The End of the Beginning
Fandoms: Babylon 5/Brimstone
Warnings: The usual violence and occult activity inherent in these fandoms.
Pairings: No, not really
Disclaimers: Characters Owned by JMS and the Brimstone guys. Not mine, I don't have anything, please don't sue me.
Summary/Spoilers: This is in the 3rd season of Bab 5. Zeke Stone has come back one more time - with a slightly new employer - to take care of one last task in the face of the Great Shadow War.
Ezekiel Stone thought he was dreaming or possibly losing his mind. The last thing he remembered was the indescribable joy of being in Rosalyn's arms. She'd taken his second chance in life pretty much in stride. They'd done it better the second time around.
Actually they'd been reunited before his second chance at life. He'd avoided exposing her to the potential danger of the still free 113 condemned souls who'd escaped Hell. Every single one of them was not above getting to him through her. But, whichever Power was playing with his life this time, had seen fit to bring them back together. This time they'd even managed to die together. A freak plane crash after a romantic anniversary vacation. Now they were together for Eternity. At least until recently.
"Where am I?" he asked, looking around him.
A tall man wearing flowing robes and with the head of a fish replied as he passed, "Red Sector, Level Four."
"Thank you," Zeke responded automatically, even as his brain began jibbering incoherently at the sight of the being.
"I guess I should have warned you? Shouldn't I?" an all too familiar voice asked.
"I thought I was finally rid of you," Zeke said, turning to see a tall, thin man with neatly styled shoulder length brown hair wearing a snazzy white suit trimmed in gold. He still looked suspiciously like a kid Zeke had beaten up in the 6th grade. Zeke still didn't think that was a coincidence.
"You know better than that, Mr. Stone. I'm not HIM. I just look like him, but I work on the side of God, remember?"
"Oh, yeah, right. What is this place? Where am I?" Zeke wanted to know.
"Oh, look, a restaurant. Let's go. I think you're going to want to sit down for this one, Mr. Stone."
Zeke followed the angel into a place called the Zocalo. Immediately the late New York cop was overwhelmed. He followed the angel to table in the corner and tried not to gawk. He was a trained observer. He could stare at the wide array of strangeness around him without looking like a rube. Or so he thought.
"What is this place?" he asked, for what seemed like the thousandth time. "Where are we?"
The angel gestured to a waiter and ordered a couple of drinks. The waiter nodded and left. Zeke looked at him expectantly.
"You haven't answered the question," Zeke prompted. "What is this? One of those weird science fiction conventions? I've heard people really go all out for those. But this is... something else. Some of that makeup looks so REAL..."
The waiter came back. The angel indicated he should put both before Zeke. The waiter followed his instructions and went away. Zeke was really confused now. "I think you're going to need those," the angel told him.
"What is it?" Zeke asked, still suspicious. The small glasses didn't resemble any alcohol he'd ever imbibed. However, he didn't wait for an answer. He sipped at the glass and found it not only potable but quite tasty as well. He took a deeper drink. "This is pretty good."
"Glad you like it, because it's only the beginning."
Zeke's suspicion rose. "What?"
"There's a reason you think it looks real. It is real. Those are citizens of planets other than Earth."
Zeke put his drink down and pushed it away. "Excuse me?" He wasn't sure what he'd been drinking, but if it was already affecting his hearing, then he wanted nothing more to do with it.
"Listen to me, Ezekiel," the angel said, leaning toward him, voice going quietly intense. "I have never lied to you. Not like HE did. I can't. What I am telling you is the truth. It's now 2260 and we're on a space station called Babylon 5, in what you would consider deep outer space."
Zeke's brain threatened to explode and ooze out his ears. He couldn't comprehend what he was hearing. He knew the words, understood the language, but the concept was just beyond him. "Huh?" he finally responded.
"I was afraid of this. I thought we should use someone more contemporary, but the Boss wanted you," the angel muttered, then he pushed back his chair and stood. "Come along, Ezekiel. I have something to show you."
The two men went to a large viewport. The angel was quick to catch his elbow as Zeke's knees buckled and failed to hold him. He turned disbelieving eyes to the angel. "Those are stars, and that's not Earth down there."
"No, it's not," the angel told him. "I wish there had been a way to ease you into this, but the need is great, time is short, and you were the Boss's first choice..."
"You've said that before," Zeke said. "First choice for what?"
"A great evil has been released on this station," the angel told him soberly, yet dramatically. "An evil straight from..."
"Let me guess," Zeke interrupted. "The Pits of Hell."
"And because I've...you want me to find this...this...thing and send it back."
"Great," Zeke sighed, turning away from the viewport. His mind was now whirling with things other than the fact he was trapped in a science fiction movie run amuck. He finally turned back to the angel. "It's been a long time...I...I don't even have a gun anymore..."
"Oh, Ezekiel, did you think we would send you out without the ability and provision to complete your task?" the angel asked, all but tsk-tsking him.
"It's happened before."
"Not while you were on God's side. You will be well equipped for your battle."
"What? Wings and a sword?"
The angel laughed from deep in his belly, "Oh, Ezekiel, no, though that is funny. You may be a warrior for the Lord, but Ezekiel, you are certainly no angel. No, your weapons will be more...conventional...to this time."
The angel closed his eyes and made a pass with one hand over Zeke. Then after a moment, he opened his eyes. He sighed with a smile. "Very nice."
Zeke went to the viewport. There was enough reflection for him to see his new wardrobe. Gone was the pretense of "what you died with is what you get." He stood there in a trim black suit with a high neck and silver trim. He'd seen a couple of people in passing with uniforms that looked vaguely similar, but his was different. He doubted he'd be looked at twice. He also felt a light, but familiar lump in his waistband. He drew the unfamiliar weapon. "What is it?"
"It's called a PPG. Stands for powered pellet gun, or phased plasma gun or something like that," the angel told him with a dismissive wave for the unimportant. "A weapon developed for law enforcement in pressurized, atmospherically contained environments. It incapacitates or kills an opponent without risk of damage to the pressurized hull of the station."
"What are you? Omniscient?"
"Only God is omniscient, Ezekiel," the angel chided. "You should know that by now."
"How does it work?"
"Much like guns you were once familiar with, except for..." the angel instructed him on the features of the PPG. Once Zeke felt fairly confident of the weapon, the angel changed the subject. "Now, Ezekiel, I can't tell you for certain who your target is. He will be human, and he will be arriving with a delegation known as the Psi-Cops. And I use the pronoun 'he' in the most general terms, you realize. Damned souls can be very tricky."
"Of course. How will I find him? This station has to be huge."
"Only five miles long," the angel responded. "And he will be arriving within the next couple of days. If you take my advice, your best ally will be the Chief of Security, Michael Garibaldi."
"Now I believe I'm working with the Afterlife," Zeke muttered.
"Oh, and one other thing," the angel told him. "Here is your room assignment, and a modest credit account. We'll need receipts. Our Boss is big on good stewardship."
"Let me guess," he found himself muttering. "$36.27."
"Oh no, you will need much more than that. You'll find it adequate to your needs for as long as you're on the station."
"And how long is that going to be?" Zeke asked suspiciously.
"You will be back with your lovely wife before she has a chance to miss you."
Zeke didn't believe it for a moment, but he had another thought which superceded his thoughts of Rosalyn for a moment. "Hey, I was out of my depth with technology when I came back in 1999. That was only fifteen years. This is what? A couple of hundred years?"
"Two hundred and forty-six to be exact," the angel responded. "You made up for your lack in record time once you had the chance, and yet you still worry. Ezekiel, you must have faith!" He touched Zeke's forehead lightly with one finger. "You will have the knowledge when you need it."
Zeke had to trust this man who looked so much like his past tormentor. Though since his time in Heaven with Rosalyn, many of those memories were lost in a fog, or seen as a from a great distance when he could remember them at all. He nodded unconsciously. The angel smiled. "God bless you, Ezekiel." And he disappeared.
Zeke looked around. No one else seemed to have noticed or responded to the angel's sudden departure. So either instantaneous dematerialization was a common occurrence on this station, or as with his previous employer, he made it so no one noticed his arrivals and departures. Though apparently both angel and devil could be seen by other people at will, or the waiter would've not taken the order.
He shook himself out of this pointless train of thought. Zeke had work to do. At the first opportunity, he found a directory console - an OCCUPIED directory console. He watched the woman while she made her request, took her directions, and left. He approached the kiosk and took a deep breath, ready to attempt, what was to him, the unknown. However, when he stepped up to face the unfamiliar screen, suddenly he recognized the commands and knew what he was supposed to do. This was going to be easier than last time. In a moment, he was on his way.
# # # #
Michael Garibaldi never had to wonder why he was losing his hair. He probably ripped out most of it by the roots after reading reports like the one currently on his desk. Bester was coming - AGAIN. It wasn't as if this impending war with the Shadows didn't leave him enough to deal with, now he had to be NICE to the worst of a bad lot, Captain's orders. Sheridan didn't like Bester any more than he did, but Sheridan had to deal with him too.
A chime on his office door brought him out of his ever-growing pile of paperwork. He glanced through the numerous vid screens, and seeing no major catastrophe in the offing, invited his visitor in.
"Mr. Garibaldi?" Zeke asked, as he entered the office. "Michael Garibaldi?"
"I'm Garibaldi," he answered, leaning back in his chair and putting his feet up on his desk - a deceptively casual posture. "And you are?"
"I'm Zeke Stone," he answered, a little hesitantly. He'd never been all that great at asking for help, and this guy was no Maxine.
"What can I do for you, Mr. Stone?" Garibaldi asked, feigning boredom. There was something familiar about him, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Yet.
"I need some information."
"Then I suggest you try ISN or one of the other news services, not me. I'm busy."
"I'm looking for a man named Bester. I was given the impression you knew him."
That got Garibaldi's attention. The feet came down off the desk. The security chief sat more upright. "What's your business with Mr. Bester?"
Zeke hesitated. "My reasons are my own. I'd rather not say."
"Then we have a problem, Mr. Stone," Garibaldi said, eyes narrowing. He studied the man standing before him. "Who are you, and what do you want with Mr. Bester?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Zeke replied.
That got a rakish grin from Garibaldi and the feet went back up on the desk. He put his hands behind his head as he leaned back in his chair. "Mr. Stone, you can't tell me anything that could shock me. I've seen, done, even killed things that would give you the heebie jeebies for years. I wouldn't even be surprised if the Devil himself came up and knocked on my door."
"That's a possibility," Zeke muttered.
"Excuse me? What?"
Zeke thought furiously and could only come up with the truth. Things really had changed since the last time he'd done this. "What if I told you a great evil was about to be unleashed on your station?"
Garibaldi was really bored now. "I'd say it would be a pretty typical day on Babylon 5. We have great evils coming in all the time. And with Bester on his way, tell me something I don't know. Now, for the last time, Mr. Stone, who are you and what do you want?"
Zeke swallowed. "You'll probably lock me up for being crazy."
"Crazy is an everyday occurrence around here," Garibaldi answered. "If I don't get a satisfactory answer, though, real quick, I'll be forced to assume you're a terrorist or some other idiotic danger to the station, not to mention a pain in my butt, then I will have to lock you up. Your call."
"I'm a messenger from God."
Garibaldi picked up a large stack of reports. "See these?"
"Each one of them is a messenger from one god or another from one planet or another. Get your class C Missionary permit and don't bug too many people with your 'message.'" Garibaldi went back to his reports.
"Uh, it's not like that."
Garibaldi looked back up; this was starting to get real old. "Then what IS it like?"
"Maybe I misspoke. I'm more an Agent than a messenger, and I am from THE God, you know, like the one in Heaven."
"I'm with you so far, sport."
"I'm here to track down a soul escaped from Hell, an Evil like you can barely imagine," Zeke heard himself say.
"And what qualifies you as a demon hunter?"
Zeke's eyes went cold as he pulled himself up to his full height. "I was a cop, and a good one. I tracked down and killed the man who raped my wife. Then I died and went to Hell for 15 years. 113 of the most evil souls imaginable escaped. I was sent to track them down and send them back. I did it and redeemed my soul. Now I'm back. Do you have any idea how to stop an escaped soul?"
"Stake through the heart and some garlic?"
"Yeah, right, you don't need me. Good luck." Zeke turned and started to go. "When this place starts smelling like Brimstone, don't say I didn't warn you."
Garibaldi stared at his back a moment then stopped. "Okay, okay. You've got five minutes. Don't want anyone to say I didn't take a potential threat seriously."
Zeke turned back. "Not potential, Mr. Garibaldi, definite. What I'm looking for wouldn't blink at wholesale murder and mayhem."
"I don't believe in the Devil, Mr. Stone."
"Then you're a fool, Mr. Garibaldi. He exists. Pray you never meet him. I have, and I hope I never see him again." Zeke took a deep breath. "Now, about this Bester?"
# # # #
Garibaldi paced nervously as he waited for the passengers to disembark. He'd almost believed Bester, Psi Corps most notorious Psi Cop, could be the Devil himself, despite what he said to Ezekiel Stone. But Zeke had told him, though he could hardly be reassured, that Bester WASN'T the personification of Evil. He merely harbored one of Evil's minions. Garibaldi found nothing comforting in having his suspicions confirmed. Too bad Stone was only looking for one. He could've sworn all Psi Cops were escapees from Hell. How else could they do what they do?
The security chief glanced around casually. He was counting his men. Two at Customs, two by the kiosk, and Stone stood back against a pillar looking bored. Garibaldi wished he could feel as bored as Zeke looked, but with Bester around, he always had the itchy feeling of impending doom. And this time, that feeling was multiplied. If he were Chicken Little, the sky would be falling - right on his head.
Zeke Stone's boredom was a total act. His facade covered a massive adrenaline rush speared on by fear. It had been so long since he'd gone demon hunting. He wasn't sure how well he'd be able to pull it off.
"Yes, fear and self-doubt can be amazingly debilitating, can't they?" a voice asked at his elbow.
Zeke glanced over to see a man identical to the angel who'd assigned him this job standing next to him. The only difference was this guy was wearing a very well cut, very dark suit, a fedora perched at a jaunty angle, and the most arrogant expression imaginable. Zeke sighed. He should've known.
"I was wondering when you'd show up," he muttered. "Go away, I don't work for you anymore."
"You may not have been given the job by me, but in a way you ARE working for me," the devil replied. "Speaking of which, how are things going with the little woman?"
Zeke shot his former boss a scathing look. "Heavenly."
"Ha, ha, ha," the prince of darkness sneered.
"What do you want?" Zeke demanded. "Why aren't you out tormenting your own demon hunter?"
"You'd think I would be, but you know, I haven't found anyone as entertaining as you to take your place."
"Great," Zeke muttered. "Just what I needed. So, are you going to give me any of your vague and nearly pointless hints about what I'm dealing with here?"
"I'm hurt," the devil pouted. "Here I am, willing to make your life so much more interesting..."
"And you do this! I'm really hurt. I'm insulted." That pout was a work of art. Zeke was immune.
"Out with it. Who got away from you this time?"
"Someone near and dear to your heart. Mine, too, if I had one, which I don't. Someone who's been carrying a torch, so to speak, for centuries. Be careful you don't get burned."
Before Zeke could comment, the devil was gone and the delegation was coming through the docking port. He watched the five person team march through in dark suits and gloves. They all looked oddly menacing, even the women in the group. From this vantage point, Zeke couldn't get the fix on the one soul he was looking for, and he was too far away to see their eyes. A mistake on his part. He should've known better; the answer was always in the eyes.
# # # #
Garibaldi rubbed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. Mentally, he was slowly counting to ten.
"Headache, Mr. Garibaldi?" Alfred Bester asked sweetly. "Surely none of my doing."
"And why would you think that?" Garibaldi asked, then he went on. "What's the purpose of your visit to Babylon 5."
"What kind of business?"
"My business," Bester replied. "If you'll excuse me, I need to see Captain Sheridan. He's expecting me."
Garibaldi gave way, reluctantly. Bester and his crew swept by him and headed into the station proper. Zeke had to scurry to get out of their way. He made eye contact only with Bester. He couldn't catch the eyes of the other four.
"So? Which one is it?" Garibaldi asked, coming up to him.
"I'm not sure," Zeke answered slowly.
"What do you mean, you're not sure?"
"I couldn't see their eyes. At least not well enough..."
"What do eyes have to do with it?"
"Why, Mr. Garibaldi, the eyes are the mirrors to the soul," Zeke answered. "I do know it's not that guy you were talking to."
"Great. Just great."
# # #
Bester watched as his crew settled in their quarters. He wasn't sure about the new addition to his team. She'd been a last minute replacement for Connors, who'd come up unexpectedly and irrevocably dead. Bester watched his new Psi Cop as she moved about the room. He knew she knew he was watching, but it didn't seem to phase her. Good. He couldn't use a skittish Psi Cop. Not here. Not now.
He could feel the power emanating from her. She had to be one of the strongest Psi talents he'd ever encountered, and that included himself and Lyta Alexander. Ah, Lyta... Bester quickly choked off that line of thought. Lyta was another thought for another time, but there were some similarities between the two women. Apparently, Bester had a weakness for red heads, even if he never acknowledged it.
The Psi Cop in question finally looked at him and gave him a small smile. "Is everything all right, sir?"
Bester shook himself from his thoughts. "Fine, Ms. Argol. Just thinking."
Cynthia Argol nodded once and went back about her business. She was a small, pleasant woman with flame red hair and sparkling blue eyes, but she radiated power that inspired respect and a little bit of fear. Though when asked, no one could say why. She seemed nice enough, but no one got close to Cynthia. That wasn't unusual for telepaths, especially not Psi Cops.
Soon they were all assembled in Bester's sitting room. The four Psi-Cops looked to their leader in anticipation. He looked at each of their eager young faces like a proud parent. If he tried, he could read the thoughts behind all those eyes, with the possible exception of Cynthia. That made her an enigma. A challenge. One he would explore later. For now, there was more pressing business to attend to.
# # #
Bester's Psi Cops were at least trying to be inconspicuous as they moved through the station. For the most part, they failed miserably. Cynthia Algol managed to slip away, however, and lose herself in Red Sector's market area. Her "training exercise" had some elements even Bester couldn't fathom. After about an hour or so of seemingly aimless wandering, Algol slipped completely away.
# # #
Zeke was ready to beat his head against a wall, or bulkhead, or whatever they called it on this tub. He hadn't expected Bester's people to split up. He'd managed to rule out two of Bester's people, as well as Bester himself. But he'd lost the last two. It was as if they'd melted into the metal framework. Which, depending on WHICH damned souls he was dealing with, could very well be true.
"Not giving up already are we, Mr. Stone?"
Zeke rolled his eyes and turned to face the voice. "How come I see more of you when I DON'T work for you than when I DID?"
"Just good old fashioned bad luck, I guess, Mr. Stone," the prince of darkness replied. "Besides, why would those goody-goodies upstairs tell you where to look? You never find any of THEM hiding in the shadows. And around here, the Shadows could be your friends."
"Talking shadows?" Zeke asked incredulously. "Give me a break."
"Don't be so quick to scoff, Mr. Stone," the devil replied, strutting down the corridor backward. "After all, there was a time when you didn't believe in the devil, and look where THAT got you."
Zeke shook his head. The devil was gone when he looked up. He had no other choice but to keep going.
# # #
Algol tapped her foot impatiently in a dark corner of a little used junction in Brown Sector. She fought the urge to keep checking the time. He was late. Then the darkness moved. She turned on it expectantly, yet defensively. The neatly dressed man put up his hands, an evil glint in his dark eyes.
"It's just me."
Algol barely relaxed. "You're late."
"I was covering my tracks," he replied. "I didn't think you wanted unexpected guests for this meeting," he answered. "How about you, anyone follow you?"
"No one sees me unless I want them to, Mr. Morden," Algol hissed. "I've been at this a lot longer than you can imagine, and in this...form...I have more than just experience to draw upon."
"I understand," Morden replied, smiling his charming, yet unsettling smile. "However, my Friends have impressed on me the need for caution."
"Caution is all well and good until it comes the time to act. Will you be ready...and willing?"
Morden studied the telepath for a moment. There seemed to be a very real fire in her eyes that made him take an involuntary step back. "We'll be ready."
"Good," she said turning away. "I'll be in contact."
It wasn't until she was around a corner and out of sight that Morden found himself able to move. He hadn't realized he'd been rooted to his spot. He looked after the woman with renewed awed and an unfamiliar spark of fear. "Well," he muttered aloud. "This is going to prove interesting."
Around him the shadows seemed to grow deeper and take on a form of their own. The darkness whispered to Mr. Morden. He nodded. "As you wish. If the good Ms. Algol becomes a detriment to our cause, she will be dealt with."
# # #
Cynthia Algol was thinking much the same thing about Mr. Morden. She didn't really care for the man or his associates, but they were the quickest means to her end. She was so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she wasn't even aware of Zeke Stone until she ran into him.
"Excuse me," Zeke apologized, quickly disengaging from her.
Algol looked up at him and took a step back. "You! It can't be."
Zeke looked at the woman more closely. He knew she was one of Bester's team, but he didn't think he'd ever seen her before. "Have we met?"
Something smouldered in her eyes, but was quickly dampened. She hoped Zeke had missed it. "No. I don't think so. You reminded me of someone I once knew. But that was forever ago. Almost an eternity." She edged past Zeke. "I have to go."
Zeke stepped out of her way and watched her go. Something gnawed at the back of his mind. BINGO! It told him he'd just found his quarry. Now all he had to do was find her again in a relatively isolated spot and send her back. Then he could resume his eternity with Rosalyn.
"Are you STILL obsessed with the little woman?" the all too familiar voice asked. "Your one track mind is so very boring."
Zeke turned to see the devil decked out as a Psi Cop. He wore black from high necked tunic to boot tips. The gold insignia glowed with a red tint reminiscent of blood. The long, elegant hands were encased in supple black kidskin. Zeke didn't care to think about what KIND of kid had made those gloves.
"What do you want NOW?"
"Just because you've identified my wayward lamb, don't get all cocky about sending her home. She's a match for you, Mr. Stone. In fact, she's almost a match for ME. Don't think this will be easy. No matter WHO you think your allies are."
By the time Zeke finished rolling his eyes, the prince of darkness was gone. With a sigh, Zeke went to find some useful information.
# # #
Michael Garibaldi was just about to call it a day. It had been a full one, too, but what day wasn't on Babylon 5? All he wanted to do was go back to his quarters with a pizza and do his third most favorite thing in the universe. And heaven help anyone who got in his way.
Garibaldi actually made it to his quarters with his pizza. He kicked off his shoes, programmed the vid, and sat down - just as the door chimed. The security chief growled, paused the vid, and went to the door. "This had better be good. Come!"
The door slid aside and Zeke stepped through. "Sorry to bother you..."
"Just make it quick. My dinner's getting cold."
"Is that pizza I smell?" Zeke asked incredulously. His mouth began to water; it had been a very long time since he'd had a good pizza. "Pepperoni and sausage?"
"Nothing wrong with your nose, I'll give you that," Garibaldi muttered. "What do you want, Mr. Stone? It's late, and I'm busy."
Zeke was staring at the paused vidscreen in amazed wonder. "Is that DUCK DODGERS IN THE 24TH AND A HALF CENTURY? I haven't seen that since I was kid."
Garibaldi softened a bit. "You know DUCK DODGERS?"
"Oh, yeah. Nothing beats Daffy Duck. This was my favorite episode. Followed closely by the ROBIN HOOD buck and a quarter quarterstaff episode."
"How can you possibly compare the two?" Garibaldi demanded. "Want some pizza?"
The next couple of hours were spent discussing the finer points of Twentieth Century animated television. Little did Garibaldi know, Zeke was speaking from personal experience. "You know," Zeke said at one point, "if you're this into Daffy Duck, there was another series you might be interested in. If you can find it."
"Oh, yeah? What's that?"
"It was pretty short lived in the mid 1990s, but it was a classic."
"Don't just sit there, spit it out!"
"It was a show called CAPTAIN SIMIAN AND THE SPACE MONKEYS."
Garibaldi's eyes seemed to glow with unbridled excitement. "You've actually HEARD of CAPTAIN SIMIAN AND THE SPACE MONKEYS? I've never met anyone who can appreciate what those apes were trying to accomplish. It took me years and more credits than I care to think about, but I have all twenty-six episodes on vid."
Zeke began to wonder how he could gracefully escape.
# # #
The next day, Zeke studied the information he'd finally gotten from Garibaldi. There was definitely something odd about Cynthia Algol. Station security didn't seem to find it odd that there was almost no information on the woman. Maybe it was par for the course where the Psi Corps was concerned. But for Zeke, it just went to prove Cynthia Algol was his quarry, but finding one person in a five-mile station containing a quarter of a million humans and aliens was a daunting task. Zeke wasn't all that worried. He'd found a single rapist in New York City; he could find this Algol chick.
# # #
Cynthia Algol had other plans, and they didn't include Ezekiel Stone's participation. His appearance on the station had been an unexpected complication, but one she could easily manage. Her telepathic abilities allowed her free reign over most minds on Babylon 5. All she had to do was continue deflecting attention, complete her task, and leave. Shouldn't be too hard. After all, there was only ONE Vorlon on the station.
She moved through Red Sector on the path to the Alien Sector. She didn't want to face Kosh on his own turf, but she could wait for him and follow. Her task wasn't something to be done in the shadows, no matter what Mr. Morden's companions might believe. She was going to do this in the light, with as many witnesses as possible. The death of Hope deserved no less.
As she moved through the crowds, she pulled thoughts from those she passed as she deftly erased any awareness of her passing. Such delicious secrets she discovered and filed away for future reference. So many dark places, thoughts, and fears to exploit, so little time. She sighed. She'd waited this long - an eternity almost - she could be patient. And that's when it happened. Algol made a mistake.
# # #
Lyta Alexander had been lost in thought, and she had quite a few to lose herself in. She was on some strange errand for Ambassador Kosh, but what errand wasn't odd where the Vorlons were concerned. She was also quite pleased to have avoided Bester and his little band of thugs so far. She wished she could... the thought stopped abruptly as she felt something. A mind in hers! How DARE anyone!
She physically scanned the people around her as she mentally slapped down the offensive and highly illegal scan. Fortunately, she was beginning to know her own, Vorlon enhanced, strength - or at least what it was at the moment. What it was still becoming, even SHE wasn't sure she was ready to know. A woman nearby rocked as if physically struck and clutched her head. Lyta didn't remember seeing her before, and had the feeling if asked, no one would remember her, despite the fact she was a very striking woman.
Lyta moved quickly, physically restraining the woman and moving her to a more private spot. "You just made a very big error, lady."
Algol's eyes narrowed and flared with the fires of Hell. "Let go of me. You don't know what you're dealing with." She added a mental push to her words.
Lyta once again slapped down the probe, much to Algol's surprise. Even more surprising was Lyta's response to Algol's flame. The other woman's eyes went black from pupil to whites. "What are you?" Algol demanded, gathering her strength for a purely physical assault.
"Someone you DON'T want to mess with. Got it?" Lyta returned.
Algol shifted to throw Lyta across the room when an artificially pleasant voice interrupted them. "Is there a problem, ladies?"
Both turned to see Bester standing nearby, leaning against the bulkhead, arms crossed, with an amused expression on his face.
Lyta shoved Algol towards him. "I thought you trained your dogs better, Bester. This one tried to get inside my head without out permission - twice. I was trying to teach her some manners."
"Really?" Bester purred, thoroughly intrigued. His day kept getting better and better. First he'd managed to annoy Michael Garibaldi with something totally inconsequential, now this. He needed to come to Babylon 5 more often. But for appearances' sake, he ushered Algol away. "Come now, Ms. Algol. We must have a long talk about this breach of etiquette."
Algol allowed herself to be led away, but she shot Lyta a glare that said this incident was far from over. Lyta suppressed a shudder and moved on. Something dark still crawled along the edges of her mind. Not that it helped knowing Bester's talk with that woman would consist of what she'd seen in Lyta's mind.
# # #
Algol seethed inwardly as she endured Bester's unctuous lecture. She would give almost anything to put this little man out of her misery. He was delaying her. He was in her way. He must be removed. Someone came out of nowhere with an urgent errand for Bester, unknowingly saving the Psi Cop's life. Algol relaxed slightly. Bester's death would be noticed by too many people - universally unlamented, but noticed. She returned to her original task, seriously off schedule.
# # #
Captain John Sheridan liked the botanical gardens on the station. It was almost like being on a planet, and sometimes a person needed that feeling of being grounded after prolonged periods in space. It was an illusion, and he knew it, and probably even a delusion, but it was one he was willing to deal with. Especially since others seemed to find the same comfort in it as he did.
A strong, familiar presence made Sheridan look up. Ambassador Kosh stood nearby, unearthly in his encounter suit. Sheridan had a feeling Kosh was staring at him, but with the suit, who could tell?
"It's coming," Kosh said cryptically, the words accompanied by the untranslatable sounds Sheridan always thought were rather musical.
Sheridan felt some sense of urgency in the two simple words. He leapt to his feet, instantly alert. "What? What's coming?"
Kosh simply looked away, or at least his suit turned in a different direction. Sheridan followed the look. A moment later, Cynthia Algol stepped out of the foliage with an unreadable expression. She didn't even acknowledge the captain's presence, but Sheridan knew she was up to no good. He hit his link, and called in the cavalry.
"You do not belong here," Kosh told Algol. Sheridan was amazed. It had to be one of the longest complete sentences he'd ever heard from the Vorlon.
"Neither do you," she replied.
"We protect. You destroy."
"You can't have one without the other," Algol replied. She nodded to the suit. "Why hide behind that? Afraid no one would believe the truth?"
"Why do you hide?" Kosh responded in kind.
Sheridan knew he should move. Do something to intervene, but he couldn't seem to move. With a great force of will, he made himself take a step toward the two.
Algol noticed him for the first time and snarled, "This does not concern you." With an effortless backhanded sweep, Sheridan went flying and came down twenty feet away with a sickening thud. He stayed down. She smiled at the Vorlon. "Now it's just the two of us."
"I don't think so," Zeke said, coming out of another section of foliage, PPG raised.
Algol stamped her foot in a fit of temper. "Where did you come from? Why does it always have to be you interfering with my plans? We could've been so good together!"
A bolt of inspiration lifted the cloud of confusion. Zeke knew who he was dealing with, and had been dealing with all along, and why he'd been chosen in the first place. The PPG wavered a moment. "Ashe."
The woman's form shimmered and became the blond - ash blonde, of course - police detective he remembered from so long ago. "Hiya, Zeke. It's been a long time."
"Not long enough."
"How's the delightful Rosalyn?" she purred. "Too bad I didn't get to have my way with her while I had the chance."
Zeke refused to rise to the bait. "She's out of your reach forever, Ashe. How'd you get out this time? I thought he'd have you on a tight leash this time around."
"HIM?" Ashe snorted. "You don't spend thousands of years with someone and NOT learn a few tricks and weaknesses."
"I do NOT have any weaknesses!" the Devil protested, suddenly joining the party. Ashe merely laughed, which didn't sit well with the prince of lies. "Mr. Stone, please finish this business."
"What?" Ashe pouted. "No terms of endearment for an old lover? You and Zeke, here, actually have something in common, you know. Or didn't he ever tell you?"
The Devil's face contorted in rage. "You flatter yourself, Ashe. You were never a lover, merely convenient. Mr. Stone."
Zeke didn't need any further encouragement. He raised the PPG and fired twice. Straight into the eyes of Ashe. She screamed as her soul returned to the eternal prison of Hell. Garibaldi stormed into the area just as her form crumpled into dust.
"What the hell?" he asked intelligently, looking from Zeke, to Devil, then to the Vorlon.
"Everything's taken care of, Mr. Garibaldi," the Devil told him. "It's a shame you quit drinking. I had such fun with you when you were drunk."
Garibaldi stared after him a moment, then turned to Zeke. "Who is that?"
"The Devil, Mr. Garibaldi. I told you he was real. You might want to check on that guy over there, he took a nasty hit."
Garibaldi saw Sheridan for the first time. "Captain!" He hit his link. "Medical team to the garden NOW." He went over to check on Sheridan and promptly forgot about the strange trio. If he hadn't, he would've witnessed a remarkable sight.
The Vorlon's encounter suit opened, spilling white light out the opening a moment before dissolving completely. In its place was a man in shining white identical to the Devil. Both looked at each other with a mixture of pity and contempt.
"Well done, Ezekiel," the Angel in white said. "Despite his... help, you have saved this time from a greater force of evil than it was prepared to handle." He turned to his dark counterpart. "I hope this means you'll keep that one under tighter control. This gets tiresome after so many millennia."
"Yes, but it keeps us all on our toes."
Zeke's mind couldn't quite handle the two of them together, but he finally had to ask. "Why is it you both bear a remarkable resemblance to the kid I beat up in the sixth grade?"
The Angel and the Devil smiled but said nothing. Zeke wasn't sure he liked that.
"And this is the last time, right? You guys can clean up your own messes after this, right?
Again, the wordless smile that was getting on Zeke's nerves. Then all three were gone in a flash of light.
Sheridan came around. Both he and Garibaldi looked up when the three disappeared. Kosh glided into the scene a second later.
"Were you just here?" Sheridan asked thickly.
A wave of sound preceded the resounding, "No."
Sheridan and Garibaldi looked at each other. "What just happened here?" Sheridan wanted to know.
Garibaldi looked faintly sick. "I don't think you really want to know. I don't think *I* want to know. I think we should just forget this whole thing happened." Garibaldi paused a moment, then asked. "Do you think there's really a Devil?"
"I think there's a bit of devil in all of us, Mr. Garibaldi," Sheridan replied, remarkably philosophically considering his condition.
Garibaldi looked where the three had been. "Yeah. Right."