Fears and Tribulations, Part 1

Characters: Ryath Oaks

Ryath could hear them laughing and talking, although she couldn’t hear enough to make out the words. Once more she found herself wanting to spy on them, but again she resisted. She laid back on the sofa, her legs hanging over the armrest. She closed her eyes; She wasn’t tired, she just needed to concentrate on blocking the very powerful emotions emanating from the next room.

Finally she gave up. “I’m going to see what I can find out about the attack on Centauri Prime!” she called out to the Rangers. She knew it was a lame excuse, but wasn’t able to think of a better one in time. Hesitating just for a moment before leaving, she gave them a chance to respond. What she felt was response enough for her. A sense of relief flowed from the other room.

Ryath left, and turned right, towards the lift to the Ambassadorial level. I’ll see who’s about, and maybe find out who knew about the attack on Centauri Prime before it happened!

Soon she found herself standing outside the lift, alone. Her thoughts drifted to Peter and Mira, then to Dunstan. She smiled. I must repair what has come between us, she thought, her smile changing to a scowl.

The lift arrived and the door opened revealing a Pak’ma’ra. Ryath was brought out of her trance when the Pak’ma’ra asked her for the time in what sounded like perfect English. “Excuse me?” she replied. The Pak’ma’ra repeated the question, this time she heard it in his native language, but still the translation program had finished translating by the time he had finished.

“What time is it?”

Ryath had no inclination in conversing with him, so she shrugged and shook her head as though she didn’t understand, then squeezed her way onto the lift as the Pak’ma’ra exited.

Alone in the lift she thought of how she could start to fix the rift she had caused between her and Dunstan. She decided that she should send a message, explain what she couldn’t in person.

The lift stopped and the door opened. Two Brakiri were standing waiting for it, arguing.

“What I don’t understand is why the Aromni was carrying passengers? It’s a cargo ship. It’s got no room for passengers!”

“Yes, Ambassador. That’s what I told the Captain. But she insists that passengers were requested embarkation to B5. And of course the Aromni’s paperwork only shows cargo, so….”

Ryath smothered a smile, nodded to the Brakiri as she exited the lift. Once the Brakiri had boarded and the lift door had closed she allowed herself a little break.

“Ha! Wait till they find out there are no such passengers on the Station!” she laughed.

Soon she was standing outside the door to the Centauri Ambassador. There was no noise from within, and although it would have been quick and simple for her to break in and plant probes, she found the desire to do so was missing. There’s no need to really. Not like anyone is going to come to his quarters and confess they knew what was happening!

She moved on. Passed three security guards, none of which stopped her. She listened at each door. Most were quiet, empty. Those that were occupied were dealing with Home-World matters. Still she left probes outside each Ambassadorial room. That task completed, she briefly thought of returning to her room but thought Peter and Mira could do with a little more quiet time. So she retraced her steps back to the lift, and waited.

It wasn’t long before the lift arrived, empty once again.

Making up her mind to actively search for clues, she headed to the Zocalo. Stepping out into the hustle and bustle of the Zocalo made her head spin. She swallowed hard, and forced her way through the crowd. She felt a myriad of emotions from them. Anger, frustration, happiness and sadness. She struggled to separate one emotion from another. I must try harder, she thought, but instead she dove for what looked like a crack in the air duct service entrance.

As soon as she was through the hole all the emotions fell away. Something in the material or shape of the air duct deflected them. She sighed heavily, and crouched down to make her way further into the air duct. She kept going until she came across a junction. With her back against the wall of the ‘T-junction’ she sat and forced herself to relax. She hoped the Rangers were having more fun than she was.

Sat in the makeshift emotional cocoon, Ryath could, for the first time, really feel her own emotions. She took the opportunity to think of the Rangers, here on B5, and those back on thePhoenix. She felt protective, responsible, and for one Ranger she felt something else.

Dunstan’s image held in her mind. She felt warm, and surprisingly content. This time she knew it was real. These emotions couldn’t belong to anyone else, there was no-one else around. She wanted to return to the Phoenix. She wanted to be close enough to be there should he ever ask for her, but she knew this too was dangerous. How was she ever going to be able to tell him how she felt! It would have to be done now, while her thoughts were clear, before she returned with Carlacci.

Shifting to find a more comfortable position, Ryath opened a file in her minds eye. It would be written here, but when Dunstan received it, it would be in a form of a hologram.

 Anla'shok Kordieh. Dunstan.
 Before we meet again, there are things I need to tell you. Things that have
 reference to our last meeting, and departure. If you find yourself unable to 
 hear these words, please delete the message by waving your hand through the 
 When we first met, I had started to change. I was in pain, confused and 
 dangerous. Yet you stayed even after Kim had left. I believe you saw something 
 of yourself in me then, and found you could not turn your back on me. I also 
 think we made a connection, one that happens rarely in the Universe.
 Through my transformation you stayed, you even stayed after I had injured you, 
 and I know that with that one action the injury was deep. I regret it, and wish 
 I could tell you this in person. Maybe, when I return with my traveling 
 companion; who is well, as is the package we retrieved; we can speak further of 
 this and another matter?
 I am a Mage, Dunstan. Worldly in the matters of politics, and war. Knowledgeable 
 in affairs of the Universe, but I have never had to understand emotions. Mine or 
 another's; yet this is the result of my transformation. I find myself inundated 
 with emotions that are not my own and have to somehow cope. It was unfortunate 
 that I could not start my transformation away from others, but I see it now as a 
 test. A test I failed!
 I hope you can forgive my transgression, and that we might be able to tell each 
 other how we truly feel.

She reviewed the message, and was satisfied with it. She sent it via the network of Faster Than Light Relays the Mages use, making sure it twisted and turned and occasionally doubled back on itself before pausing in a 24 hour time delay in the relay closest to Rolui. That should allow Peter to get a message to the Phoenix before it’s delivered.

She moved to exit the duct, and smelt ozone. A pulse weapon! Quickly she scanned the area, just as she found him the weapon fired. She dived to her right, away from him, and smacked her head hard against the side of the duct. A little shaken she turned over to watch the man make his way to her, so she could see his eyes when she fried his ass.

A face lunged over her from behind. The cold black eyes she recognized, but couldn’t believe she was here. She formed a fireball in her right hand, and then felt the heat of one being held close to her head.

“I wouldn’t if I were you. Far too many people around to get caught in the cross-fire.” The voice was cold and calculating, just as Ryath remembered.

She quickly calculated that she could safely take both of them out if she did it now. She started to raise her right hand when she felt the man pin her legs down and lean over her. The next second she was trying to shake the ringing from her head, as he had clubbed her across the head with the pulse gun. She tried to move out from under him, and was hit again, harder this time, sending the dim world of the air duct into blackness and quiet.

Copyright (c) 2003 Niki Hipwood. All rights reserved.