Return to Shadows of the Past Chapter Ten

Shadows of the Past

Author: Justin
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Willow & Tara and a lot of other characters from this story belong to Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy. Babylon 5 was created by J. Michael Straczynski.

Willow and Tara lay in bed together. Tara having her arm over Willow, since Willow was still convinced that she was going to slide out at any moment. "So any ideas about what we're going to do next?" Willow asked Tara, "I mean we got nothing from the asteroid and Warren's room didn't turn up anything."

"I guess Tessa is going to have her people checking out Neotech," Tara answered, turning a little so that she could face Willow.

Willow shot up, "Neotech, of course." Rolling off the bed Willow walked over to a terminal grumbling to herself, "I am so stupid to not think of this."

Tara sat up, trying to work out what had happened, "Willow, what is it?"

Pausing briefly Willow turned to answer, "I can access my dad's account on their systems, check them out."

"You can?"

"Yeah, he never changes his codes, I did it all the time when I was younger."

Tara got up and walked over. As she watched Willow working it occurred to her that it might cause problems if anyone noticed that Willow's father was checking into his company's activities. "He won't get in any trouble will he?"

"Not if I do this right." After a few moments Willow said, "I'm in."

"So are you really going to find their plans?"

"Well I don't think that I'll find a memo entitled, 'our plans for galactic domination.' but if I look at their shipping manifests and personnel files I can see where they're active at the moment. By comparing that with their public reports..."

"You can see where they're working covertly."

Willow nodded, "This might take a while."

Tara sat down next to Willow and watched her work.

Once they had found a few places to check Willow shut down her access to the Neotech systems. Copying the data to a data rod she said, "We should get this straight to Tessa."

"Well not straight to her," Tara said, smiling slightly. Willow turned to her looking confused, "Shouldn't we get dressed first?"

"Oh, yes," Willow blushed as she said this.

Once they were dressed they hurried to Tessa's office. As they went in they noticed she had several screens showing information. Her attention was focused on one of them. Sitting down they waited for her to finish.

Finally Tessa turned to them and said, "So, what can I do for you?"

"Yeah, we've been looking into Neotech," Willow started.

"You have? That's a coincidence, so have we."

"Willow found a few places where they're active, but trying to keep that activity secret," Tara said.

"Well that secrecy could just be to keep competitors from knowing what they're doing," Tessa pointed out.

"Well, we thought it might help," Willow said handing over her data rod.

Tessa brought up the data on a screen and glancing at it said, "We're checking out these places al..." She stopped a moment then said, "Except these two."

Willow flashed Tara a smile. "Didn't you know about their operations there?" Willow asked, her voice innocent.

"No we didn't. Well we can take the White star to check them out." Tessa frowned, wondering how they'd missed these two sites,

"Or maybe you can check one of the sites, and we can take my ship to check the other," Willow suggested.

Tessa stared at Willow a while, not seeming to believe what she had just heard, "You're kidding, right?"

"Um..." Willow wasn't sure how to respond.

"I mean we know that they're after you, are you really suggesting blithely going to one of their bases, alone."

"She wouldn't be alone," Tara said.

"Anyway we wouldn't do anything silly," Willow went on, "Just get in there, take a quick scan of the system and then leave without being noticed."

Tessa considered the plan. "Okay then, as long as you promise to be careful."

"I always am," Willow answered, thinking, 'Except for those times that I'm not.'

Once they had left Tessa Willow went to the docking bay to get her ship ready, while Tara went to their quarters to pack some things.

Once Tara had gotten everything she walked to the docking bay. She found Willow in her ship, checking the systems.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Willow asked.

Tara was a bit shocked by the question, there had never been any question in her mind about her going, "What? Don't you want me to come?"

"Well yes, but Tessa's right, it will be dangerous. I mean I'll be careful, but..."

Tara placed her hand on Willow's, "Where you go, so do I."

Willow smiled, "Good. I didn't want to do this without you."

As the ship passed through hyperspace, Willow looked at a control, "Should be a couple of hours till we get there."

"There's something I need to talk to you about, but I'm worried you might think I'm crazy."

"Hey you can trust me."

"I know I can, but even I think it sounds insane. You see I've been seeing dead people."

Willow didn't say anything for a few moments, "Uh, that isn't what I was expecting."

Tara nodded. "It started shortly after I arrived at Babylon 5. I was sitting in the Zen garden when I was approached by a Mimbari, Neroon."

"But Neroon's dead," Willow pointed out.

"Yeah, that was sort of my point."

"Oh, right, of course. Has it happened any other times?"

"Later I saw Lyta Alexander. At the same time I heard a voice that sounded like a Vorlon."

"What did it say?"

"That I was touched by darkness."

"Referring to the implants," Willow guessed.

"I guess so."

"I can look into it if you like."

Tara nodded, "Yes, thanks."

"We're here," Tara said.

"Yeah," Willow said as she opened up a jump point and guided the ship through it. "Let's try to take a look and get out before..." She was interrupted by a loud screaming which cut through their minds, "That happens."

Tara turned to look at the approaching Shadow Vessel, which had appeared in between them and the jump point which they had just left, "There's only one."

"So we've got that going for us."

"I think I can stop it."

"Are you sure? I heard it wasn't too pleasant last time."

Tara just nodded.

"Well you just need to slow it down, let us get far enough away to open up another jump point."

"Okay." Tara turned to the Shadow vessel and concentrated on it. As before she caught hold of it's mind and tried to hold it still, but then everything went wrong. Tara felt a sharp pain at the front of her head, as if there were something drilling through her forehead. She tried to break her connection with the Shadow vessel, but it kept hold of her mind. The pain grew steadily till, crying out, Tara fell to the floor.

Willow quickly moved to catch Tara, "Tara, what is it?" She tried to comfort Tara while mentally controlling the ship. The ship shuddered as a shot from the Shadow vessel grazed its engines. Willow put more power into the main engines. She was relieved to see she was starting to pull ahead, but that relief ended as she mentally checked the ship's status and saw that with the damage to the engines the Shadow vessel would soon catch up. Gazing down at Tara, Willow quickly made up her mind about what she had to do and she programmed a set of instructions into the ships computer. She gently set Tara down on the floor, then kissed her forehead.

Getting up Willow walked over to the escape pod, "Goodbye Tara." With that she hit the eject button. Willow watched from the escape pod as her ship opened up a jump point and entered hyper space. She turned her attention to the shadow vessel as it changed it's course to approach her. "I guess I'll get some answers now."

Continue to Shadows of the Past Chapter Twelve

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