John Sheridan was not a well man. After a goodwill trip to some of the Packmara colonies, he'd seemed to pick up some kind of virus. The shivers and a temperature were the only symptoms but Delenn was worried. Sheridan had to smile. One moment, she'd be rushing around looking after David, the next she'd be fussing around him like a mother hen.
Dr Franklin would have been here but for a medical emergency on Earth. Last time he talked to Stephen, he was still pulling the fifteen-hour shifts. This time it was a viral infection that would slowly attack the nervous system. It came originally from a Drazi Colony but Franklin reckoned that he would find the key to eliminating it.
One thing that did pray on Sheridan's mind was a few ships of the White star fleet had gone missing. He'd been concerned with that one and would have loved to take a couple of ships out and investigate personally. Politics seemed a murky business when compared to flying a white star. He appreciated the freedom it gave you a lot more.
However, before he could take a ship out, he'd been struck down with this Packmara Flu. It would have to wait. He was lying on his bed at the moment, bored out of his mind. He could see out his window to the clear blue sky. He sighed.
One thing he always kept to himself about Minbar was that he felt cold. Not the weather, the place itself seemed cold. The cool colours and marble effect on the architecture that made it look, from a distance, as if it had been built from ice. The sky, when clear, was Ice Blue. The cool manner, in which the ceremonies were conducted, sometimes made him shiver. That was another thing, more ceremonies that you could shake your stick at. There probably was a ceremony for being ill. He shuddered at the thought or it could have been the flu, he wasn't entirely sure.
He kind of missed the passion of a night of shore leave on Earth or a walk through the zoccalo on B5, the vibrant energy, the colours and the smells of bad hot dogs. The door opened and Delenn glided in. All his thoughts of Earth, B5 and everything else just melted away. After five years of marriage, Delenn still looked as beautiful as the first day he saw her.
She had a natural grace, which ballet dancers on Earth would have quite happily killed for. Her long dark hair cascaded over her minbari bone structure at the back of her skull and then fell to about half way down her back. Her features could almost be called elven and nothing seemed to escape her confident gaze from those beautiful brown eyes. She looked so fragile sometimes it was easy to forget what struggles they had been though together and the steely determination that lurked below.
"Oh you look better." Her voice was melodic with a slight Minbari accent.
He slowly raised himself to a raise position.
"Better?" he croaked
"Yes. You are slightly less green than you were yesterday. Is that natural to go that colour when your species is ill?" There was slightly rise in her voice whenever she was joking.
"If the colour is blue, then worry!" He grunted, as she sat on the bed next to him.
"The results have come back from Stephen." She said, "He says you're over the worst of it. But he says to have a week off and in bed…."
Sheridan went to open his mouth.
"… And I promised him that you would so don't make a liar out of me."
"You use that excuse too much." He glared with mock anger.
"Only because it works so well." She smiled, "Anyway, the assembly is locked together in some kind of impasse about trade negotiations, so there would be nothing to do anyway until someone gives a little."
"I'm bored." Said Sheridan, "The only fun I get is watching the doctor's face when he finds out that I've set the bed flat."
Delenn smiled a smile, which faded too quickly. John Sheridan always picked up on little things like that.
"What's up?" he asked.
"I'm going to have to leave on Ranger business." She admitted, "I'd prefer you to be with me, but you're in no condition to go."
"Oh." Sheridan was disappointed.
Delenn was Entil-zah. Head of the Rangers. If she said it was important, then she would have to go.
"Look, I'll leave a message you can review later." She said, "Once you're up and about. You come join me."
She kissed him on the forehead, smiled and stood up.
"I do love you." He said.
"It's a good job you do." She said with a smile, "Because I wouldn't want to love someone who didn't return it."
She left and Sheridan drifted back to sleep. Delenn let the door close behind her and let out a sigh of relief. She wasn't really lying, she was telling herself when her aid came up to her.
"The White Stars stand ready." He announced.
She nodded nervously as the aide walked away. They had lost contact with a large strike force of white stars, approximately thirty of them, in the same region as the few that had disappeared before. She'd specially recorded a message for John. He was in no condition to go chasing after missing vessels. Once he was well enough, he could always join her.
Lennier was confused. He'd expected to be tortured, have his mind sifted by telepaths and be left as a bloody mess on the floor. Instead, there had just been a quiet question and answer session with a single man, whom had even apologised for the actions of his crew. He wore a uniform which Lennier didn't recognise and the man claimed he was part of a Commonwealth. Lennier had not heard of any organisation of that name. He didn't even know which star system he was in.
During his wandering around the galaxy, he'd heard rumours of white star ships doing things they shouldn't. So he'd decided to investigate. He travelled to the troubled sector, and attached himself in a life-pod to the wing of the first White Star he'd come across. He knew immediately that something was wrong.
The formation the ship flew in, was not standard for the Rangers. He noticed the ship had begun to slowly change colour as well. It's light blue fading darker to Navy Blue and then Black. Then the attacks had begun. He kept a log of his observations and got the strangest feeling of Deja vu.
These White Stars were attacking, unprovoked, in an unknown system. There was no mention of this in the media. There were no orders to or from Minbar, so either Sheridan was sending messages by messenger or someone else was making the orders. It felt eerily like the Centauri situation of five years ago.
He couldn't believe what he saw, so he stuck with this ship. In this unknown system, the wing of four White Stars destroyed several vessels, jumped out and then waiting a few days until jumping back in again. On the pervious trip one of the White Stars was destroyed by the ship it was attacking. It rammed the white star destroying both ships.
This time, the ship which he'd attached himself to, had been destroyed by a new vessel type. One he'd never seen before. Now he was in this cell. He assumed it was on the new ship he'd seen. There was the water he'd asked for and there didn't seem to be anything added to it. The cell door opened. The same man turned up with what looked like a small black box.
"This is a recording device. As this is important to us, our conversation will have to be recorded."
Lennier looked at the man. He looked to be in his late thirties, two metres tall and a medium build. His posture was strictly military. The man was watching him with brown eyes that made Lennier feel a little uncomfortable. His accent was slightly strange to his ears, close to Marcus Cole's but different. British, with maybe a slight celtic, or scottish ring to it. Marcus had made a few comments about Scots, or Jocks as he preferred to call them. All of them seemed to be derogatory and respectful at the same time.
"May I ask who you are?" asked Lennier.
The man seemed to smile with not quite humour.
"I'm a person looking for answers."
Vague, thought Lennier.
"All I'm want, for the moment, is your perception of what's happened in the galaxy." He was quick to come to the point it seemed.
"When and where do you want to start?" asked Lennier.
"The start of the Earth and Minbari going at each other's throats." suggested the man.
It was a strange request. His captor knew about the beginning of the Earth-Minbari war, but wanted to know the rest. He even considered lying about the history but he rejected that idea because it served no purpose. Co-operating didn't seem to a problem at the moment.
He expected that they thought that he was a member of the crew of the ship they'd destroyed. If the situation was reversed, he knew the warrior cast of the Minbari would not be so civil, likewise Earth Force itself. He'd like to think that the Rangers would treat a prisoner with respect but he didn't know that they would.
"I can also see," said the man, "that there is something else that's troubling you. If you want to get it all out of your system, they do say that confession is good for the soul."
What's that supposed to mean? thought Lennier.
Lennier started his explanation of historical events. He started with the death of Dukat and the beginning of the Earth-Minbari war. The man sat with an impassive mask over his face until he got to the battle of the line. Then there seemed to be some anger in his expression, but he kept it under control. Then he told him that the Minbari surrendered. The man's eyebrows shot up in surprise.
"Why?" He asked.
Lennier told him about Sinclair and some of their findings while he left out the connection with Valen. He then explained about the Babylon Project and also Sinclair's appointment.
"I knew of this Sinclair during the war." the man interrupted, "Very capable fighter pilot. "
Interesting thought Lennier.
"Were you at the line as well?" Lennier asked.
"I would prefer you to carry on with the history lesson." said the man.
"I would like some refreshment? " Lennier wanted to see if his hosts would react to that.
"What would you like?"
"Some vegetables and some more water."
"Would you continue please?"
Lennier couldn't make his mind up whether that was a refusal or not. He restarted with the appointment of Delenn to Babylon 5. He explained some of the highlights of that year and had just explained about the Earth President's death when the door was opened and a tray appeared held by a very nervous looking young man. The younger man looked at Lennier with what looked like an expression of fear.
"Is this satisfactory?" The other man asked as he passed the tray to Lennier.
Lennier tasted a couple of the items and found them to his taste. He nodded to the older man. The older man smiled and the younger man left. Lennier continued with Sheridan's appointment to the station and all the events leading up to the Earth-Centauri treaty. All the time occasionally eating the food he'd been brought. It was very fresh; maybe this ship was re-supplied quiet often or had just left on patrol
The man seemed shocked at the Centauri's use of mass drivers on Narn, but sat unresponsively during the description of the build up of tension to the beginning of the Shadow War. The man signalled for him to stop.
"That's enough for today. I'm going to let you rest. You've been talking straight for six hours."
"Thank you." said Lennier. "I need the rest."
The man stood up to go. He was at the door just about to leave when he turned back.
"Oh, before I forget." said the man, "My name is Captain P H Douglas, just in case you were wondering."
With that he was gone and then door was shut and locked.