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Transference (Part 1 of 3)

newbie_2u wrote for netgirl_y2k

Title: Transference
Pairing: Susan/Talia
Fandom: Babylon 5
Rating: 15
Season/Spoilers: Season 2 - 5
Acknowledgements: First of all I have to thank chicafrom3, my amazingly talented beta, for coming to my rescue at the last minute so that I could submit a proper story. Somehow she managed to make sense of my wandering tense. Secondly, I am ever so grateful for the Lurker’s Guide to Babylon 5, an invaluable tool for researching everything B5. Last but not least, thanks to femslash_today for their sweet dreams and flying machines ficathon. I enjoyed it so much that 800 words somehow turned into 6,576 words!
Disclaimer: I don’t own them… if I did there would have been kissing and such. This story is not intended for profit but simply to test my ability to create something I am happy with and others enjoy.
Summary: After the devastation of losing Talia, Susan struggles to find meaning in her life. Years have passed and still the pain in her heart is fresh. The heart remembers…

Transference

The process whereby emotions are passed on or displaced from one person to another.

Babylon 5: Decommission and Scuttling - 2281

It was the dawn of the third age of mankind; the Babylon Project was a dream given form. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It was a dangerous place, and it was our last best hope for peace. This is the end of the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2281.

It had been twenty years since Susan Ivanova walked the halls of Babylon 5. Twenty years since the best and worst times of her life.

”Who am I? I am Susan Ivanova. Commander. Daughter of Andrei and Sofie Ivanov. I am the right hand of vengeance, and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth, sweetheart! I am death incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me.”

That bravado had long since been replaced with an inner peace – a constant devotion to duty the only sure thing in her life. Revisiting the station reminded her of a time when she once again allowed someone in, a time when love existed for her. It also brought back the pain of loss associated with that love and the promise she made to herself to never allow anyone else to get that close again.

“General, are you alright?”

Clutching at her chest, Susan willed the pain away as she’d done countless times. “Yes, I’m perfectly fine. Where are the mission reports? I wanted them on my desk as soon as they became available.”

“There’s been a delay in transmitting them. It seems there’s a minor uprising on Earth, some rogue telepaths I believe.”

Wincing slightly at the mention of telepaths, Susan motioned towards the door. “Well, go see if you can expedite the transfer. In the meantime I don’t wish to be disturbed.” As soon as the door closed Susan once again placed a hand over her heart. After all this time I still feel that same pain…

Talia Winters’ Quarters on Babylon 5 - 2259

“I wanted to see you before you left. I know this isn’t your fault, and I hope somewhere there’s a part of you that can still hear me?”

“Always the romantic. The program is complete; the Talia you knew no longer exists. There’s just me,” the blonde intoned coldly as she sauntered over to the devastated woman.

“You don’t know what it’s like, living only in the shadows of her mind, watching, laughing at all of you out here. Foolish, petty, stupid. There I was, trapped inside, able to come out only at night when she was asleep. Her invisible sister.” Talia was almost upon her now and it was all Susan could do not to flinch at the coldness in those beautiful blue eyes.

“And you believed everything she said to you. All the things you wanted to hear. All the words I whispered in her thoughts while she lay sleeping. The words that would get her closer to you and to what you knew.“ Long, strong fingers caressed the brunette’s cheek, sliding down her neck and over her shoulder, coming to rest over her heart.

“You should see the look on your face, my good, and dear, friend Susan.” And with those words Susan felt a searing heat permeating her chest, emanating from Talia’s hand. She pushed away from the blonde and looked up, hand over her aching heart, right into eyes so cold she shivered.

“You’re right. The Talia I knew is dead. Goodbye. ” Turning on her heel Susan retreated – ran from the pain of seeing this woman, one she trusted who knew her so well. She ran, clutching at her chest as if it were about to burst open. She ran, ran until she could run no more, and found herself in the garden. In the garden, under the tree – our favorite spot…

The Garden on Babylon 5 - 2259

“Oh, Susan, you can’t be serious!” a laughing blonde said between gasps for breath. “Are you telling me that you kicked Garibaldi in the head – accidentally – just because he commented on my figure?”

“Well, actually,” Susan chuckled, “he, um, commented on a certain part of your anatomy. But when he bent over to get a better look at that particular asset, I got a little crick in my leg.”

“Defending my honor Commander?”

“Actually I was defending your honor as well as my turf.” A well-groomed brunette eyebrow rose toward an equally brunette hairline.

“Your turf, huh. I’m not sure how I feel about being considered your turf Commander.”

“Well, Miss Winters,” Susan leaned in close and whispered, “I may not have conquered the territory yet, but I am staking my claim.” Feeling the reaction her whisper caused Susan placed her lips at the pulse point of Talia’s throat. Feeling the increase in blood flow against her lips she opened her mouth and bit down lightly and then soothed the bite with her tongue.

* CHIRP *

“No, no, no, no…” Lifting her hand toward her mouth Susan took a calming breath before activating the com link. “Ivanova here.”

Transport Shuttle on course for Minbar - 2282

“General, we are approximately 2 hours from making port on Minbar. President Delenn has requested your presence upon arrival.”

A tired looking and somber Susan Ivanova looked up and nodded at the attendant. “Thank you. Just make sure my belongings are transferred to my quarters. I do not want to return this evening and find anything is missing.”

“Of course General, I’ll see to it personally.” Giving a crisp salute, the attendant turned away and saw to the arrangements.

And so another chapter begins as another ends… from Earth Force General to Commander of the Rangers. A desk job! I am tired, it’s time to take it easy and enjoy what’s left of this so-called life of mine. It will be good to see Delenn again.

As Susan drifted off, her thoughts turned to the time when she began to become disillusioned with Earth Force.

"The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven." - John Milton

Babylon 5 - 2261

“It was the year of fire… the year of destruction… the year we took back what was ours. It was the year of rebirth… the year of great sadness… the year of pain… and the year of joy. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed.”

There she was, in the "hour of the wolf." It was that 3-4 o'clock in the morning time when fears and regrets and worries seized her mind so she couldn't sleep. It was where she dwelt on everything that had happened that past year.

It all started when the Captain went to Z'ha'dum. They tried to rescue him and failed, and they were forced to admit that he was most likely dead. As 2IC it fell to Ivanova to take over command of the station. She should have been thrilled to have command, but instead she stalked the station lost in another world and spent countless sleepless nights regretting the circumstances that brought her there.

She tried to talk members of the League into an attack on Z'ha'dum in the Shadows' hour of weakness, or at the very least, to convince them not to abandon the defense of Babylon 5. The League thought all they wanted was to get their Captain back, and although that was true, they also wanted to safeguard the future of Babylon 5 and all the races that looked to her as a safe haven. Their refusal would not stop Ivanova, even Vir’s intelligence report of the Captain’s actions on Z'ha'dum and his final, presumably fatal, plunge would not keep her from a rescue attempt. She would not lose hope.

But now there was hope, or at least a plan for action. If Lyta and Ivanova took the new White Star to Z'ha'dum, she could scan for Sheridan's signal while Lyta blocked the Shadows and scanned for the piece of Kosh still alive in him. With Delenn and Lennier, aboard they hopped out of hyperspace near Z'ha'dum.

They failed in the mission… the captain did not respond, but something else did. The Eye appeared and mesmerized them all. Ivanova ordered the ship down to the planet, but the White Star flipped around instead and jumped into hyperspace. Lennier had set a failsafe to escape in case he was unable to hit a trigger once every two minutes. They snapped out of it, but they were all deeply moved. The Eye spoke to them in the voices of their fathers.

Back on the station Susan was distraught, she needed to vent and so she decided to make an entry in her personal log. Biting back tears she finally admitted that the captain was dead and now she must continue his work. She needed some help, and she knew just where to find it.

She came to Delenn to request a favor, she wanted to borrow a White Star ship to go in search of First Ones like the ones found at Sigma 957 in hopes that they might assist in the mission against Z'ha'dum.

Marcus and Ivanova were having no success in their search, which was no wonder considering that they were relying on wild stories that travelers had told of godlike beings or ancient civilizations. So far, they all led only to dead ends.

With a couple of hours to kill, Marcus asked Susan about her plans if she lived through this war. This was something she’d begun thinking about, if for no other reason then just to help her believe she would survive. She told him she wanted to return home, travel some, pay her respects to her dead father, but there was no one special waiting. As those words left her mouth she felt the now-familiar tightening in her chest, Talia. Marcus had someone special, he said, but she didn't know it yet. He'd never actually had relations with a woman, it turned out.

"I thought First Ones were rare," Susan muttered. Just then, the ship's controls picked up some odd signals which appeared to indicate a pocket in hyperspace hidden by a distortion field. They switched course to investigate. As they entered the pocket, they could see from the forward windows a vast fleet including some absolutely enormous ships. The smaller vessels shooting around the edges revealed that this was a Vorlon fleet on the move.

Jumping into B5 space, she returned to the station and ordered an immediate meeting with Lyta Alexander and a thorough scan of sector 70x10x53.

The huge birdlike ship exited the jump gate and initiated docking procedures without the station's approval. Ivanova ordered a security red alert.

Meanwhile…

From a catwalk above the Zocolo, the Drazi leader began to stir up the crowd with anti-Minbari rhetoric.

The crowd in the Zocalo began to grow more rowdy as the Drazi continues. He claimed that they would all be destroyed if anyone attacked Z'ha'dum, just as Sheridan was. To the astonishment of them all, the dead man himself stepped up onto their platform.

"Captain. We're sorry. We thought you were dead."

"I was. I'm better now," Sheridan said ironically.

The Captain began to address the crowd. No more hesitation. They must assemble the greatest fleet in the history of the galaxy. The only man to have survived Z'ha'dum called on them and their governments to end this war once and forever, not just until next time. The crowd cheered their support.

Delenn rushed to his side, and as they embraced, John promised never to leave her again.

Susan still couldn’t believe he was alive! But her joy had to be set aside for now, there was a feeling of darkness and dread surrounding her as she rushed to find the telepath.

She found Lyta collapsed in her quarters. "You know, don't you," Lyta said. "It's started."

The war council gathered in Sheridan's office for a briefing. He explained what he had learned about the Vorlon and Shadow objectives, and how the balance between them had been lost.

Ivanova entered with Marcus and Lyta, but the joy of reunion was quickly overshadowed by the report of the vast Vorlon fleet followed by the telepath's news. To everyone's horror it appeared that fleet has just destroyed an inhabited planet because it had harbored a Shadow force. The Vorlons had decided that it was time to destroy everything that had been touched by the Shadows. Now the Army of Light had to stop both the Shadows and the Vorlons if anyone hoped to survive this struggle.

Meanwhile, the Vorlon planet-killer ship cruised towards its next target.

Clark and his cronies continued to turn the people against them, making them appear to be traitors when truth be told they were the ones conspiring with the Shadows and Psi-Corps. Things got considerably worse when an ISN report full of twisted versions of the truth, and a large dose of lies, was broadcast to the galaxy at large. A new battlefield was drawn and Captain Sheridan knew just who would lead that attack.

"You have a face people trust," he said. “When you were giving status reports during the war, you provided everyone with solid, reliable information. Now it's time to do it again, but on a larger scale.” This time, the War Room would become the Voice of the Resistance, broadcasting live to ships, to colonies, and to Earth, competing directly with ISN for ownership of the truth.

There was a brief flash of static, and then a test pattern appeared on the screen, followed by Ivanova's face, in the war room.

"This is Commander Susan Ivanova of Babylon 5, and this is the first official broadcast of the new Voice of the Resistance. We're sending this signal out to every ship that wants to hear the truth, to our fallen comrades and freedom fighters on Mars and Proxima III, and to Earth, which, despite what you may have heard, is still our home, and still the one dream that we're as loyal to now as we ever have been. Over the last three years, ever since President Clark took over, after arranging the assassination of President Santiago, you have been hearing nothing but misinformation, propaganda, and outright lies. Now, we're going to tell you the truth. And we're going to keep telling it until they shut us down, or until President Clark steps down and returns Earth to the hands of its people. You can kill us. You can bomb our colonies, destroy our ships, murder innocent civilians. But you cannot kill the truth. And the truth is back in business."

"Commander's Personal Log. We're still searching for First Ones to use in our war with the Vorlons and the Shadows. There's less than twenty-four hours left before everything hits the fan. We can't afford to waste any more time. We have to get back to Babylon 5 and catch up with the fleet."

And so began the battle of their lives against unbelievable odds – EarthGov, Psi-Corp, the Shadows, and now the Vorlons. In the rare few moments of private time Susan had she found herself wondering about her, about where she was. She didn’t believe she was dissected like Bester said, she wouldn’t believe that. My Talia… every time she thought of her, her heart ached.

Hatred is associated with stupidity, forgiveness is associated with pragmatism, and wisdom follows conflict.

Continued