Tessa Holloran, the head of intelligence for the Interstellar Alliance, switched off her computer and sat back in her chair with a groan. When she had given up her position in the Mars government seven years ago she had hoped that being head of intelligence would involve less paperwork. The opposite had turned out to be the case and with each passing year the amount of paperwork seemed to increase. She was tempted to go back to the Mars government. Actually she was really tempted to restart the Mars resistance. Since Mars had been made independent she wasn't sure what she'd be resisting again but knew she'd be able to come up with something. Putting these thoughts aside Tessa looked at her schedule. She noticed that in the following days she'd be holding meetings the ambassador for some of the smaller governments. She had put it out of her mind because she never enjoyed this. Partly due to the fact that she'd have to work with a telepath, something that she was always wary of. Turning her computer back on she asked for a list of telepaths on the station. Most of them were busy but there was one who was available, a Tara Maclay.
Hyperspace was a vast expanse of energy. Filled with shifting currents and eddies which would, if it weren't for the beacons places at strategic points, make it impossible to navigate. The Earth force ship Callisto was currently travelling through it. In the cockpit Buffy Summers flicked a couple of switches and said, "Can't this heap go any faster?"
"Hey what's the hurry?" One of her two companions, Graham, asked.
"I just want to get back, we've been out in space far too long."
Graham turned to the man next to him and asked, "Hey, how does Buffy screw in a light bulb?"
"I don't know, how?" Alan asked.
"She just holds it completely still and the universe revolves around her."
"You know I could have been assigned to the Excalibur," Buffy complained, "But nooo, I had to end up here with you two jokers."
Graham laughed at this, "You couldn't have been assigned to the Excalibur."
Buffy sighed, "Do you know where we are? I mean if we were to leave hyperspace?"
They both shook their heads.
"Z'Ha Dum," Buffy's voice was onimous.
"So?" Graham asked, "The Shadows left years ago, and Z'Ha Dum is just rubble now."
"There's a ship approaching," Alan imterrupted, "Oh shit."
"What is it?" Getting no answer Buffy asked again, "What is it?"
"Remember how I said the Shadows had left?" Graham said, "It seems no one told this one."
Buffy looked back through the rear porthole and saw the black form of a Shadow vessel.
"So the question is," Graham went on, "is this one that got left behind or..."
"Have they come back," Buffy finished. "Come on we've got to get back, warn the others." She quickly activated the port engines, dodging a laser blast from the approaching ship.
Tara got back to her quarters and gave a groan of frustration. She had gotten to the meeting only to be told that the interviews had been rescheduled and that she wouldn't be needed. The whole trip to Babylon 5 had been a waste of time. She smiled a little as it occurred to her that it needn't be a total waste, after all Babylon 5 was supposed to have a lot of interesting shops. She was just about to leave when the com unit started sounding. Tara was tempted to ignore it, but instead decided to answer.
"Hello," Tara said, not recognising the woman who had appeared on the screen.
"I'm Tessa Holloran, I'm in charge of intelligence for the Interstellar Alliance. I'm calling you regarding a job opening."
"You want to hire me?"
"That's correct, I have a meeting now, can you be at my office in, say, an hour?"
"Certainly." As the screen went blank Tara decided she still had time to do a bit of shopping.
Willow was wondering absently round the shops. So far she hadn't found anything that interested her. All she had to show for her trip was the attempted mugging from the day before. Willow was just picking up a trinket when she spotted a woman haggling with one of the vendors. It wasn't just that this woman was the most beautiful that Willow had ever seen that made Willow stop, but somehow she felt a connection with her. Willow watched as the woman finished the transaction and started to leave.
"Are you going to buy that?" The vendor asked.
"Uh no." Willow put the trinket down and started after the woman. She went round of a corner but there was no sign of the woman. She hurried to the next turning and going round, she almost ran into the woman, who was waiting there for her.
"You're following me," The woman stated, looking annoyed, "Why?"
Willow shrugged, "I just wanted to get your name, and maybe ask you out on a date."
"Do you do this often?"
"Uh, would you believe this is the first time?"
Without answering the woman turned and walked to the lift.
Starting after her Willow called, "Wait, I'm Willow Rosenberg."
For a moment it didn't seem as though the woman was going to answer, but, just as the doors were closing she said, "Tara Maclay."
After leaving her purchases back in her room Tara went to her meeting with Tessa Holloran. All the while she couldn't stop thinking about the woman who had come after her. A part of her was flattered that such an attractive woman would be interested in her, but most of her couldn't understand the reason for the interest. She suspected that it was all an elaborate joke, or maybe something worse.
When Tara arrived at Tessa's office she was reading a report. She motioned for Tara to sit down, then went back to the report. Tara sat down and waited nervously for Tessa to finish with the report. After what seemed like an eternity Tessa finally put the report down and looked at Tara. She stared at Tara a few moments before saying, "As part of my work it's necessary to do considerable work with the ambassadors on this station. Negotiating access for the rangers to their space and also to any information they might have."
"I thought everyone agreed to cooperate fully with the alliance when they joined up."
"I see you've been following the news. Well while what you say is true for the major members, some of the smaller members have demanded the right to renegotiate the terms every couple of years. It helps to feel more important."
"So you need a telepath to make sure that they're being honest?"
"Good guess. The work isn't too hard, you being there is really just a formality. Most people know it's in their best interests to deal honestly with the Alliance."
Tara nodded, "This sounds like the work I normally do."
"Yes, I looked at your record. So will you be able to start the day after tomorrow?"
Standing up Tessa shook Tara's hand, "Well then I'll see you then."
Tara walked through the Zocholo, making her way to one of the restaurants. Her mind still on the meeting. She was pleased about this opportunity since it meant her trip out to Babylon 5 wasn't completely wasted, and also it would help her get work in the future. Being only a P3 meant she had trouble getting work sometimes. Tara was so preoccupied that she didn't notice the man coming the other way and she knocked his shoulder. She turned to apologise when she sensed that he was worried about something. Something that was happening at the rim.
"Sorry," The man said, "I was preoccupied."
"That's okay," Tara replied with a smile. As she turned to walk away she overheard a word in his mind, "Z'Ha Dum"
Warren returned to his quarters in a growing state of panic. Soon his employers would be contacting him to find out what happened with the Rosenberg girl. He had a feeling that saying that he didn't know she was a techno mage would do him much good. He was still trying to figure out how to buy himself some time when noticed that there was a message waiting for him. Playing it he saw it was a text message saying, "Have you checked your bank account lately?" Not sure what was going on he did so. He started to feel ill as he saw that all his money had been transferred to various charities. He saw there was another message. This one said, "Do not interfere with wizards, for their ways are subtle and they are quick to anger."
As Warren worked out what was going on he hit the control panel, "That Bitch. Oh, she's going to pay for this, she's going to..." He stopped as the computer told him there was a call coming in.