Alliances are Made

by Mistress Sarah

Disclaimer: These are not my characters. They are owned, copyrighted and created by far wiser people than me. I have attempted to bring them back to life for a short time, attempting to ease that gaping hole in my heart where B5/Crusade once was.
Note: Series is NC-17. m/f, m/m.
Archiving: SW and the WWOMB archive

Ed Ryan.

I didn’t know what the hell to think. That story of Gideon’s was far fetched, unbelievably so. If I had ever read a story like that to my son, he would have screeched his disbelief and wanted another one. Stop it, Eddie. You’re getting maudlin again. Stop remembering the ghosts of your past, and concentrate on what’s facing you. Shit. I was supposedly a goddamn hero? Medal of Honor winner! Valorous Cross and all that stuff? I had helped fight the Shadows... and won?

Terrans were free. None of this shit with the two big universal bullies using the younger races to fight their battles, so their hands remained perfectly clean. We fought, and they always had their goddamn knives to our throats, urging us to fight harder, longer and better. Assassinations for those Officers who they thought were troublesome. People trained to kill and enjoy it. Human beings who were merged with ships, and made to fight.

I had seen one of the new generation of Avatars. Half-formed, physically blind, it was a genetic throwback. A nightmare that approximated human shape, and it ... needed... to be merged with its Ship permanently. No breaks. No time off. I could sense its hatred, and I wondered... had it been one of Lyta’s children? They had bred her ruthlessly during her child bearing years, which had concerned me. Most of her children were doomed that if they ever grew up, they’d be Avatars except for one. The potential in that one scared the hell outta me, as I had known that Lyta had been terrified of the child growing within her. I could just imagine what that genotype would lead to, the mixing of both Randy’s and Lyta’s DNA, a Mind Killer, a Telepathic Assassin.

To this day, I don’t know how the hell Randy had managed it, especially under Galen’s nose, but it was only because the Guild had intervened directly with the Guides that had prevented Randy from being put down by a furious Galen. The child created would be the Guild’s, the Guides had declared. Randy was not to be punished, but instead he would commended by his Guild for a job done well, and completely. Apparently, the Guild has a "Black Box" project of sorts, dealing with the manipulation of Telepathic DNA.

Isn’t that reassuring?

The Alexander wasn’t going to be retrofitted, as They claimed it was too old, which translated to the fact that my time was limited. D-Day, Departure(Permanent)-Day, Death-Day whatever you wanted to call it, was on my immediate horizon. Would it be poison? Or a knife? Or just an unforeseeable accident? No General ever made it to retirement age, and the only way I had lived this long was by taking every day, one day at a time.

They’d kill me, put Randy down, and then the Alexander would be decommissioned. Most ships never made it to the decommissioning stage, and while it would be romantic to believe that Lyta and the Alexander would be allowed to fly through the stars together, I knew that would never happen. The new Generation of Ships would be blooded in a Rite of Passage that would involve the Alexander’s death.

I would really like the chance to stick it to the Guides just once, before Departure Day; a sort of spiritual middle finger. Because as I got older and wiser, I became more and more convinced that a certain Telepathic Uprising had been instigated by the Guides, just to make life a little bit more interesting for them.

But how to use Gideon? Could he be used? Could he be trusted? Most importantly, how could I harness him to my cause?

Jeff Sinclair.

My, my, my. Ambassador Sinclair.

Wouldn’t my mother be proud of me? Until she found out that I was the ambassador to the Bone Heads, and then she wouldn’t be so happy.

Gideon had lied repeatedly, until at last, Randy had broken him. Then, he had hesitantly answered our questions, and what a story he had told. If the situation hadn’t been so serious, I would have broken out into laughter. How bizarre, a parallel universe, where I had worked for ... The Others’ minions, the Minbari.

After a while, Gideon had been completely talked out, and then we had sent him to the DarkStar, with Zack Allan and Michael Garibaldi, who were impersonating Ed and me. Randy would instigate a bar fight, and the affects of Gideon’s torture would be dismissed as the result of being in an altercation. Then if Gideon died in his sleep later on, well, perhaps he shouldn’t have been involved in a bar fight.

Even before Randy had killed the Minbari, I had been feeling odd. Something in his alien eyes had triggered an unease in my soul, a sense of déjà vu, as though I should have known him. An ennui seemed to have contaminated my psyche, my spirit, and I had been unable to sleep at night, walking throughout Babylon 5, pondering questions that suddenly needed to be answered, so I could have peace. Nothing was the same anymore, not since I had looked into the eyes of a Minbari leader named Dukhat.

Is this it? What was this feeling? As though somewhere, some when, a wrong turn had been taken, and the resulting accident had caused a ripple that, even now, was affecting the universe around me. Was I meant for greater things? What wrongs have I committed, unintentionally, because I didn’t know what destiny I had to fill?

All my life, I had been searching for meaning, a reason why I was here, but it had remained illusive. Gideon claimed that he was here because of a spatial anomaly, that he didn’t belong here. Was he lying? Everyone lies. The innocent lie because they don't want to be blamed for something they did not do. The guilty lie because they don't have any other choice. Find out why he is lying and the rest will take care of itself.

But I don’t think Matthew Gideon was lying. I wasn’t naïve enough to think that he was telling us the complete truth, but he wasn’t lying in what he said. All my life, I've had doubts about who I am, where I belonged. Now, I was like an arrow that springs from a bow. No hesitations, no doubts. The path was clear.

And for some reason, my path was now intersecting with the enigma known as Matthew Gideon, and this time, I knew I had to make the right choice.

I began walking to Gideon’s quarters, and I looked at Ryan, who plainly was wrestling with his own thoughts. We had a few hours to discuss our options in the one of the few rooms on Babylon 5 I knew to be Guide free. I had carefully assigned Matthew Gideon to that room, knowing that Ed and I would need to form our game plan. So few places of safety; my room where I hid down below, and that where Gideon was staying.

"Ed, I just wish I could be more sure." That was the verbal admission of my confusion.

"Sure is for people who have nothing on the line, Jeff. You and me, we just get on with it."

"Now I know how Pontius Pilate must have felt," I responded, which earned me a tired sigh from Ed.

"Never gets any easier, carrying this weight, does it? It’ll be soon, Jeff. I can feel that we’re rushing toward something big, and I don’t think I’m going to live to see it through. But why is he involved? What role does he have to play?"

There. Ed had made his decision, and I agreed. Gideon would live, but we’d have to leash him. The question was... how?

He had no loyalty to anyone in this galaxy, except that Randy had commented on his Avatar being this Gideon’s weakness. The Stranger had talked about familiar faces, but with different personalities. Yet Randy had said that Gideon’s Achilles’ heel was the Mind Freak and that Matthew was noticeably uncomfortable whenever the Assassin had teased the Avatar. So who was he in Gideon’s universe? They couldn’t be lovers, as Gideon appeared uncomfortable using the leash. If they were lovers, Gideon might enjoy the chance but his distaste for the Avatar’s bridle...

Whenever I had seen the two together, the Excalibur’s Captain had appeared to be solicitous of his Avatar. Then the realization of who exactly the Mind Freak was, hit me. Telepaths were in the military...Gideon was his commanding officer! Whoever the Mind-Freak was in Gideon’s realm, Gideon trusted him. Completely. And as his superior officer, I knew that Matthew would do everything in his power to protect him. From Ryan, from myself, and especially from Randy. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t the same person. Intellectually, Matthew Gideon knew that the Avatar wasn’t his officer, but emotionally, Matthew hadn’t managed to break that bond.

Matthew Gideon I

Oh sweet Mary, I hurt.

Breathing was agony, opening my eyes a terrifying ordeal, and I knew that talking would be a huge mistake. Every separate part of my body was screaming in pain, and sometimes, just for kicks, my body spasmed uncontrollably.

"Thank you, Michael, Zack, for your assistance. You may leave now," The Military Governor’s voice was low, fortunately, as I think anything above a whisper would have caused my eardrums to explode.

They left, and I waited for what would happen next. Jeff took a deep breath, and then continued to talk.

"Matthew. It was rather an interesting story you told us. Temporal distortions, parallel universes, complete with Minbari Ambassadors. Most people would think that you were lying, and they’d kill you."

Oh God. I’m going to die. Look, I’ve asked you for help repeatedly now, and you’ve ignored me, so fine. Just keep an eye out for JT, as when I’m dead, he’ll be completely friendless. Please keep an eye on the crew of my Excalibur, and protect them.

There was a pause, and then Ed Ryan began to speak, "But fortunately, for your sake, both Jeff and I aren’t 'most people’. We’ve talked about it, and we’re going to make a deal with you."

Gingerly, I opened one eye, and I tried to focus on the two men standing in front of me. It hurt too much, so I closed my eyes. Carefully, I shook my head.

No deal. Not with them. They’re not the men I knew in my universe, but instead they were distorted and twisted.

"Randy. If you don’t mind, please take the Excalibur’s Avatar down to Medlab. Stephen will perform a small procedure on him."

JT? They were taking JT? Procedure? What type of procedure?

"Matthew’s being a bit stubborn right now, so we’ll need you to keep an eye on his Avatar for a while. Bring him back in three hours."

"Wonderful. I’m Avatar-sitting again, but at least he’s not pregnant. Is there anything you want me to do with him for the three hours?" The Assassin’s voice sounded hopeful that the Generals didn’t have anything planned for JT, as he had something in mind. Something that involved JT being hurt, I was sure of it.

No. You’re not letting Randy hurt him. No. NO.

"Randy. You can’t play with his Avatar just yet. He’ll be sore after the procedure, so... take him shopping for all we care," the General of the Alexander seemed amused that an Assassin was going to be taking an Avatar shopping. "Just make it three hours. Now, Matthew, before you decide not to listen to our idea, we figured that you might like to say goodbye to your Avatar."


I had been sleeping, when Randy woke me up. Silently, I wished that he had let me sleep for another thirty-seven years. My head hurt, my belly rumbled and I felt ill.

"Hung over?" Randy’s voice didn’t have the slightest bit of compassion in it. "Next time, don’t over indulge, my silly little Mind Freak. You need to learn self-control. Matthew’s disappointed with you, you know."

No. Please don’t say that.

"He’s not happy being the proud Master of a drunken Avatar." Randy laughed. "But as Ed often says, Avatars act like their Masters. Come on, get out of bed." He slapped me on my ass, and I tried to move quicker.

"It’s rather amusing actually, because you and Lyta both got shit-faced, and so did Eddie and Matt. Least you had the sense not to go out and look for more fun. Come on, move!"

He pulled my leg hard, and I found myself on the floor.

"Take a shower, get dressed, as you need to look presentable. You and I are going to have some fun today."

Matthew Gideon.

I told them flatly that I didn’t want to deal, and they ignored my refusal. Instead, they concentrated on medicating my wounds, so I felt somewhat better. Not back to one hundred percent, but maybe about sixty or so.

"This is what the deal is. You are going to swear allegiance to both Ed and I. If you break it, then your Avatar’s dead. And you know what? If your Avatar dies, your ship will go mad. You’ve never seen a ship go mad. It’s... a nightmare come to life, as it goes rogue, trying to escape from its Master. Then all the Ships are called in, to hunt their Ship Sibling down. Even the Ships want to be free, do you understand?"

Oh God. My head really began to hurt. Bad enough I’m in an alternative universe, but now I’m being forced into being part of a mutiny.

"There’s more than the two of us who want the Guides and the Others to go take a collective leap into the nearest supernova. There are other people who agree with us, and your doppelganger was one of them. We’re tired of the constant fighting. The Guide’s motto is that there is only chaos and evolution and that we will fight, because They TELL us to fight!" Ed’s voice was intense, and I found myself listening, in spite of the fact I didn’t want to listen. This wasn’t my universe, wasn’t my war, and I couldn’t care less.

"The Others’ motto is that there is only order and obedience, you will do as you are told, you will die for us when we tell you to die for us because 'The Others' know no other way! We're tired of fighting for their amusement. We're exhausted, and we want more from our lives. Do you understand?"

"Ed is right. I believe that the universe puts us in places where we can learn. They are never easy places, but they are right. Wherever you are, is the right place, at the right time. Pain sometimes happens. It is part of the process of constantly being born. It is also said that the future is always born in pain. The history of war is the history of pain. If we are wise, what is born of that pain matures into the promise of a better world, because we learn that we can no longer afford the mistakes of the past."

Jeff Sinclair's eyes were burning with a holy passion, and he was drawing me into what the two men were saying.

"My God, Jeff, the Jesuits would be so proud of you." Ed's mustache quirked into a half serious, half-amused slant.

"Ed. Matthew. I will tell you a great secret, perhaps the greatest of all time. The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station, and the nebula outside, that is born in the stars themselves. We are starstuff, we are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out. As we have both learned, sometimes the universe requires a change of perspective. It's now long past time for the change to occur. The Others and the Guides' times have come and gone. It's time for a New Age."

"Jeff. Did we suddenly swerve off into heresy there? The Jesuits would have burned you at the stake for that thought a few centuries ago," Randy's voice was loud, and the two Generals suddenly moved to stand next to my shoulders. Sinclair put a slight pressure on one spot, warning me that one false step and he'd take action.

"We were having a discussion on philosophy, nothing more, nothing less. The three of us are too damn old to brawl like we did last night. Did you explain to the Avatar what's going to take place?"

Yeah, Eddie. Randy told JT that he was being used as a pawn to keep me in line. God fucking damn the two of you. He doesn't deserve to be treated that way.

"No. I figured that you would do the honors, General Ryan. It's one of the joys of command, that you constantly have to explain things to people." Randy's voice was droll as he teased his Commanding Officer.

JT shuffled in behind Randy, and his eyes widened when he saw me. He moved toward me, and then sat down, resting his head against my knee. Damn it, JT was shaking in terror. Gently, I began stroking his hair, whispering softly that everything would be all right.

"Randy. You didn't mention to the Avatar that his Master had been in a bar fight last night did you? That's why he's looking a little rough around the edges. It's not like we were torturing him," Jeff laughed. "If we were torturing him, then Ed and I wouldn't look like we have been in the brawl, too."

I looked at them quickly, and I saw that Jeff had a torn lip, and a few cuts and abrasions. Eddie had a shiner, and I began to get confused. What the hell was going on? Why were they trying so hard to keep the pretense up that they had been in a brawl? My mind was still foggy, and at last the reason came to me.

They were playing all the angles, as they hadn't been sure if they'd have to dump my body or not. For now, my injuries could be explained as having too good a time.

"Avatar. I mentioned to you that the Guides were interested in utilizing genes of upstanding Avatars for improving the gene pool. They need to run a few tests on you. Don't worry, you'll be back in a few hours, and Matthew will be here. Right, Matthew? You're not planning on leaving your Avatar in the lurch are you?" Ed's voice was smooth, but I still heard the threat in his voice.

"Never," I growled at Ed, who understood that I wanted him to go directly to hell, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred credits. JT was still shaking, as he could feel the dangerous emotional currents in the room.

"Wonderful. There's something so refreshing about the relationship between a caring Master and his Avatar, isn't there? Come on, little one. We're going to Medlab," Randy's voice was obviously amused at the tender scene he was viewing.

JT shook his head, and I realized that he didn't want to leave me alone with the two Generals. He couldn't do a damn thing for me, but still he wanted to be there. Damn it, John! JT! You're too damn loyal!

"Go. Go on. It's all right. Randy?" I raised my voice, as I gently pushed JT toward the Assassin. "Make sure after all the tests are run that you get him something sweet. He's got a bit of a sweet tooth."

"Most Avatars do," admitted Ed.

"I expect you to take good care of him. If anything, and I mean, ANYTHING happens to him, you'll answer to me." Smiling at Randy, I wondered if the Assassin was going to laugh in my face. I could barely stand right now, so what the hell could I do to him? My threat was a pitiful attempt at trying to protect JT, a mere pretense.

Randy pulled his knife out, and he slit his hand. It was bleeding freely, and he smeared it across my face. "I vow it on my blood. No harm will come to your Avatar unless my Assassin's Code requires it. It is all I can do, understand that."

Ed nodded his head. Jeff began increasing the pressure he was exerting on my shoulder, and I realized that he was telling me to accept Randy's promise. He was whispering what I was supposed to answer, and I slowly began to repeat it.

"I understand... and accept... your Blood Oath."

God. I want to go home. I've been maneuvered into joining a rebellion of which I don't want to be a part, and I need to straighten out what's going on my Excalibur. But I'm going to make Ed and Jeff promise me a few things, too.

Randy led JT off, and I glared at the two Generals. "Very well. I'll agree to this. Do I need to have a secret handshake? Where do I sign up? But first, I want to know what's in it for me?"

"We'll do everything that we can to help you go home. The only codicil to that is, our mission has to have priority. There are billions of Terrans who are depending on us, and quite frankly, there's only one of you. Our agreement is only good as long as Jeff and I live. When I die, you'll still have to answer to Jeff."

"When you die. Are you planning on dying in the near future, Ryan?" I spat that comment at him, and his eyes suddenly blazed.

I had angered him, and he grabbed my hair, pulling it tight.

"I've survived four assassination attempts, that I know about, in the last two years. No doubt there have been a few others that Randy decided not to bother me with all the gory details. Sooner or later, Randy won't be able to stop them. He's only one man, even if he's the goddamn Head of the Assassins' Guild. You have no idea how I live, not trusting anyone except for a few people, and even then, always wondering when the knife is going to be put in my back. Always questioning which one of my friends is going to turn out to be the one who kills me. You have no fucking idea what that is like."

I swallowed, and nodded my head.

"Do you agree?" Sinclair asked quietly.

"Don't have a choice... now do I?" My tone was bitter, and Ryan gave me a hate filled glance. Tough, Ed. You don't like my attitude, then go ahead, sue me.

"There's always a choice, Matthew. The question is, are you smart enough to make the correct decision?"

"I'll help. Another thing though..."

"Another condition? Do you think we're selling you a used space ship? Be glad you're getting this deal. It's more than fair, your life, or your death, Matthew." Ed was still angry with me, and I turned to face Sinclair.

"Take care of JT for me."

"JT? Who's JT?" Sinclair was confused by my request.

"The Avatar of the Excalibur. My alter abuses him...It's not right what happens to him."

"And it's not right how Randy was trained either. But, for Lyta's sake, I agree with you. I'll do what I can, Matthew. No more, and no less. Understand that." Ed spoke quickly, and Sinclair nodded in agreement.

"Then I agree."

"Very well then, I need you to answer a few questions for me. Will you follow me into Fire? Will you follow me into Darkness? Will you follow me into the Storm? Will you follow me into Death?"

"I will."


Randy-Assassin had years of experience of dealing with the Leashed. You could tell it by the way he gave me just enough slack so that I could move, but not enough that I could get into trouble by having too much freedom. He held me in a completely self-confident grip that was both secure, and relaxed.

Unlike my current Master, who when he walked me, held too tightly onto my leash, causing a few mishaps when he nearly throttled me accidentally. My Master held me in a grip that was too tight, because he wasn't familiar with how to handle an Avatar. I wanted to believe that the real reason his grip was too secure on my leash was that my Master was worried about me, and that he was concerned about me getting hurt.

A gentle tug meant that Randy-Assassin wanted me to take the left coming up. Years of being Leashed to the other Matthew Gideon made me grateful that it was the Assassin who was leading me, rather than my Old Master. His hold on me had been deliberately rough, as he had kept me closely to his side. I was unable to move so much as a centimeter without his express approval, and the few times I had miss-stepped, his punishment had been quick and brutal.

Now, the Assassin allowed me to look at the sights surrounding me, so I shamelessly took advantage of the chance to gawk and stare, trying to postpone my arrival in Medlab. It was successful, as Randy appeared lenient enough to allow me the chance to look, but sometimes he gave me a gentle yank on my leash to tell me that it was time to move on.

Ryan's Assassin was walking me away from my new Master, and toward Medlab. I had sensed my Master's concern when Ryan had ordered Randy to take me to Medlab, and I had known then that the two Generals were interrogating my Master. His attempts at hiding who he truly was, while valiant, hadn't been successful. I hadn't wanted to leave him alone with those two men, but any attempts at disobedience would have caused the situation to disintegrate even more.

I hoped they weren't hurting him.


If there was any God or Goddess that listened to the prayers of an Avatar, I have not had any of my prayers answered as yet. But for my new Master, I would pray and beseech the silent, unresponsive gods to please help him.

Don't let them hurt him too badly. It's my fault. I should have helped him in his charade, but I was too afraid to offer my assistance.

Damning myself for a coward, I wished that I had been braver, and had actually helped him. Foolishly, I had day dreamed that he would have been grateful for my assistance, enough so that he would have talked to me, like I was sentient. He would be nice to me, and I would love him because he was such a kind and generous Master to a undeserving Freak such as myself. I miss-stepped, and I had to stop to blink the tears back from my eyes. Carefully, I leaned against a wall for just a moment, and I ignored the response from Randy. He wanted to keep moving, and I wanted to stop. I pretended to be looking at the storefront window, and I felt Randy move behind me.

Ignoring him, I stared intently, pretending that the reason I had stopped was to gaze at the puppies the vendor was selling, and Randy laughed. I had always secretly wanted one, as every book I had devoured as a young Freak had found the hero in adventure after adventure with his trusty dog at his side. It had taken me years to accept the fact that I couldn't ever have one. Freaks weren't allowed to have what regular human beings took for granted. I'd never have a puppy, never been allowed to feel their unconditional love and acceptance, loving me in spite of my Freakish flaw.

"No, I'm not getting you a puppy, Little One. No matter how your dark eyes fill with tears, and no matter how you silently beg, you're not getting a puppy. Matthew would be most upset with me if I were to get you one." Randy quietly watched the puppies that were playing, and he sighed. "Look. What's going on between my Master and yours is going to be resolved in the next few hours no matter how you try to delay going to Medlab. Let's go."

"But, I always wanted a puppy." I spoke that softly, trying to lie to the Assassin, so he would believe that the reason I had stopped was to look at the animals. Really, I was trying to delay the visit to the doctors, not to pull open old wounds about what never could happen.

Randy sighed again. "So did I."

I don't remember too much about whatever I had done to me. Dr. Stephen Franklin took numerous DNA samples, and then knocked me out with something. I'm not sure what he else he did during the time I was unconscious, but I tried to not to worry. When I came to, I felt woozy and I was grateful that Randy was there to keep me upright.

"Doctor, did our little Boy Blue do all right?" The Assassin asked Dr. Franklin in a cheery voice.

"Yes." Franklin's voice was curt, and the Assassin's smile never dimmed.

"Yes... Colonel," Randy's voice was still cheery, but I could tell that he wasn't thrilled with Dr. Franklin's attitude. He interlaced his fingers, and proceeded to crack his knuckles, while still wearing the faux smile. "Perhaps, I should inform General Sinclair that you need a refresher course in manners. I can arrange as many refresher courses as you want. Shall we try it again, Doctor? Did little Boy Blue do all right?"

"Yes, Colonel. His vitals remained constant during the procedure and we achieved our objectives."

"Wonderful. You know, Doctor, I hate people like you, I really do," Randy's voice was still cheerful, but I saw there was hate in his eyes. "Just because your father is a General, you think you're better than everyone else. But trust me, everyone bleeds the same color."

"Are you threatening me, Colonel?" The doctor suddenly glared at the Marine who towered over him.

"No. Just giving you a very friendly refresher course in anatomy & physiology."

"Come on, let's go. I have someplace I need to stop before I take you back to your quarters. You up to a little walking?"

I nodded my head, and he gently attached the leash to my neck. "If you feel dizzy, let me know. Don't want you blacking out."

He led me through Babylon 5, until I found myself in front of the window of the shop where I had stared at the puppies. They were still playing with one another, and Randy motioned me to go into the store. "Let's pretend that we're normal people, shopping, shall we?"

Looking at Randy, I realized that I didn't understand his quicksilver mood swings. One moment, he was easily threatening a doctor, and then the next moment, he was back to his usual whimsical mood.

"Come on, let's go." He motioned for me to move into the store, and I hesitantly stepped through the door.

The shopkeeper met the two of us, and he bobbed his head in a nervous acknowledgement of what we both were. I wasn't surprised to see that a few people surreptitiously moved toward the exit.

"Come on, Colonel. She's all ready for you." The shopkeeper went toward the back of the store, and the two of us followed him.


I wasn't expecting a small bundle of fur that yipped and squirmed to be placed in my arms. Her tongue eagerly licked me, and her tail was easily going a million kilometers per minute. Hesitantly, I held her tighter, not wanting her to escape from my arms, and I felt her mind, full of puppy thoughts. Someone had tied a bow in her hair and I guessed that Randy-Assassin must have put it there. The bow was neat and precise, having been placed by someone who deliberated about each and every action he did.

Warmth. Love. Unconditional acceptance. The closeness of the litter.

I began stroking her head carefully and she went wild.

"I think they're a good match, Colonel Morrison." The shopkeeper commented. "Do you think he likes the dog?"

"Very much so." Randy answered softly. "She's yours, if you want her."

Nodding my head immediately, I tried to mentally tell the small Terrier pup how much I loved her. She didn't understand me, but I felt her mind clearly. She liked me... and I didn't want to ever let her go.

I kept stroking my puppy while Randy swiftly took care of all the arrangements. She was growing tired, and so I carefully placed her in one of the larger pockets of my jumpsuit. She was such a little thing, barely bigger than my hand, and I cradled her small form protectively until she was lulled to sleep by the warmth of my body.

Love you.

Sternly I warned myself that I shouldn't get so emotionally attached to the puppy. I wouldn't be allowed to keep it. I was property, and I couldn't technically own any possessions. Randy shouldn't have gotten her for me, but I couldn't remind him of that.

I always wanted a puppy.

Maybe... maybe... I could give her to a kindly Master, one who would... maybe let me play with the puppy? If I was really, really good, and I worked very hard at being the best Avatar I could be, maybe I could be allowed to hold her... occasionally? Do you think my new Master would let me play with her? If I was very, very good?

Maybe... I could give her to my new Master.

Silly, Mind-Freak, I couldn't give her to my Master. I didn't own her. I couldn't keep my puppy, for once my true Master returned, he would know that the puppy was my weakness. He'd probably hurt her just because he knew that it would wound me.

No! I wouldn't let him hurt her! NEVER! I'd protect her because I loved her.

I have to give you away, before you get hurt. Believe me, I don't want to give you up.

The two of us left the pet shop, and I continued to stroke the puppy.

"Little one, don't I get a thank you?"

I nodded my head quickly. "Thank you." I whispered my thanks softly, and Randy frowned.

"You don't look happy."

The Assassin glared at me, and I think his feelings were hurt that I wasn't more appreciative. Puppies were expensive, and far too valuable a commodity to waste on ungrateful Freaks like me.

I can't let anyone know how much I care. They'll take her away from me, just like everyone else I had ever cared for in my life...

"I... really... am." I hesitantly gave him a big smile, which Randy still didn't appear to believe. Hugging my sleeping puppy tightly to my chest, I tried to again assure the blonde assassin that I appreciated his gift.

I guess the earnestness in my voice convinced him, as Randy laughed softly, and ruffled my hair. For some reason our relationship had changed from that of Predator- Sexual Prey to one of the Assassin protecting me. I wondered what had caused that, and foolishly hoped that perhaps my new master had something to do with it. For a moment, I thought I heard a voice from my childhood, When you grow up, your Ship-Master will love and protect you from injury, never letting anyone harm you, be it the Assassins, the Inquisitors or even the Guides. Your Master will be compassionate with your failings, and will love you anyway, in spite of that fact that you are a Mind Raper.

"We'll just have to sneak her past our Masters, now won't we?"

I smiled slightly. Maybe... maybe... if I could get my puppy on the Ship, I could hide her. Master would never know. The two of us would be together, and I would be the best Master ever. Randy DID understand the troubles I would face, and for some reason he'd decided that I deserved the puppy.

Ship? I called softly. I have a little someone who I want you to meet. She's so soft and small, and she has the smallest, blackest nose and ears that I've ever seen. You'll help me hide her, won't you? Don't be jealous, please, but I've always wanted a puppy. I was never allowed to have one, since I was a Freak. You'll... help me? I don't want to give her up.

Yes. Of course I will help you.

Matthew Gideon I

The two Generals wouldn't leave, and I really thought they had long since outstayed their welcome. I was tired, and quite frankly, I hurt, and I wasn't that thrilled with either one of them.

I think they were waiting until JT came back from his doctor's visit. JT finally arrived back with Randy looming protectively nearby. JT was hunched over, and I suddenly felt a sense of dread. Why the hell was he clutching his chest?

Walking over to him, I noticed that he tensed up as I got closer. I placed my hand on his chest, and something nipped me.


With a savage growl, something went wild in JT's jumpsuit pocket, and Ed began bellowing at his Assassin, who had the nerve to look embarrassed.


Sinclair began laughing as he thought it was hysterically funny that an Assassin would buy a puppy for an Avatar. I'm sure that if I was in his position, I'd be roaring with laughter but goddamn it, my finger hurt!

The Assassin stared at his Master, and then looked away. "I was ordered by my Blood Oath to make sure that nothing happened to his Avatar. That means spiritually and emotionally, not just physically."

"So where does the dog come in? I'd like to know," Jeff drolly questioned. "Go ahead, take it out, let's see what's got everyone in an uproar. It must be a rather terrible canine with very big fangs to have injured Matthew so badly."

"No doubt, Randy felt that the Avatar would be emotionally damaged if he didn't get the puppy, right?" Ed sighed. "I've had this discussion with him for the last twenty years. You're still not getting one, Randy. There's no place for them on a starship!"

Damn me for a fool, but I think the Organ Slicing, Blood Drinking Murderin' Marine was pouting. If I didn't know better, I think he was about to throw a temper tantrum and I just didn't hear him softly say, "Well if Lyta wanted one..." now did I?

He must have because Ed shot his Assassin a look that would have blistered paint at thirty meters.

JT took something out of his pocket, and I think he was about to break into hysterical sobs, because half the room was screaming at each other and the other half was still laughing. No doubt my Avatar thought everyone was going to get tired of yelling at Randy, and decide to scream at him next.

She (it had to be a she, what with a crinkled pink bow) was getting agitated by all the noise, so I brusquely ordered JT into my bedroom. "We'll talk about this later," I warned him, and his face fell still further.

{1 And so it Begins} {2 Captain-Master & Executive Officer} {3 Captain-Master & Assassin} {4 Battle Fatigue} {5 Story of an Avatar} {6 Story of a Captain-Master} {7 Interlude} {8 General-Master & Assassin} {9 Babylon 5} {10 Lines are Drawn} {11 Alliances are Made} {12 Seeds of Rebellion} {13 The Storm Breaks} {14 Battle of the Light Brigade} {15 "Theirs but to Do and Die"} {16 "Valley of Death"} {17 "Jaws of Death"} {18 Finale}

{The Main Gate} {HomePage} {Wytches World} {We are Family} {A Little Artistic Licence} {No, we don't mean "A"riadne} {Our Home Is Our Castle} {The Witches' Diary} {Witches Familiars} {The Gateway} {Webrings}