The IPX exploration vehicle Columbus was, like most Earth ships, ugly. However that didn't stop it from being able to do its job, which was placing long range communications buoys, which enabled IPX's deep space probes to communicate with their base. On board Captain Ramsay did some checks before saying to his partner, "We're almost at the coordinates."
The other man, James started flicking some switches on the control panel. "Getting buoy ready to launch."
"Okay launch on my..." The captain stopped as an alarm sounded. "There's another ship approaching."
"They're a long way from home."
Ramsay grinned at this, "So are we. Okay I'm getting the telemetry on the ship." When the data came up he thought it must be mistaken, so he redid the scan. It came back with the same results. "That isn't possible."
They were the last words he would ever say.
"Space ship Hecate you are clear to dock."
Willow activated the comm system, "Thank you Babylon Control." She activated the docking systems then went back to the book she had been reading. She was so engrossed in the book that she almost didn't notice the fact that the ship had docked. Sighing she put the book down and left the ship. The docking bay was just as she had pictured it. It was full of people of various races bustling about, either heading in or out of the station. Willow made her way to one of the bored looking guards and handed over her ID.
As the guard put the ID into her scanner she said, "Are you here for business or pleasure?"
Willow smiled, in what she hoped was a friendly fashion, "A little from column A, a little from column B."
"It's been a while since you've been to an Earth station."
"Oh, well I've been spending a lot of time traveling around alien worlds, getting a bit of culture. Not that humans aren't cultured, but I just mean I wanted see other cultures, so I've been spending a lot of time travelling around alien worlds, exploring and stuff and what was the question again?"
The guard handed Willow her pass back, "Welcome to Babylon 5."
A short distance away a man was watching the exchange from the shadows. Activating his com unit he raised it to his mouth and said, "This is Warren, the target has been sighted."
Tara was walking down a corridor of an IPX building. There were people going either way, but they didn't seem to notice her. Tara stopped as she recognised the woman up ahead. "Mom?"
Not seeming to hear her the woman said to the man she was walking with, "So what's this job again?"
"Oh, one of the archeologists wants me to look at some artifact she's found." He glanced at his computer pad before saying, "Anna Sheridan. Apparently this artifact has some organic components and she thinks I might be able to find something out about it."
"Well good luck."
"Thanks. Well I better get going."
Tara suddenly realised where she was, when she was. Running forwards she shouted, "Mom, you've got to stop him. That artifact is a weapon. Mom, Mom!" Tara stopped as she realised that everyone had disappeared. Then she heard a strange buzzing sound. Looking round she tried to work out where it was coming from. "Hello, is there anyone there?" The buzzing stopped, but was replaced by a loud screaming sound. Tara held her head and cried with pain.
Tara woke up with a gasp. Looking round she saw she was on a shuttle. The woman sitting next to her looked over and asked, "Are you okay dear? You seemed to be having a bad dream."
"Yes, I'm fine, thanks." Tara tried to work out why she was having that dream again. Several years ago she had been attacked and had been in a coma for a couple of years. After waking up she had had that dream quite often, but it had faded away and she hadn't had it again until now.
Warren turned a corner and gave a small gasp of horror as he realised that Willow had disappeared. He ran down to the next intersection and tried to see which way she had gone. He stopped as a voice said, "Are you looking for me?" Warren turned to see Willow watching him with a bemused expression on her face. She raised her hand to give a small wave before saying, "Hi."
Warren raised his PPG saying, "This isn't personal."
"You don't want to do that."
Warren fired the PPG. Willow waved her hand and the PPG blast was deflected into the wall. "What the hell are you?"
Instead of answering Willow disappeared. Warren jumped as a voice from behind him said, "I'm complicated." Spinning round he found Willow standing there. "So did you miss out on muggers' school. Do they have a mugger's school? If they do then the do you know what the first lesson should be? Don't try to mug a techno mage." Warren's eyes grew as a ball of fire formed in her hand. He screamed with terror as she threw it at him. Only stopping as it passed straight through him.
"It was just a hologram," he said, as he laughed with relief. That relief faded when he saw that Willow had disappeared again. As he made his way back to his quarters he said to himself, "I have got to get that technology."
Reaching her quarters Tara threw her bag down and sat down on her bed. It was a rather nice quarters, even if it was rather small. Actually it looked like pretty much every other quarters she'd stayed in. A large down sound to being a commercial telepath was the amount of travel it involved. Even more so since the psycorp had been disbanded. Sighing Tara reached into her bag and got her computer out so she could look at her schedule. IPX was hiring and they wanted her to help with the interviews. Tara put the computer away again. She knew the drill pretty well, she would use her telepathic powers to help them build up a psychological profile for the candidates. Tara wondered why she had become a commercial teep. It wasn't that she didn't enjoy the job, just at times she wished she could do something more worthwhile with her abilities.
As soon as Willow got to her quarters she placed a call to Earth. As the image of her old friend Xander Harris appeared on the screen she said, "Hi Xander."
For a moment Xander didn't say anything, not seeming to be able to believe who he was seeing. "My god, Willow. Is that really you?"
"In the flesh, except not so much."
"I can't believe it, how long has it been?"
"Four years seven months," Willow answered automatically.
Xander still didn't look as if he believed who he was talking to, "Where have you been all this time?"
"Oh well you know, here and there. What about you, how are you?"
Xander gave a small smile, "I'm dying but aside from that I've got no complaints." Seeing Willow frown he went on, "Sorry that was a bad joke."
"How about Anya, are you still together?"
"Yeah, pretty much. She was on Mars when... when it happened, so... well the distance is causing a strain."
"I'm so sorry."
"Hey, what are you sorry about? I mean they've still got three years to find a cure."
Willow nodded, trying to keep back the tears she could feel coming. A part of her wished that she hadn't made this call.
"They're going to find a cure, so there's no reason to start worrying. Pretty soon you'll be able to come to Earth and we'll be able to go to the Bronze and work on getting you a girlfriend."
"Yeah, that'll be good."
"Listen I've got to get going."
"Sure, talk to you soon."
"Bye." As Xander's face disappeared from the screen Willow started crying, thinking that she might never see her friend again.