Garibaldi led them out of the room into another one, where a pair of rangers were waiting. Garibaldi said to them, "I want you to guard the prisoner."
They both nodded and left.
Garibaldi turned back to Willow and Tara, "Now we should see about getting you both out of..."
"Wait!" Tara gasped.
Seeing the worried expression on Tara's face Willow asked, "What's wrong?"
"We need to get moving. There's still some fighting going on," Garibaldi said.
"We need to go this way," Tara said. Without waiting for any argument she started moving, with Willow following a short distance behind.
"But..." Realising that no one was listening to him he hurried after them both.
After going down a couple of corridors they came to a large chamber. It was filled with large glass pods containing small black shapes. Some were tiny and barely formed whilst others were starting to resemble small shadow vessels.
"What the hell is this?" Garibaldi asked.
"A nursery," Tara answered, as she walked through the room, not paying much attention to the pods.
"That man said they were already growing more shadow vessels." Willow added.
"There looks to be at least a hundred," Garibaldi said, "This is bad."
"It gets worse." Tara led them to a door at the end of the chamber, going through they came to a balcony running around an even larger cavern which extended a long way above and below them. In the middle there was a black mass which had pipes running to it from the walls.
"Please tell me that isn't what I think it is," Garibaldi said.
"It's a planet killer," Willow said.
"I said tell me it isn't"
"You said the Excalibur was in orbit?" Willow asked.
"Good, I think we're going to need it." Willow turned to Tara, who was looking at the ship with an expression of horror, "Come on, we need to get out of here."
Tara nodded, and let Willow lead her away.
As they got close to the docking bay they came across the Rangers carrying a stretcher, which had a body bag on it.
"What happened?" Garibaldi asked.
"The prisoner tried to escape," One of the Rangers answered.
"Okay carry on."
When they got to the docking bay Garibaldi took a Starfury up to the Excalibur, whilst Willow and Tara took Willow's ship up to the Whitestar. They were greeted by Tessa as soon as they boarded, "I hear you had an interesting encounter."
"Yeah, that planet killer gave me the creeps." Willow shuddered, "After having being inside one of their command ships I don't want to go anywhere near that thing."
"Actually I was referring to my predecessor. Well that planet killer is something we will have to deal with. I wonder if Neotech would actually have used it."
While they were talking they made their way to the bridge. As they arrived someone said, "Everyone's been evacuated from the surface and the Excalibur is in position."
Beams of light fired from the tips of the Excalibur's three wings, they converged at the front of the ship where they merged to form one beam which fired down at the planet. They could see a burst of light where the beam hit the surface.
"Well hopefully that's the end of that," Tessa said.
"This has been quite a week," Willow said as they returned to their quarters, "I mean I came back from the rim I thought I'd just catch up with my friends and then see if my dad could help me get a job somewhere. I never expected to get caught up in an interstella conspiracy and be fighting an ancient alien race."
"You think you've got it bad, I thought I was just going to Babylon 5 I thought it'd just be to act as an intermediary for some boring business deal, not that I'd be doing any of those things." Tara smiled, "Of course I also didn't know that I'd meet the love of my life."
"That is a plus," Willow said. Then frowning she asked, "You do mean me, right?"
Tara laughed then kissed Willow, "Of course."
"Well as long as nothing goes wrong, things should be a lot more peaceful now." Seeing the look of horror on Tara's face she asked, "What's wrong?"
"The jinx! You just jinxed us."
"Oops. I didn't mean it. Isn't there some way I can take it back."
Tara shook her head, "We're just going to have to live with the consequences."
"I'm sure we'll be able to handle it. Speaking of which I couldn't help notice you're pretty good in a fight. I mean those three guards didn't really stand a chance."
"Oh well there's a reason for that. You remember I said I was mugged, or at least I thought that I had been."
Willow nodded, "Yeah."
"Well after I woke up, I became rather paranoid. I was afraid to leave my apartment, afraid that it'd happen again. After a couple of weeks though I realised it was silly to keep hiding from the world and I needed to deal with my fears. So I started taking self defence lessens. That was where I met Faith. She helped me with my training and after she became a ranger she showed me some Mimbari techniques."
"Such as how to use one of those fighting sticks. She sounds like a good friend."
Tara nodded, "Yes. I mean she can be a bit... aggressive for some people but she's a good person."
"I wonder what we're going to do now this is all over?" Willow asked.
"I don't know, we should probably discuss it with Tessa tomorrow."
Early the next day Tessa, Willow and Tara took a shuttle across to the Excalibur. As captain Gideon greeted them Willow asked, "Is Galen on board?"
Gideon shook his head, "He left a couple of weeks ago. We haven't had any word from him since then."
"Oh," Willow said, looking disappointed.
"Is he a friend of yours?" Tara asked.
"More a mentor. He helped to train me to become a Tech mage."
Captain Gideon led them into the briefing room. Once in their he said, "Investigators have spoken to a number of people from Neotech. Several directors have confessed to being involved. They all say the same thing, they were working alone and Morganson had nothing to do with it."
"So once again he gets away with it."
Well we'll know to keep an eye on him," Garibaldi pointed out.
"I've had some people keeping an eye on him since I took over from you, the problem is he's very good at getting people to take the blame for him."
"He's an ideologue," Willow said. As everyone turned to her she went on, "They're not taking the fall for him, they're doing it for the ideals he espouses."
"Probably right. So have we got all the Shadow technology they had access to."
"We can question the people who confessed, see if there's any other facilities."
"I'd suggest using a high level telepath when you do."
"Anything we find, won't be admissible in court," Gideon pointed out.
"I'm not so much worried about any trial as I am that they'll show up one day with a couple of fully formed planet killers."
"So there's just the question of why they were so interested in Willow," Tessa said.
"The people we questioned about it all say it was just a private thing between Birkins and his compatriots," Garibaldi answered.
"So he took it to the grave with him. Maybe that's why he tried to get away, he was worried what would happen if he told us anything so he forced them to kill him."
The meeting went on for a while after this but nothing new was revealed.
After they'd taken the shuttle back to the Whitestar Tessa said to Tara, "Can I have a word with you?"
"Sure," Tara answered, turning to Willow she said, "I'll meet up with up..."
She stopped as a ranger approached them saying, "There's a call from the president, for Miss Rosenberg."
For a moment Willow didn't know what to say. Finally she said, "Right, I'll take it now."
Tara followed Tessa into her office then waited as Tessa went through some papers. Finally she looked up, "You were taking quite a risk today. Both when you went after that Shadow vessel, and then when you went to the planet rather than returning here."
"Well we wanted to get there, before they could destroy the tech. Willow... We thought we could use it to help find a cure for the plague."
"Well that is commendable but didn't you think we could handle that?"
"Yes well the Whitestar was damaged and... it seemed like a good idea at the time."
"Ah that defence. Do you know G'kar?" Seeing Tara didn't understand she went on, "It doesn't matter. The thing is you'll need to learn to think more about these things if you want to work for me full time."
Tara considered this a moment, "So the whole you telling me off thing was just your way of offering me a job?"
"Do you treat all your new recruits like this?"
"That's nothing, you should see how I treat my ex-boyfriends. So what do you say?"
"I'd love to."
When Tara got to their quarters she asked Willow, "So what did the president want?"
"He wants me to work with the medical team looking for a cure for the plague."
"That's great." Tara started, stopping as she realised that he might want Willow to be working on Minbar, or possibly the Excalibur, "Uh, where will you be working?"
"Well they said I can work anywhere, but they'd prefer me to work from Babylon 5. What about you, what are your plans?"
"Tessa's offered me a permanent job working for the intelligence agency."
"Well you should be good at that, seeing as you're so intelligent."
"There's the matter of living arrangements," Tara went on, "It's probably a bit early to be living together, it's only been a couple of weeks."
"Is that all? It seems like longer. You're right. That would be a big step. Though we will be living together, we'll be on the same station."
"We'll probably end up spending all our time staying at each others quarters."
"Speaking of which, when we get back, will it be your quarters or mine?"
"Yours, they're nicer."
After getting back to the station Tara went back to her quarters to pick up some things. She was on the way when she heard a voice in her head, "You think this is all over, but the truth is, it's only just beginning."
Spinning round she saw a man staring at her. He had long hair and an intense expression. Turning he walked away.
Tara's link sounded. Lifting it to her mouth she said, "Yes?"
"Tara," Willow said, "Did something strange just happen?"
"You could say that."
When Tara reached Willow's quarters Willow greeted her by asking, "Do you know what happened to Babylon Four?"
For a moment Tara was a bit taken aback by the question. She answered, "It disappeared soon after it was brought online. No one know what happened to it."
"Actually it was sent a thousand years back in time to be used by the Minbari as a base in a previous Shadow war."
"Oh, I didn't know that," Tara looked confused as she said this.
"You're probably wondering how that's relevant. Well some sort of temporal disturbance was left behind afterwards. Lately they've been picking up tachyon emissions from it. They seem to coincide with when you've been seeing dead people."
"So it's these tachyon emissions? They're letting me see the past?"
"I'm not sure, I mean these people are interacting with you. There are philosophies which say that people leave traces of themselves behind whereever they go. Maybe these tachyon emissions are letting you interact with these traces."
"The person I saw said that this isn't over, that it's barely begun."
"Well I figured that. I mean we don't know why the Shadows and everyone else is so interested in us."
"The Shadows were only interested in you, they just wanted me dead."
"I've been thinking about that, I think they knew they'd have to put me in one of their ships, do the whole mind wipe thing to get me to cooperate. I think they also knew that you'd be able to save me."
"So that's why they wanted me killed."
"Yes, I think it's that connection between us, that makes us important."
"Well we don't really have enough to go on at the moment. Maybe we should leave discussing this till we know what we're discussing."
Willow nodded, "True." She smiled, "Actually I know a more pressing subject. It's my birthday next week."
"I guess it'll be time for the yearly call from my parents. I'd like to tell them about you, that we're an item."
"I mean, are we?"
"I wouldn't have done that stuff to you last night if we weren't."
Willow smiled, "Good."
As Tara got into bed next to Willow her mind went back to what Willow had just said. Trying to work out what to get Willow for her birthday. A smile formed on her face as she thought of something. The only problem was, how was she going to get Strawberries delivered to Babylon Five?