All In the Mind
Summary: The telepaths' point of view of the upcoming confrontation with the Shadows.
Fandom: Babylon 5
Rating: PG - Gen
Disclaimer: JMS and a great crew made 'em, I'm just using 'em. I don't have anything, no point in suing me.
This story takes place during the Valentine's story I just posted and through "Shadow Dancing". Bill's Minbari telepath has shown up twice in the 3rd season for pivotal roles. Even though he was never named, nor allowed to speak, and merely appeared and disappeared, the character fascinates me. I thought I'd give him a bit more...life.
The Zocolo was a popular place. Jurrien was enjoying a drink and a stimulating conversation on holidays and religious festivals with two friends, wondering why the chief of security, Michael Garibaldi, was staring so intently at them. Quite by accident, Jurrien picked up a random stream of thoughts all starting with, "A rabbi, a priest, and a..."
Before Jurrien could politely ask, Garibaldi threw up a major wall around his thoughts. Apparently, Mr. Garibaldi finally remembered Jurrien was more than just a member of the Minbari religious caste, but also a telepath of some strength. In fact, Jurrien had been requested to protect Babylon 5's captain, John Sheridan, from any unauthorized scans by their own human telepath, Alfred Bester. Garibaldi was about to say something when Lennier came blowing in, and went straight for Jurrien.
"D'Lenn has need of you, if you will come."
Jurrien saw the seriousness in the Ambassador's aide without the use of his talents. He nodded. "I will come." He tossed back the last of his drink and followed Lennier. "Tell me, what exactly is a rabbi?"
Lennier shrugged. "I'm not sure, but I think it has something to do with the human's religious structure."
"I...see?" Jurrien replied hesitantly. That explanation didn't make the thoughts he got from Garibaldi make any more sense.
It didn't do for a Minbari of D'Lenn's rank and status to be bursting with such impatience and pride, but the Minbari Ambassador to Babylon 5 couldn't help herself. She was about to do something only a small percentage of people ever got to do. She was about to affect the outcome of history, and she was going to do it at the side of the man she loved. The presentation of the White Stars had been a huge success so far, but the real battle was yet to come. Many things had yet to be done, not the least of which was talking the League of Non-Aligned Worlds into providing ships to the fleet. Her White Stars were good, but they weren't that good.
She paced her quarters, waiting for Lennier to return from his errand. She had one more task to set up before she could even consider approaching the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. She had to set up a meeting.
The door chimed, breaking into her thoughts and pacing. She stopped and looked expectantly at the door. "Come."
Lennier and Jurrien entered her quarters and let the door slide shut behind them. They sketched respectful salutes to D'Lenn, who returned them and then gestured to chairs. "Please. Be seated."
Jurrien sat down carefully. He didn't need to be a telepath to know D'Lenn was tense. There was something extremely important she wanted to address, but seemed almost afraid to talk about. He wanted to make her feel more at ease, but was afraid a more casual attitude would appear insolent. He sat at respectful attention. "Lennier said you had a need."
D'Lenn began pacing once more. Lennier more or less faded into the background. Jurrien watched both with intense, chocolate brown eyes, waiting for them to get to the point, and not wanting to spoil their timing by prying.
D'Lenn, for her part, couldn't quite understand her hesitancy. She'd made tougher requests than this before. Why was this so different? She finally drew herself up and took a deep breath. "Jurrien? Do you remember the last time you were here?"
"Vividly, D'Lenn," Jurrien responded.
"Do you remember, after we discussed that favor, that we said we might have further need of you?"
Jurrien nodded. "Yes, of course. The time has come?"
"What is it, D'Lenn?" Jurrien asked.
Jurrien paced his quarters. It was his turn to wonder what the universe was requiring of him and his fellows. He'd never been a pivotal part of history before. At the most, as with the incident with Bester, he'd been merely a plot point in a greater scheme. Now he was being called to do something serious. Something important, but not alone. This was going to require all of them, and even then there were no guarantees.
The door to Jurrien's quarters chimed both in the room and in his mind. He knew his colleagues had arrived. His "Come" was answered in kind as the door swung open. A group of Minbari religious caste entered silently, but eyes and smiles radiated genuine warmth.
**Welcome!** Jurrien sent to his fellows. Only when they were without non-telepaths were they free and comfortable communicating solely by thought.
The group fanned out throughout Jurrien's meager quarters. A few nibbled at the snacks their host had graciously and thoughtfully laid out. No one asked why Jurrien had called them. They knew he would explain when he was ready. Jurrien watched as the group settled into comfortable patterns.
**Thank you all for coming,** Jurrien sent. **We have been called.** The other telepaths looked at him, intrigued. In a quick burst of thought, Jurrien sent them what was required.
**It will be dangerous,** a young woman responded, thought tinged with doubt. **Not like before.**
**I know,** Jurrien responded compassionately, **but it IS necessary.**
**We cannot do it alone,** another man added. **Who will stand with us?**
**Others are coming,** Jurrien responded. **And we must enlist the other races' help.**
**How are we to accomplish this task?** asked another.
Lyta Alexander was replacing the face mask as she departed the Alien Sector. She didn't care for this new version of Kosh. He wasn't anything like the original Kosh. She'd developed a real rapport with him, this one...this one was different, even more alien than even she was used to when working with Vorlons. She wished she didn't have to work with this Kosh, but a deal was a deal. Lyta didn't even notice the Minbari at first, as he fell into step beside her, lost as she was in her own thoughts.
"Ms. Alexander," Jurrien said gently, trying not to frighten her, when he realized she was not quite aware of his presence.
Lyta jumped anyway and turned on him, eyes flashing, and dropping into a defensive posture.
Jurrien took a step back and raised his hands, radiating non-threatening and reassuring thoughts. "I did not mean to startle you."
"Who are you? How do you know my name?" Lyta demanded.
"You are not exactly the most private figure on this station, Ms. Alexander. My name is Jurrien."
Lyta looked at him, deep in to his eyes. Her own dark brown eyes widened. "You're a telepath!"
"Yes. It is important I speak with you, Ms. Alexander. Very important. Read me if you need verification."
"No. I believe you," Lyta answered. "I was just on my way to dinner. Join me and we can talk."
Jurrien nodded as they headed down the corridor.
Lyta chewed thoughtfully for a moment. Jurrien sipped a drink, watching her think. She finally looked at him. "They really think this will work in a major battle? I barely managed..."
"That is why I am here, Ms. Alexander."
"Might as well call me "Lyta", everyone else does."
"Thank you, Lyta. You obviously have great talent, to have accomplished what you have, but if the rest of us knew how to disrupt the Shadow vessels the way you were able to, then the pressure will be off you, and we will be able to accomplish so much more."
Lyta studied Jurrien. She wanted to believe him. She'd never been screwed over by the Minbari and definitely not by a Minbari telepath. A stray thought zipped through her mind wondering when she'd started categorizing people by whom had screwed her over and who hadn't. She used to be a fairly trusting person. But that was a thought for another time.
If Jurrien had picked up on it, he was too much of a gentleman to say anything. He did reach out and touch her hand gently. She noticed it was a touch only, and not a conduit to thought. "Please, Lyta, let us help. Let us, all of us, who are able, do our part. You've done yours and will do more, it's our turn. The Shadows cannot win."
Lyta nodded. "All right. I'll show you what you need to know. Ready?"
"No time like the present, right?"
"When you put it that way..." Jurrien answered with a nod.
"All right, then."
Suddenly, Lyta's grip shifted. She grasped his hand tightly, barely aware of the warmth of his touch, or the graceful curve of his long, tapered fingers wrapping around hers. All she was aware of were his eyes, and then she was behind them and in his mind.
It had been a long time since she'd shared thoughts with another telepath voluntarily. She'd forgotten both the intimacy and the pleasure of touching minds with someone who wasn't afraid, and who was able to understand. Before she could become distracted and let out too much of herself, she gathered the pertinent events and shot them over to Jurrien. From the nearly imperceptible wince, she apparently shot them over just a bit too forcefully.
**Just so?** he asked.
**Just so,** Lyta responded. **Can you pass this on to the others?**
**Yes, thank you, Lyta.** Profound sincerity tinged his thoughts in her mind.
She pulled out of his mind after that and tried to pull away her hand. Jurrien's grip on it tightened. She looked at him. "What the...?" But once again the touch was physical only. Jurrien didn't intrude on her thoughts.
"Lyta," there was a note of sadness in his voice that was mirrored in his eyes. "Do not let the loneliness win. Do not let whatever has you hidden behind your walls keep you from the fellowship of others."
Lyta tugged her hand away firmly from Jurrien. He let it go this time. "I don't know what you're talking about," she said. Without waiting for his response, Lyta gathered her dignity like so many belongings and left.
Jurrien watched her go, shaking his head. "No, you probably do not."
The next days and weeks were spent in frantic preparations. D'Lenn occasionally checked with Jurrien on the status of the telepaths. All who arrived on Babylon 5, regardless of race, were greeted, briefed, and given Lyta's information. Telepaths of all kinds scurried about on various tasks preparing for the upcoming confrontation.
Lyta Alexander watched much of the work from the sidelines. She wouldn't be part of this mission. She couldn't help but remember Jurrien's last comment to her and wondered what he'd seen when he'd held her hand. In some ways she could still feel the gentle strength of his grip on her hand and found herself unconsciously rubbing her hand where his had been. She wished them well and went on about her business with her new employer.
Captain John Sheridan and D'Lenn sat in the open air cafe having dinner and one last quiet moment before going off to war. D'Lenn had managed to plead, cajole, bribe and bully the League of Non-Aligned Worlds into committing as many ships as possible to the effort. Sheridan had just sent Marcus and Ivanova off to scout out the possible war zone. Neither were in a very outgoing mood. Across the room, in a corner of his own, Jurrien was trying to have a quiet dinner of his own, respecting others' privacy.
While eating, Jurrien was approached by a small knot of telepaths. They spoke softly but gestured grandly, and many of those gestures were aimed toward Sheridan and D'Lenn. Finally, Jurrien gave in to the others and went over to the couple.
"Excuse me, D'Lenn, Captain," he interrupted gently.
Both looked up from their meals. There was a brief flicker in Sheridan's eyes before recognition lit. D'Lenn smiled at Jurrien, even though it was very tired around the edges. "What is it, Jurrien?"
Jurrien glanced back at the others, they motioned him on. He turned back and sighed. "The others asked me to ask about...security precautions."
D'Lenn looked at him uncomprehendingly. "What?"
Jurrien felt like a heel having to bring this up, but ever since the Bester incident, he'd become the spokesman for the Non-Human telepaths, in both directions. He jerked his head toward the cowering knot. "THEY want to be reassured hey will not be in direct lines of fire when the time comes. THEY want to know the specific arrangements."
D'Lenn and Sheridan both looked at him in disbelief. "You're kidding," Sheridan sputtered. "I thought we'd been through all that!"
"I am sorry, Captain. I thought we had, too. Apparently some are not yet convinced. They are not soldiers, or warriors. They want to do their part, but they are afraid."
D'Lenn nodded. "I think I see the problem. Tell them we have arranged for them to be below decks. Well away form the hulls and in the most protected parts of the ships. Tell them also we appreciate their sacrifice, and we are doing all we can to make sure we ALL come out of this alive. THAT is why their sacrifice is necessary, and their bravery."
Jurrien almost smiled, but did not. The situation was too serious for that. "As you say, D'Lenn. Forgive the intrusion. I will take care of this." With a respectful bow of his read, Jurrien backed away.
Sheridan looked at D'Lenn. "Well, doesn't that beat all."
D'Lenn looked at him, cocking her head. "What? We are asking much of men and women not trained for this kind of work. It only stands to reason they are frightened."
"But will they do what's required of them when the time comes?" Sheridan wanted to know.
"We have to trust, John. Trust."
The deployment of ships and telepaths went as smoothly as could be expected considering the magnitude of the operation. Telepaths were transported and dispersed among the ships who needed them.
Jurrien found himself on the Minbari cruiser Sheridan and D'Lenn were using as their command ship. He'd even met D'Lenn in the corridors before the ship joined the battle.
"What is the status of the telepaths?" D'Lenn asked.
"All are where they need to be and are as ready as they're going to be," Jurrien responded. "I am on my way now to join them." Before Jurrien could move on, D'Lenn reached out to him. He caught her hand. "Yes, D'Lenn?"
"Thank you, Jurrien."
"For what, D'Lenn?" Jurrien asked, genuinely puzzled.
"For all you have done to help us," D'Lenn responded. "I know no one has said anything, but your efforts have been noticed and appreciated."
"It is my duty."
"It was...is...more, Jurrien," D'Lenn insisted. "Without the telepaths, we would not be able to disrupt the Shadows, or survive this war. Without you, we would not have the telepaths."
Jurrien was about to say something, but stopped and nodded. "Thank you, D'Lenn. I must go to where I need to be. With my people. You should be with Captain Sheridan. He needs you."
D'Lenn let Jurrien go. She watched him move off down the corridor, smiling one of her enigmatic smiles. Then she went to be where she would do the most good, with Sheridan, knowing the telepaths below decks were in good hands.
The battle was hard, fast, and decisive, and for once, the Shadows were on the losing end. The turning point had, indeed, been the concerted efforts of the telepaths. Though many ships and people had been lost, many more were returning to Babylon 5 because of their efforts. News of their victory preceded them.
All Jurrien wanted to do as he staggered off the Minbari cruiser was to crawl to his quarters and into his bed. He had never before been as bone weary as he was right now, and that was AFTER sleeping an entire day following the battle. Nor was he the only one, ALL the telepaths involved with the battle had slept the entire day after the battle. None had used their talents for such a long and stressful length of time. It had been more than exhausting. No one begrudged them the sleep.
However, the cheering throngs of Babylon 5 were quite daunting. None wanted to deal with them, but for once, the telepaths were considered among the returning heroes. There was nothing to do but smile in the face of exhaustion and pray it would be over soon.
Finally, Jurrien managed to creep into his quarters and lock the door behind him. He had just shucked off all his robes and crawled into his properly angled bed, dimming the lights and pulling up the light blanket. He just drifted off to sleep when the door chimed. Fortunately, his bed was at the proper angle to glare at the door.
"COME!" he growled, loudly.
Lyta Alexander came in and immediately stopped. "I...I am sorry. I didn't realize you'd be... you'd be...in bed. I...I can come back later..."
"You are here, now, Lyta. What is it?"
"I...uh...I...uh...just wanted to say I'm...I'm glad things worked out...out there," Lyta said, sputtering her way through her prearranged speech, looking around anywhere but at the apparently naked man in the bed. "And...and...I've been thinking about what you said to me. The last time."
"Yes?" Jurrien prompted, aware he was sounding cranky.
"And...any maybe you were right," she replied. "About keeping people away."
Jurrien yawned hugely. "I am sorry, Lyta. It is not you. It has been a long couple of days."
"Oh, yeah, right, I'm sorry," Lyta apologized again. "I'm just glad it all worked out, and I...I hope we have the chance to work together again. Soon."
"We have won the battle," he replied, "But the war is far from over. I am sure they will need all of us who are left. We will work together again. Soon."
Lyta paused, then nodded. "Right. Anyway, I'll let you get to sleep. Thank you, Jurrien." She turned back to the door, then stopped. "THANK YOU." Then she left.
Jurrien settled back on his bed and drifted off to sleep. He still had no idea what prompted Lyta's arrival, or the whole last few days for that matter. But he knew he wasn't going to figure it out until after he slept. For once, though, he knew the telepaths WERE the heroes. The telepaths made a difference, and it wasn't just a figment of the imagination, or all in the mind. And with that last thought, Jurrien drifted off to the sleep of the well done.