John smiled as Susan led him through the doors. She seemed to be working very hard to show off her station to him, "And this will be your quarters. I hope it's satisfactory"
"Fine," John looked at the cavernous space, "fine. Certainly a lot bigger than what I'm used to," a wonderful thought popped into his head, "does this place come with a shower? I mean a real, live, honest to god shower with running water and everything?" It had been two years since his last real shower rather than a vibe shower. Vibe showers killed all the bacteria but they somehow were never as good as the real thing.
Susan nodded, "The executive suites and command quarters all have showers with real live honest to god water. The rest get vibe showers our water reclamation system can't handle much more than that."
John grunted in approval, "A shower. I may come to like it here."
"Which brings me to something I've been wanting to ask you. It's, uh" she stumbled over the words in an effort to be discreet, "Kind of awkward."
"You've never been worried about being diplomatic before. Don't disappoint me by starting now," John still remembered the young officer who broke a man's arm for pinching her. The dockworker had been so embarrassed to be beaten by a woman he didn't even press charges.
"When I heard about the change in command I figured we'd get stuck with some high level bureaucrat or an admiral or an ambassador and…" Susan trailed off.
"And why me?" He nodded. John had been expecting this question sooner or later.
Susan smiled embarrassedly.
John's tone was friendly and understanding, "I wondered the same thing. Apparently I was the late presidents first choice to replace Sinclair in case anything happened to him. While commanding the Agamemnon I worked with many of the Non-Aligned Worlds, Centauri, Narns," John looked at his feet, "even a few Mimbari."
"That's what I was concerned about. I mean the Mimbari aren't exactly going to be thrilled to find out you're running Babylon 5," she played about with the interlink on her hand, "I hear they still call you the star killer."
"That was a long time ago, twelve years," John said in an entirely unconvincing tone, "Maybe they've forgotten about it by now."
Susan looked in disbelief. John chuckled, "Yeah I know. I don't believe it either. Well one thing for sure. I'll be relying on you pretty heavily these next few weeks." He sat down his desk. The chair was surprisingly comfortable, "Till I'm up to speed."
"Well it certainly couldn't be any worse than the last week. What with President Santiago's death and everything else," Susan's voice darkened. The death of Santiago was not at easy subject for Earthforce personnel.
"How's the crew handling it?" John queried.
"They're still pretty shocked. I don't think the reality of it has quite sunk in yet."
Susan stood up, walked to the middle of the room, and sat down opposite John. She looked surprisingly frail, "I don't know. It's just. I just keep seeing Earth Force One blowing up, over and over and over again in my dreams. I mean all my life I thought that I could handle everything, fix any problem," her face twitched, "When I saw that I just realized I couldn't do anything to stop it," she swallowed deeply to clear her throat, "I don't think I've ever felt so helpless."
"I know," John's voice softened, "I felt the same way."
"Ever since then the crew's needed me to be strong for them. And I've tried. I don't like to show weakness." Susan looked down, "I guess I get that from my father. But with the added madness of trying to run this place and the commander being called back to Earth and the Ambassadors yelling and carrying on."
John nodded in agreement. Susan continued, "I don't know I just hope I've done ok by them. Lets just say I'm very happy to see you."
"I appreciate that," John smiled, "And coming from you it means a lot."
"I should also mention that the crew is really looking forwards to meeting you. They've heard all about you and I think right about now they could all use something to smile about," Sheridan was very grateful that Susan already knew and liked him. It would save him the trouble of breaking in his second in command.
"Then I won't keep them waiting," Sheridan stood up and brushed off his lap, "I'll just grab a fast shower, we'll head up to Command and Control and I'll give them my good luck speech."
"Sir?" Sheridan smiled. Susan hadn't been there to hear him give it at the Io Station after all so she wouldn't have heard it before. Fantastic, it meant he had another person to hear it with fresh ears.
"It's the same speech I gave them when I took command on Io, on the Agamemnon, it's sort of my, uh, good luck charm," Sheridan chuckled "I always give it within twenty four hours of taking on a new assignment."
"Then I look forward to hearing it," Susan checked her watch, "Would you mind if I went to C and C I have to take care of."
"Oh of course, I'll see you there in twenty minutes."
"In Valen's name!" Hedronn's eyes widened in shock. Kalain couldn't be onboard an Earther station could he? It was insane.
"Kalain?" He yelled "Kalain! Wait!" He followed the warrior cast member round the corner. Strong hands grabbed him and held him by the throat, a three pronged claw pressed up against the main vein of his neck. He swallowed and said, "We do not harm our own kind. We never have."
"Perhaps it is time to start," grunted the deep voice of Kalain in a tone of utter scorn, "The Grey Council has betrayed us why should that matter now?"
"No one has been betrayed," Kalain did not know the truth. He could not know the terrible truth. There had been no betrayal at the battle of the line but to tell the truth was to undo the fabric of Mimbari society.
"No! No lies," spat out Kalain, "We have intercepted a message from the Humans to Mimbar. We know they have chosen Sheridan the Star Killer to lead this place. It is an obscenity."
"We protested," Hedronn gritted his teeth, "They ignored us."
"Satai Delenn, did she also ignore you?" Kalain chuckled.
Hedronn froze, briefly forgetting the claw at his throat, "What do you know?"
"We have supporters even among the council. They tell us that Sinclair is now on our world," Kalain's lip curled in distaste at the human's name.
"He is an Ambassador."
"So you say. But the Grey Council never tells anyone the whole truth. Does it? If you value your life leave now" he shoved Hedronn away and ran, "While you still can."