When the sun began to set near the mountain ranges of Tuzanor, Darquin forced himself out of Yoshino’s bed, washed, and packed his things. Except for the Isla’zha brooch and his fighting pike, he left his Ranger uniform behind.
Yoshino stored his few remaining possessions, including his data crystal collection, in her quarters while he strapped a PPG holster to his ankle. “Eddie-san and the rest of the band will be pleased to know you’ll be taking the guitar with you.”
“Sure, it’ll help my cover.” Darquin slipped on his leather jacket. “And I’ll have plenty of time for practice.”
“Your music player won’t seem out of place?” She handed it to him.
“Nah, it– thank you. Musicians use ’em all the time. Really fancy ones have multi-track isolation filters, so you can mask out certain instruments and study the bass line or the lead guitar. This one can’t, but nobody else needs to know that.”
They shared a clandestine grin when the comlink on the back of his hand began to hum. Yoshino checked his datapad. “A message from White Star 39.”
Darquin read it, then slid it into his backpack. “Her captain’s agreed to take me as far as the Cargan system.”
“Well into Centauri space,” Yoshino nodded. “That will shorten your travel time quite a lot.”
“Yeah, they’re leaving in 20 minutes.”
“Do you have Mira’s Isil’zha?”
“Packed away in the guitar case.”
“Inside my guitar kit. Fanciest guitar slide ever.”
While she laughed behind her pale hand, he took a moment to memorize her, absorbing the music of her voice and the heat of her presence. “Right, let’s make this last.”
She embraced him, chuckling. They latched onto each other, desperate and hard. They kissed long and slow, savoring and mourning.
“See you in a few weeks, Marina-chan.”
She grinned. “A safe journey, Tombo-chan.”
Darquin smirked at her, bemused. The nickname was going to stick, no matter what he thought.
He left their quarters on the Ranger compound, headed for a Minbari two-seat flyer down into the city, where he later boarded the White Star 39 on an ancient launch pad.
Contemplating the lingering scents and fading warmth in their quarters, Marina Yoshino put on her Ranger uniform and went to work. She boarded a trans-orbital shuttle to the private Anla’shok drydocks high above the city. Upon entering the observation tower standing over the scarred vessel in her charge, she signed in as the acting Commanding Officer of the ISA Phoenix.
And she thought: Even this will get better with work… and time.
ISA Phoenix: “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You” © 2009 Joe Medina
Babylon 5 ™ and © 2009 Warner Bros.