherwise seemed to be her old self. The derangement and disorientation he had seen there two hours ago was gone. Danya blinked as if clearing her vision. She spotted Hekili looking at her and smiled wanely at him.
"Feeling better?" He asked too casually.
'Do I tell him? How can I not? He already knows!' Danya thought to herself. She felt much better now having regained control of her self. She lightly scanned Hekili and saw his concern and questions over what had happened. And his concern over the Psi Cops.
"Yes, I am. I'm sorry about what happened. It was just too much to handle for me. My brother and all those other people being so close. I'm not used to it." Even Danya considered her explanation poor, but it was the only one she could give. She had no words for what had happened last night, for what she had done. She hadn't released that much psionic energy since the experiments. And definitely nothing as powerful.
"No explanations are necessary." Hekili bowed his head.
Danya allowed the lie to pass. Minbari did not lie, unless to protect another. She couldn't help but feel touched by Hekili's regard for her. He was willing to lie and behave as if nothing were amiss. She couldn't allow that. The lie would become a seed of mistrust between them.
'I will tell him. But not here. Only when we are safely back on Minbar. No sooner.'
"Hekili, when we get back to Minbar I'd like to discuss something with you and Ranger One." She said. The Minbari nodded absently at her words, his eyes fixed towards another section of the Starport.
Danya winced at the sudden thought into her mind and realized it had come from Hekili. She followed his gaze and saw Ms. Duova and her brother stalking towards them. Danya could feel her brothers anger despite the distance.
'Don't do this, Peter!' Danya stated calmly in her mind.
She saw both Psi Cops stop and look at one another in surprise. Rarely did a "blip" ever challenge a Psi Cop as Danya had done by telling them not to do something. The two started towards the Rangers again.
Danya could feel her brother trying to send a message back, but she kept her shields up surprised to find he was unable to force his way in as she employed the Minbari techniques she had learned. She could feel is surprise and anger at this despite the shield keeping his thoughts out.
Duova stopped her advance in surprise when she realized Hekili would not move out of her way. She glared in distaste at the Minbari. Despite this Duova remained civil wary of having to deal with a Minbari. "The woman you are with is a fugitive of the Psi Corps. Please stand aside so we may detain her."
"I am afraid that is not possible. We will be leaving shortly. Where we are going is not under Earth jurisdiction." Hekili replied with a short, polite bow.
Instantly the female Psi Cops face darkened in arrogance and hate. "This is an Earth controlled outpost. As long as you are here, you are under Earth law. Out of my way, boney!"
She tried to push past the Minbari only to find herself being easily pushed several steps back by the larger and much stronger Hekili. Growling in anger she drew her PPG and aimed it at the alien before her.
Danya suddenly felt something at the edge of her mind. A wrinkle. A twist of light and atoms. A sudden wave of darkness and a growing keening. Unwillingly, her eyes turned to the sky. An instant later four large black, spiky shaped objects could be seen.
A piercing scream ripped through her thoughts. She felt the universe explode in her mind. A cold calculating precision melding with a burning, righteous fire. Darkness. A terrible, endless darkness surrounded her. Danya grabbed her head and screamed as pain seared her mind.
The Shadow ships started firing at the colony. Seeing, the two Psi Cops attention was focused on the Shadow vessels, Hekili pushed Danya inside seeing that the presence of the Shadows had seemed to unhinge her again. He rushed to the cockpit and strapped himself in, as the main hatch sealed. Outside the viewport he could see dozens of ships lifting off in an attempt to get away from the sudden rain of fire.
He knew the chances of escape were slim given the legends of the Shadows he had heard, but he had to try. He fired the engines up, feeling himself pressed into his seat. He hoped Danya would be all right
He jerked the controls to avoid another transport, only to see the same ship neatly sliced in half by a burst of light from one of the Shadow ships. Ignoring the dangerously rising temperature of the little ships reactor core and hull, Hekili sent it ona steep climb for altitude.
In minutes he found the ship had reached orbit. Many more ships he'd passed along the way had not, blown of the sky bye the Shadows as they methodically eliminated the ships and the planet side inhabitants. With out hesitation Hekili sent the little ship hurtling towards the nearby Jumpgate, thanking Valen that the humans had been able to build the outpost so close to the gate.
'They do not give up. They do not tire. They are relentless. They keep coming until they have finished their mission.'
Hekili remembered the legends and warnings about the Shadows. He pushed the engines past their safety limit, knowing any damage could be repaired when they were safe again. He only hoped the gate initiator hadn;t been locked down by some overly paranoid tech.
Hekili heard the hatch open. "Danya, hurry up and get in here. Watch the sens..."
The whine of a charging PPG instantly silenced the Ranger. He turned to see Danya pinned against the wall by her brother, who was smiling mirthlessly.
"Turn this ship around. Now." Peter Tworivers ordered. His voice hard and cold.
"The ships back there will kill us if we go back." Hekili responded reasonably.
Danya suddenly felt a shiver run down her spine as her brothers face turned even more hard and unforgiving. As he laughed, she could hear a whisper of a scream in his mind. Dark and terrible. A scream reminiscent of those ships.
"Oh, *I* have nothing to fear from my friends. *You* on the other hand do." Peter shoved Danya into the co-pilots seat.
Danya openly scanned her brother, sickened instantly at what she saw. Darkness. Terrible, terrible darkness. No hope. No love. Only bitter desolation. A dark perverted soul that had once been her brother.
'Look deeply, Danya. Look to the future!' She heard her brother's mocking thoughts.
"I said turn this damned ship around!" Peter growled.
"As I die in either decision I make, then I am afraid I cannot comply with your demand." Hekili said, reasonable. An odd touch of smugness was in the Minbari's voice.
"Bastard!" Peter growled aiming the PPG.
Danya winced in pain the same moment a spidery form could be seen to materialize between the ship and the jumpgate. Peter's eyes widened in horror and she heard his scream. "No!"
'Flesh does what it is told.'
Peter pulled the trigger on the PPG just as the ship was struck by a spike protrusion from the Shadow ship.
Danya screamed suddenly at the intrusion in her mind. Cold, calculating, in pain. The shadows screamed. She was swimming in Darkness. Blood surrounding her. Fluids pumping, moving. More pain. So much pain. Cold hearts. Warm Flesh. Thought of darkness, light, joy and terror.
Through a haze of confusion and pain she opened her eyes, to see her brother. Instead all she saw was a dark shape before her. Something that had once been her brother. Now...now it was nothing. A tool for the darkness. Any humanity burned away in the machine. The beauty of the machine.
Danya built the energy this time. Purposefully, deliberately. An instant later she bore deeply into Peter Tworivers mind with such speed that he was never able to put his shield in place. In a matter of seconds she systematically destroyed him. Every memory, every thought. She could hear his screams, both physical and mental, but ignored them. She destroyed all of him/it, all the memories.
She felt a disturbance around her. A sudden shift and she knew the jumpgate had activated and they were through. The darkness did not follow.
She suddenly felt cold, hard. A tearing pain ripped through her body. Her skin was flaying away, her heart seemed ready to explode. She slowly calmed herself. She could see the ship's hull buckling, the engines ready to go critical.
The machine. The machine didn't have to be dark. She felt herself again lose herself into her surroundings.This time she didn't try to fight it. She imagined the ship in her mind as it had been before the fight. She could feel it! She could feel it all.
The pain! Every bone in her body felt as if were shattering, her mind on fire, her blood searing her veins, her lungs gasping for oxygen. She couldn't let the pain control her. She could feel Hekili breathing, sense his thoughts. She had to save them.
'We need to get to Babylon 5.' She thought. An instant later she realized that the ship had changed it's transfer beacon for Grid Epsilon.
Now it was a matter of holding things together long enough. She gritted her teeth and concentrated even harder as she felt herself weakening. 'Dear God, help me!' Were the last thoughts she had before sinking into the maelstrom of sight, sound, thought and matter in her mind.
Medlab 2, Babylon 5
Several Days later.
"How are they doing, Doctor?" Delenn asked, looking into Isolab 3. There she could see two Rangers, a male Minbari and a female Human, sitting on their respective beds. Neither spoke but simply stared at one another.
"Hekili is doing well. He's recovering pretty quickly from those PPG burns. Ms. Blackelk doesn't seem to have anything wrong with her." Doctor Stephen Franklin answered.
"So, still no reason why she hasn't said a word?" John Sheridan asked.
"Actually, I think I may know why. She is talking, but we simply can't hear her." Stephen said, seriously.
Both John and Delenn looked at Stephen in confusion, but the other man beside them nodded his head in understanding. "She's a telepath."
"Right, Marcus. A strong one from the medical scans I gave her while she was still unconscious." The Doctor nodded.
"I wasn't aware we had any telepaths amongst the Rangers." Delenn looked at Marcus Cole in askance.
Marcus bowed his head apologetically. "Ranger One has kept many things secret when it is necessary. I had heard rumors of a telepath or two amongst the Rangers, but this is the first time it's been confirmed as far as I know. Obviously Ms. Blackelk is not her real name given her presence in the Rangers means she's on the run from Psi Corps."
Delenn nodded as if she had expected Marcus's answer. She looked closer at the human female and could not help but feel worried. "What of the other telepath that was found with them?"
"He's Psi Corps. A Psi Cop in fact." Stephen paused. "Well, he was anyway. He took some severely neurological damage from something. It destroyed his mind. If not for autonomic functions he'd be declared brain dead. No memories, no reasoning, nothing."
"Any next of kin to notify?" John asked.
"Actually the only next of kin outside of the Corps already knows." Stephen said, his voice tinged with compassion and sadness.
"I do not understand, Doctor." Delenn looked puzzled.
"We're looking at his sister right at the moment. Genetic tests proved it." Stephen said nodding to the female Ranger.
"What's her real name?" Marcus Cole asked, intrigued.
"Danya Tworivers. Born on Mars Colony, 2235. Registerd as a P10 Telepath. Much of her work history has been made classified until two and a half years ago. After that she's listed as rogue. Murdered two Psi Cops and three other Corps doctors. She listed as mentally unstable and extremely dangerous." Stephen freely provided.
"So how did she wind up with the Rangers?" John wondered aloud.
"Well, obviously she is not what the Corps claims if Ranger One mader her a Ranger." Marcus pointed. Delenn merely nodded in agreement to this statement.
"Has the Corps been informed?" John asked.
"About her? No. As for the Psi Cop: yes, they indicated a ship will be arriving within a week."
"Good. Thank you Stephen." The Doctor nodded and headed towards his next patient. John Sheridan looked at the odd pair in the isolab. He then glanced over to Delenn, noting a slight worried look on her face. "What do we do with our guests now?"
"Delenn, we had better arrange for Hekili and Ms. Blackelk to be off station soon. Before any one from Psi Corps shows up." Marcus informed her, glancing at the woman in the room as he spoke. By unspoken agreement they continued to use Danya's false identity.
"Will you see to it?" She asked politely. Marcus nodded and left medlab to make the necessary arrangements.
"I must be getting back to C & C." Seeing the was nothing he could do John sighed to himself. For a moment he wondered why every Ranger he had met seemed to have a flair for dramatic entrances into his life. With a final glance into the isolab he strode from medlab.
Delenn absently nodded a silent good bye as she watched the two Rangers. She gave a small prayer to Valen that they were even still alive. Reports she had heard indicated their ship had quite literally fell apart a mere hour after they had been taken to medlab. She had heard dozens of conversations about the incident all with variations on "a miracle" and "very lucky people".
Delenn certainly agreed with the general population in this regards. The two Rangers *were* lucky to be alive. What concerned her was the fact that Jeff had sent a *telepath* out on what appeared to be a standard reconnaissance for the Rangers. And why did he send a new Ranger from Minbar? Why not another closer to that section of space? Why...
Delenn stopped and shook her head ruefully. 'I have definitely been associating with these humans too long.' She thought with some amusement. She wondered momentarily as to why she felt no shame at the thought. As quickly as the thought came , it passed as she entered the isolab.
Danya exhaled slowly, maintaining the silent, fragile peace she had been able to attain. Both in her mind and her body. She could vaguely feel the medical personell's presence outside the small, glass room. She could also feel the vague impressions of the other patients and others looking in on friends and loved ones.
Behind the whispers, a slight, barely felt feeling. Not organic, but full of a unique sort of life. Energy flowing, air inhaling, exhaling, processing. A cool flash of metal, the warmth of a small sun. She did not need to 'look' to know what was there.
For her, the station lived in ways unseeable, unfathomable to the rest. A new universe unfathomable to herself. It was something to be feared. So she kept it pushed far away from her. As far as her mind could allow. And she listened to the alien yet comforting, meditative thoughts of her companion.
She turned her head to the door as she felt an ever so subtle ripple in her mind. Someone was coming through the door. She wasn't sure how she knew this, how she felt it. She only knew that the ability was there. An instant later she saw Minbari Ambassador Delenn come in with a reassuring smile on her face. Both Rangers instantly bowed their heads respectfully.
"How may we help you Ambassador?" Hekili spoke after glancing once towards Danya.
"I merely wished to inform you that Marcus is arranging for transport back to Minbar for both of you. And I wished to make sure you are well. Do you require anything?" She looked directly at Danya as she asked the question, seeing a perfectly neutral expression on the young woman's face.
Danya merely shook her head no as Hekili spoke. "We require nothing, Ambassador, but are honored that you would think of our needs. We are most pleased with our care and treatment. Would you convey our thanks to Doctor Franklin and the staff?"
"Of course. I shall go now and allow you to rest." Delenn bowed and turned to leave.
As she reached the door Danya finally spoke, her voice a bare whisper on the wind. "I shall give Entil'Zha your regards, Ambassador."
Delenn turned slowly to give herself time to cover the surprised look on her face. She saw the strange human woman staring at Hekili again, as if she had said nothing. For a moment Delenn considered wether she had actually heard the human speak or if it had been in her mind.
As the silence grew, Delenn suddenly felt her self becoming unnerved. There was a 'feel' about the room that unsettled Delenn greatly. She suddenly realized she had understood the strange human phrase ' a deafening silence' perfectly. Without a word she silently left the pair of Rangers as she had entered.
Silent and staring at one another.
Jeffrey Sinclair briskly walked the pathway towards the main temple without giving much consideration to the beautiful gardens surrounding him. Normally, he would have taken his time and savored the beauty of such a place, the warm sun on his face and the gentle breeze that ruffled a his hair slightly. Enjoy the serenity that he had lacked in so much of his life.
This temple, just a short way from Tuzanor had been built with just that purpose in mind for its inhabitants. A place to contemplate and heal the mind, the body and the spirit. A place of harmony and peace apart from the turmoil of Minbar and the Universe.
But right now he was not *just* Jeffrey Sinclair. He was also Anla'shok Na. Entil'Zha. A commander concerned for his troops well being. And a man worried greatly about a friend. Hence, his hurried pace.
He bowed deeply to the old male Minbari who waited for him by the entrance to the massive crystalline structure. Tesval returned the bow, just as deeply before extending his hand in a very human handshake. He had the presence of one who supremely understood his place in the Universe and had gladly accepted it. Jeff couldn't help but envy him that knowledge of purpose and the peace it brought this Minbari.
"I am glad Entil'Zha could come." Tesval smiled.
"How could I not?" Jeff replied as he allowed the Minbari to lead him through the passageways of the temple. For a time they walked in a companionable silence, each lost in their own thoughts.
"How is she?" Jeff finally asked, as they approached the door to their final destination.
Tesval led him not to the door but to a small flat screen, turning it on. An image of a female human meditating in a garden appeared. She seemed quite relaxed and calm, a slight smile on her face. She was dressed in simple brown trousers and loose fitting tunic. Her only adornation was the brooch of the Anla'shok gleaming brightly in the daylight.
"She is doing remarkably well, Entil'Zha. But she is far from fully recovered. I'm afraid I and the others can not help her any longer. As such I have requested Sech Ojorrun to come here." The older Minbari said as he observed the human.
"Will he come?" Jeff asked with some hope in his voice, which caused Tesval to smile approvingly at the Entil'Zha's obvious concern.
"Ojorrun has indicated he is most pleased to be of service to the Anla'shok and the Entil'Zha. He was quite honored by the request." Tesval replied.
"Good. I hope he can help her." Jeff looked at his friend carefully.
"He would be best suited for her case. Telekenetics amongst Minbari are even more rare than amongst your own people but I have heard that Ojurrun suffered a similar malady when he was younger. If he can not help her control it, then I do not think anyone can." The Minbari glanced at the human.
"May I see her?" He asked.
"She indicated that she desired to meet with you when you arrived." Tesval replied, indicating that he could enter through the nearby door.
"Thank you, Tesval." Jeff bowed his head and opened the door to the garden.
Danya Tworivers was happy. It was quiet, peaceful. A pool of tranquility surrounded her, both in mind and body. The sun shown warmly and the breeze was gentle. The scent of the garden sweet and clean as she inhaled and exhaled deeply.
She felt a slight ripple in her mental pool. Someone had entered the garden. She heard no thoughts, just felt the presence. Calm, assured, well disciplined. She would have described it as Minbari, but the mind didn't 'feel' Minbari. She allowed a small opening in her mind to identify who was in her presence.
"Entil'Zha!" She grinned widely as she opened her eyes to see Jeffrey Sinclair standing before her. She started to rise but saw him wave her back down.
"No need to rise on my account, Danya. May I join you?" He asked indicating the stone bench across from her own. She nodded and he sat.
For a few moments she watched him observe, sensing his thoughts but refusing to allow them to enter her mind. Her tranquility was still intact, undisturbed by his presence. This pleased her more than she wanted to admit.
There had been far too many she could not be around any more, without losing her own thoughts in the cacophony of noise, sound, images, and thoughts of the others. Too many times in just the past month were others had nearly been harmed by her thoughts.
She also desired to no longer be alone. Hekili had come only once, but had not returned as he had promised. None of her fellow Rangers came to visit, not even her old roommate Eve. She supposed they were simply busy with duty. That's what she told herself, anyway.
"It is good to see you, Danya." Jeff finally said.
"And you, Entil'Zha." She replied.
An uncomfortable silence arose between them. Danya could see the confusion in her heart mirrored on the face of her commander, her friend.
"I know the other reason why you came. My answer is still the same. I can not remain with the Anla'shok. I am sorry to disappoint you." The sadness she felt at these words, the loss was obvious.
"You haven't disappointed me at all, Danya. If anything, I should be the one ashamed to disappoint you. I should have known better than to send a single team on such a dangerous reconnaissance. What happened is partly my fault." Jeff reassured her quickly, causing her to look at him in surprise.
"You're fault? How can it be your fault unless you somehow arranged for my brother to ally with the Shadows, have his ship hit by raiders and arrange for us to meet at a seedy restaurant at the edge of the universe?" Danya asked half in jest.
Jeff chuckled as her point struck home.
"I am a Ranger, Entil'Zha. We live for the One. We die for the One. Where you go we go. Where you point, we follow. That is the way of things." Danya stated firmly.
"Than live for the One *now*. Stay with the Rangers." Jeff said.
"I can't. It is too dangerous. I'm not ready to go back out there. Maybe I will never be ready again." Danya said looking down at the ground. She didn't want to leave the Rangers, but knew it was best. She was too dangerous in her current state.
She slowly removed the Ranger brooch from her simple tunic, her only reminder of what she had been. After staring at the smooth blue green surface of the isil'zha stone she passed it over to Jeff, expecting him to take it from her. He did not.
"You are a Ranger, Danya Tworivers. Nothing can take that away from you. I will not take your brooch. No other may wear it but you. None may possess it but you." Jeff said standing suddenly.
"Or the Entil'Zha." Danya reminded him softly.
"If I so choose. I choose not to accept it." Jeff said.
Danya drew her hands back to her chest, carefully cradling the brooch. "I can't return to the Rangers." She said simply.
"I do not ask you to do so at this time. I simply wish you to make me a promise." She looked up in surprise at his statement.
"What must I promise?" She asked, certain that he would not demand something of her she could not give.
"When you feel it is time, when you are most needed, and when the darkness is at its worst you will come forward and rejoin the Rangers. But only when you are ready." Jeff stated the terms simply.
Danya considered his words for several moments before coming to her decision, nodding slowly. "I shall do as you say. Know this, Entil'Zha: When I am ready and the darkness surround sus I shall come forward once again. On my oath as a Ranger, as my honor demands, as my ancestors wish it to be, so shall it be."
"Good. I promise no one shall disturb you here, until that time. Sech Tesval has assured me of this." Jeff replied, a sad smile forming on his face.
"I will not fail you again, Entil'Zha." Danya bowed her head.
"You never did."
Unplanned, and in unison the two spoke a new oath:
"Isil'zha veni. In Valen's name."
And the Future waited to be born.
The End. (Or is it just the beginning?)
The Mighty Throne growled, And there were Five Thunders that flew into the East, The Eagle spake, cried aloud: "Come away from the House of Death."
And they gathered themselves together and became those of whom men are measured. They are the doubtless ones who ride the whirlwinds
Come away, for I have prepared a place for you. Move therefore, and show yourselves. Unveil the mysteries of your creation. Be friendly unto me, for I am your God. The true worshipper of the flesh that liveth forever.
He has joined the seventh angel. He is alive in us all. --11th Enochian Key (Burial Prayer) (English Translation), Anton LeVey
Author's Notes: Okay, well I finished this story. Hoped you all liked it. Aside from a few pieces I thought I could have written better, I liked how this story progressed. Enough so, that I'm caving into my beta readers and am going to start "Thunder in the Heavens" sometime in the coming weeks to continue the story of Danya Tworivers. (Along with a mostly Garibaldi based story called "Dance with the Devil" (Babylon 5 2257) and two other possible stories "Legends" (set in 3350 Earth) and "The Sea of Stars" (sometime 2245-2262)