...IN VALEN'S NAME DELENN (II)

By Frieda W. Landau

 

 

 



...In Valen's Name, Delenn
Extracts from the Correspondence of Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari
During her Time on Babylon 5



   21 January 2259

   Mayan, old friend

   I am still the Delenn you know. Only the outward form has changed. You can judge for yourself if the result is pleasing. I do not know yet. I am still trying to deal with what happened and what will happen in the future.

   I emerged from the Chrysalis encased in a thick, scaly crust. I was horrified. What sort of creature had I become? My worst fears seemed to be realized. Praise Valen for Lennier. He called Dr. Franklin who discovered the crust broke away easily. After he and Lennier cleaned me up, I did not look so bad. I was very weak and unsteady, and very cold, but that passed for the most part.

   The most notable change, of course, is the hair. It is an odd sensation, feeling the hair tickling my neck as I move. It does not feel at all like the hair in Dukhat's beard. The hair moves with me and keeps falling into my eyes. It is very distracting, but I will have to get used to it. My balance also seems to be affected. My head feels so much lighter, but I still move as though the whole crest were still there. Perhaps this is because I still feel a bit weak. I hope so. I don't like the thought of having to learn to walk again.

   The other changes are more subtle. My hips are broader and my stomach is more rounded. My shoulders also seem wider, but that may be an illusion caused by the fuller breasts. And before you ask, most of the cerulean markings are gone or so faded as to be barely distinguishable against the rosier tone of my skin. I assume my internal organs are the same. Dr. Franklin did not find anything odd.

   I am relieved that my fears did not materialize. I had envisioned all sorts of catastrophic changes that would make a monster of me, something shunned by all races. This new form seems to be agreeable, at least in appearance. It is too early to tell if I will find any insurmountable problems.

   I must stop now. Dr. Franklin wants me to rest. He says this body - I cannot yet call it my body with complete comfort - is still traumatized by the change. He says he is going to keep a close eye on me until he is sure everything is stable and functioning as it should. I cannot fault his concern, but I think I shall soon grow tried of his examinations.

   I met the new commander of the station earlier today. He is not at all what I expected.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   22 January 2259

   Jeffrey,

   By now you are aware of why we wanted you to come to Minbar. I hope you will accept our offer. It is time to build our resources for the coming battles. You are best suited to refashion the Rangers into the force Valen envisioned, from which they have sadly fallen away. If our people are truly to unite against the darkness, then humans must join the Rangers. Only a human leader can accomplish that, and you are the only human my people will accept, even though they may seem reluctant at first.

   I was shocked to hear you left Babylon 5 so abruptly. That was never our intention. We thought the transition would be gradual. And we certainly did not expect your government to choose Sheridan as your successor. Why would they do such a thing? My people will view the appointment as a direct affront. There will be trouble. Surely Sheridan was not the only choice.

   I realize he is not the unprincipled coward our warrior caste believe him to be. When we met briefly at the Council meeting yesterday, he seemed honorable. I trust it was not wishful thinking on my part. You mentioned once you served with him. Can you tell me more of him? I value your opinion.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   12 February 2259

   Hello Mayan,

   I am growing more accustomed to this body. I automatically adjust my clothing to allow more room for my chest. I only wear robes or dresses now as anything else is too snug. I have to order some new clothes as soon as I have the time. I can walk easily. The hair makes no difference, or I have adjusted without realizing. And yet, every time I see my reflection unexpectedly, I still wonder who that is in the mirror. Sometimes, when he thinks I am unaware, Lennier looks at me as if he is trying to reconcile the woman he sees with the satai he serves. I know how he feels.

   Some still stare when I walk by, but that is becoming more infrequent each day. Either they are used to my new appearance or they are too polite to make their notice obvious. I still do not know what the members of the Babylon 5 Council or the command staff truly think. Londo said he prefers me without hair, but he had been drinking at the time. I cannot expect to hear anything from the other Minbari on station. They would not be openly disrespectful to someone of my rank. Only Sinclair, of the humans who knew me before, has said anything. When I saw him recently, he said he approved of the results. He said I looked very attractive. I do not think he was only being polite.

   I miss Sinclair. I had grown accustomed to our talks. The new commander is quite different. I know I promised to tell you of him before, but I have been very busy. I will try to make amends now.

   I met Captain Sheridan at the first Babylon 5 Council session I attended after I recovered. I am not sure what I expected when I heard Starkiller was the new commander. What I saw was a pleasant looking human male who seemed stunned by my appearance. There is an air of innocence about him, which is surprising in one of his rank. He must have been very young when he served in the war. His eyes are honest.

   And yet, when I looked into his eyes, I saw pain in their depth. Pain and a great sadness. I have since learned that his mate died in an accident in space. He must have loved her very much. I know that pain. I felt it for years after Dukhat passed over the veil. I could tell the Captain the pain will fade in time. The sadness for a life destroyed too soon does not.

   I saw something else when I looked into Sheridan's eyes; something I do not understand; something I find disturbing. For a moment, as we locked gazes, I saw something that seemed to reach out to touch my soul. I felt something searching for a part of me that I didn't know existed until then. It was familiar but forgotten until that moment. I am not explaining very well. How can I explain? I think I felt a part of my soul in him touch a part of his soul in me. That is not much better, is it? Never mind. When I understand, I will tell you.

   Now I must go and endure another of Dr. Franklin's interminable examinations. He says he is concerned for my well being, that he wants to be sure I suffer no ill effects from the change. I think he is just satisfying his curiosity at my expense. But I will not tell him that. He really has been most helpful and sympathetic.

   Give my regards to your father on the anniversary of his naming day.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   17 February 2259

   Jeffrey, my friend

   Congratulations. I am sure that even those who oppose you now will realize that you are the best choice for Ranger One. I will do all I can to support you.

   I am honoured that you want to give me direct authority over all Ranger activities in and around Babylon 5. But are you sure I am the right one? I have no military training as such. Would not someone like Mr. Garibaldi be a better choice? I know you say your representative here should be Minbari as a balance, but is that really necessary? I ask only because I doubt myself. I have never commanded a military group, not even during the war. The Grey Council gave the orders, but the warrior caste carried them out as they thought best. Nevertheless, I will do my best to carry out your wishes. I only hope my abilities will measure up to your trust.

   Take care, my friend. May Valen guide you.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn of the Rangers

   

    ----------

   28 February 2259

   Hello Mayan,

   I do not know why I still bother to keep anything from you. You know me too well, my friend. You are quite right, as usual. It was not only Sheridan I was trying to reassure that the universe knows what it is doing. I succeeded with the Captain. You can at least grant me that.

   I feel myself more and more isolated from other Minbari, especially those on the station. I was wrong, Mayan. I thought the others look away when I pass by out of respect. They look away out of disgust and contempt. I have become a freak in their minds, even to those who know and believe in the prophecies. I never expected this. I thought my transformation would be welcome, or at least understood, as a sign that the time Valen spoke of is now. How can I act as a bridge between the halves of our soul when one half rejects me so completely? How can I make them understand if they will not even talk to me? How can I do what is required if I am all alone?

   Only Lennier remains unchanged toward me. His support and loyalty are unwavering. I don't know what I would do if he too changed toward me. We have become friends. I find I can talk to him of many things beyond his duties. His perspective is always refreshing. He still retains his innocence, even as he loses some of his naivete. I fear that will not last, especially if the hostility toward me extends to him.

   I miss you, Mayan. I miss our talks. Letters are not the same. There is no one here I can relax with. Talking with Lennier helps, but it is not the same. The differences in our experiences are still too great as yet for him to fully understand. And he always remembers that he is the student, so he hesitates to contradict me, even when I deliberately say something outrageous.

   It is funny, though. I think I can talk to Captain Sheridan. He is not Minbari, but I think we have much in common. We have both paid a price to get where we are today. He is a strange contradiction. He is a warrior, of that there is no doubt, but there is something gentle about him. He is distressed by the deaths of those under his command, yet he does not hesitate to give the orders that can result in those deaths. You have always understood this better than I, Mayan. He told me he was unsure, that he did not know if he would be able to handle a command like Babylon 5, with a large civilian population that he can't just order around. But he relishes the challenge. I want to learn more of him, how his mind works, what he thinks of when he's alone in the night.

   I think the Captain enjoyed our talk in the garden. He said he felt better afterward. I do not think he was only being polite. Perhaps we will become friends, the way Sinclair and I did. I would like that. And that would be the strangest change of all, Satai and Starkiller as friends.

   I must go to Medlab now. Dr. Franklin wants to run some more tests. The man's curiosity about me is insatiable, I am afraid. This time, though, I have some questions for him. I am beginning to grow hair in the strangest places.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   18 March 2259

   Mayan,

   It was just as difficult as I thought it would be, but I took your advice. I asked Captain Sheridan to have dinner with me yesterday. You were right. It was a good way to find out more about him. He was surprised, but he agreed readily enough. He even took care of the reservations. It was quite an adventure.

   Since I was going to have human food with a human, I decided to wear human dress. Shopping for the proper clothing was a new experience. I must have tried on dozens of dresses before I found the right one. The shop keeper must have thought I was incapable of making a decision. She was probably right. She finally recommended I take the one she suggested. She said the dress was elegant, yet sexy, which suited my looks. Don't laugh, Mayan. She was sincere. The dress is close fitting, black, with long sleeves and a cut out bodice. I guess that is the sexy part. Humans consider breasts erotic. I took the shop keeper's advice and fixed my hair off my neck, in what Commander Ivanova taught me was a French knot. I will tell you about that another time, as I am sure you want to hear all about my dinner date, which is what the Captain called it.

   I arrived at the restaurant, the Fresh Aire, a few minutes late, which I have since discovered is proper for the female among humans. But that was not why I was late. I was terrified. I was thinking I must be out of my mind to do this. The dress was all wrong, my hair was all wrong, I was all wrong. Captain Sheridan only accepted out of duty. He had no desire to spend an evening talking to me. I was about to call it off, but I realized it was too late. So I thought of Valeria in the Starfire Wheel and called on Valen for help and went to meet the Captain.

   The walk from the entrance to the table where Sheridan waited was one of the longest in my life. I felt everyone, including the Captain, looking at me. When he held the chair for me to sit - a strange human custom - he said something I did not quite understand. But from the tone of his voice and the look in his eye, I gathered it was complimentary. The dress turned out to be a good choice, after all. Others seemed to think so too, judging from the way the Captain snapped at a man who was staring at me.

   We were a bit awkward with each other at first, as we discussed what to order. I let him chose, as I have had little experience with human food. By the time we finished the first course, a variety of small dishes with just a taste or two on each, we were more comfortable with each other. When the main course arrived - is it common among humans to serve food serially, I wonder? As I was saying, when we ate the main course, we were laughing and chatting like old friends. I never knew humans and Minbari have so much in common. Some humans even keep a pet that is very similar to our own goks, in spirit at least.

   I think we annoyed the restaurant staff. We were the last to leave. Even the cooks had gone home. Sheridan wanted to pay the bill, but I insisted as it had been my idea in the first place. He finally agreed on condition that he would pay the next time. There will definitely be a next time. As early as next week, if we can both make the time. I don't remember when I've had a more enjoyable evening. The Captain seemed as reluctant as I to end it. He insisted on walking me back to my quarters, the long way, through the gardens.

   It's odd, Mayan. When we said good night at my door, I was very tempted to invite him in. Of course I could not. We barely know each other and I do not have your boldness in such matters. Still, for a moment there, as he took my hand to say good night, I thought he might not refuse if I did invite him. I was probably imagining things. It has been such a long time since I had the company of a male who is pleasing to look at and pleasing to be with.

   I will send you a still taken last night in the restaurant. When I had asked Sheridan why a photographer was going from table to table, the Captain told me some people like to have stills taken as souvenirs. Then, he called the photographer over to our table. I think it came out rather well.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   17 April 2259

   Hello, old friend,

   I am pleased you decided to reveal the presence of the Rangers to Mr. Garibaldi. It will make my work with them here so much easier if we do not have to keep avoiding anything that would attract his attention. Since he is know to be my friend, we can also spend time together to conduct Ranger business without arousing undo suspicion. Sooner or later, especially with the growing hostilities between the Centauri and the Narn, we will require the cooperation of someone on the command staff here. Perhaps Commander Ivanova would be a good choice. But you would know that better than I.

   On a personal note, Jeffrey, I have attempted to deliver your message to Miss Satai, but she is still exploring in sector 37 and will be out of reach for several more weeks yet. As soon as she returns, I will make arrangements for her to join you.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   1 May 2259

   Mayan,

   It is a strange thing. Lately, Sheridan and I have been meeting several times a week in the gardens. I say meeting, but we make no plans to meet. We seem to find ourselves there at the same time or within a few moments of each other. We talk or just sit quietly for a while, it makes no difference, and then we go our separate ways. Yet, I always feel better. I forget the problems of the day. And later, those problems do not seem as large or as insurmountable.

   Mayan, I feel more welcome and acceptance from this former enemy than I do from our own people.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   18 May 2259

   Mayan,

   A great many EarthForce land troops have been transiting through the station recently. I had an encounter with some of these ground pounders, as they call themselves, that may amuse you. I made the mistake of passing through the Zocalo while what seemed like a regiment were drinking at the various bars there. I do not understand why humans consume alcohol as it seems to have a deleterious effect on them. A small group, no more than four or five, accosted me as I attempted to pass, taking exception to my appearance. Fortunately, a young female soldier decided to rescue me and I was able to leave in the confusion.

   I say fortunately, because otherwise I would have been forced to defend myself. The sight of the Minbari ambassador using her fighting pike to knock out a group of EarthForce soldiers would have been most embarrassing to Mr. Garibaldi, who is responsible for security of all dignitaries. And I have already embarrassed him this week during one of his attempts to teach me more about humans.

   He was teaching me to play a card game called poker. It is not a difficult game if you have any knowledge of probabilities. Ivanova, Dr. Franklin, and a technician from hydroponics were also playing. Mr. Garibaldi was enjoying himself and having such a good time, especially when he won, that I said that if watching Duck Dodgers was his second favorite thing in the world, then this must be his first favorite thing. Susan and Dr. Franklin started laughing uncontrollably and after a moment, Mr. Garibaldi did also. I did not understand what was so funny. Yes, I know, Mayan, I am sometimes naive about such things. There is no need for you to make the comments you are making as you read this. I did catch on after a while. I usually do, even without your help. I laughed also when I got the joke. But then the others started to tease Mr. Garibaldi about his favorite thing. I tried to apologize then, but I am afraid I only made matters worse. The game broke up after that. Before I left, Mr. Garibaldi threatened to get even by teaching me strip poker, which caused the others to start laughing again. I do not think I will ever understand humans.

   This is the second time Mr. Garibaldi has said he was going to teach me that game. I am becoming very intrigued. Next time, I will insist that he teach me.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   25 May 2259

   Mayan,

   Human bodies require much more maintenance than Minbari ones. Especially human female bodies that have just experienced puberty. Ridiculous, isn't it? I went through puberty once and now I'm doing it again. Human puberty is such a messy affair.

   And, it happens every month, except during pregnancy. If not for Susan Ivanova, I don't know what I would do. She has been such a help to me. Dr. Franklin explained what my body is going through and what I could expect, but Susan knows what I feel and how I feel because she goes through it herself every month. I have come to trust her implicitly in these matters.

   The first time I asked her for aid was the day before the Centauri ambassador's celebration of the anniversary of his ascension day. I was having a bad hair day, as Susan put it later. Bad is an understatement. My hair looked like a flock of temshee had settled in for the summer. I asked Commander Ivanova to come to my quarters. I was not fit to be seen in public. At first she was reluctant, but finally she agreed to help me. She began by cleansing my hair with a special foaming gel and water. I'm afraid I did not cooperate very well. I was not used to having my head immersed in water like that. I kept flinching away every time water got into my eyes. And as she tried to untangle the knots in my hair, I would pull away from her, which caused even more water to splash all over the place. She would apologize for hurting me as she tugged at the knots, and I would apologize for splashing her, and so it went for a while. By the time my hair was cleansed, we were both soaked with water. But any awkwardness between us had passed.

   While my hair, and her uniform, dried, she taught me how to care for my hair and skin, demonstrating where necessary. She told me where to find the best cleansers and creams, and which products to avoid. She even explained all the different types of exfoliating devices available to remove unwanted hair on other parts of the body. It seems the fuzz that has developed on my pubic mound is not considered unwanted. But hair on female legs is normally removed. Fortunately, I don't have that problem. I don't think I could deal with another body maintenance routine.

   Yet, I have since discovered that the necessity of daily cleansing in a shower is a routine that invigorates and calms at the same time. Rubbing on the foaming gel and then rinsing off under a tingling spray of water can also be a very sensual experience, which is something I did not expect. The effect is heightened when specially scented gels and oils are used.

   But I was telling you about my bad hair day. Susan sectioned and wrapped my hair around soft, hollow cylinders to aid in styling it later. I was quite a sight. Poor Lennier. He came in to give me a message and saw me in an old robe with those things in my hair. He is too well disciplined to show surprise easily, but he could not refrain from asking if my head hurt. When I told him I found it rather soothing, he hastily retreated. Understanding is not required, but in this case I took pity on him and explained later. He still didn't understand. But Susan says that is not surprising. He is, after all, a male.

   Susan and I have become good friends. That is an unexpected benefit of my transformation. I am sure there are others, but right now, while I am coping with cramps and blood and bad hair days, I can't think of any.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   6 June 2259

   Mayan,

   I am sure Neroon took great pleasure relating in all the details. There is no need for me to add anything. Do not worry. His actions will never affect our friendship for my part. I am still here, where my heart tells me I must be, which - as you say- provides some comfort. Or will, when I can overcome the bitterness in my heart.

   Mayan, I have spent more than half my life serving the Grey Council in various forms: first as an acolyte, then as Dukhat's aide, and finally as a full member. For twenty cycles I have called the Council members colleagues and friends. Yet these friends refused to speak to me. They averted their eyes when I pleaded my case. They even mocked my position, allowing Neroon to replace me. And then they generously allowed me to remain on Babylon 5, a beggar granted the crumbs from the table, or so it must seem to them. They have forgotten, or choose to forget, prophecy.

   Only Lennier remains steadfast in his loyalty to me. It is foolish of him. He would do better with another mentor. He has pledged himself to my side. He does not know how dangerous that may be. Or if he knows, he does not care. Yet I am glad he did not go as I urged him to do. He has become the only light in the darkness that surrounds me. With his help and support, I will find the strength to overcome even the Council, if necessary.

   I do not wish to dwell on this any further. Valen said losing oneself in routine allows time for wounds of the soul to heal. I will soon find out if this is true. With Lennier away at the same time, there is now a great backlog I must attend to. At least they left me that.

   Do not worry, Mayan. I shall survive. In time I may even come to believe that leaving the Council was the best thing for me. But I do not think I will forget how they turned away from me.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   7 June 2259

   Old friend,

   You were right, Jeffrey. The warrior caste is trying to expand its power and authority at the expense of the other castes. I did not want to believe it; I could not believe it. The balance among the castes has existed for a thousand years. It is time I paid more attention to the reports from home.

   I have taken my dismissal from the Grey Council as well as can be expected. There is nothing I can do about it now. I will have to live with their decision. I am only sorry I can no longer offer you the assistance and protection I promised when I urged you to head the Rangers. I am afraid your work will be more difficult now. Neroon and his allies will try to thwart you at every turn. But I am not entirely powerless and friendless. I still have some influence and will do all I can. More secrecy is required, especially in anything pertaining to the new fleet. The warrior caste will try to prevent the construction if they can. Fortunately, the prototype is nearing completion.

   When I returned to Babylon 5, I learned that Captain Sheridan had been taken prisoner by the Streibs. I was able to guide a fleet to his rescue. It felt good when I warned the Streib ship to surrender their captives or face the consequences. I did not feel so powerless then. I have never quite understood the warrior urge until now. I hope that all battles are not born of the desire to compensate for one's own feelings of frustration and futility, but I suspect many are.

   Give my regards to Miss Sakai. I enjoyed talking with her before she left.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   20 June 2259

   Mayan,

   I need your help. I know how much you hate politics, but even you must have heard what is happening with the Narn. You have many friends and colleagues on other worlds. Can you provide me with a list of those who you think would be willing to help in a relief effort? Any relief must be provided outside of official channels, which is why I thought of you. Sheridan and I are doing what we can, but it is not enough.

   The Captain and I have been meeting almost daily for lunch as a cover for our efforts to help the Narn. The business part of the lunch ends very quickly and we spend the rest of the time just talking about everything and anything. I am beginning to feel a little guilty that I am enjoying these meetings so much. I think he enjoys them too.

   Sheridan is an interesting man. The more I know of him, the more I want to know.

   He has a quick mind and a lively curiosity. And a sense of wonder that is rare in an adult. He is always eager to learn more about the universe around him. He can make quick and accurate decisions based on a minimum of information. I do not know who is learning more about the other. We seem to be spending a lot of time with each other lately, in addition to the lunches.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   28 June 2259

   Jeffrey,

   My friend, Mayan, has provided a list of those on other worlds who are willing to aid the Narn, which should allow us to establish an - as you say - underground railroad for the flow of medicines and supplies, and for the escape of those Narn most in danger from the Centauri. Rangers could provide the logistics and support, and any defense that may be required. If you wish, I can coordinate matters from Babylon 5, but I suspect you are better suited to do this as the Ranger training camp is not easily visited by outsiders.

   Sheridan supports us fully in this. He is using whatever means he has, calling in favors and such, all without the support or knowledge of his government. I suspect the risk to him is greater than he lets on. You were right about him. He is indeed honorable.

   My regards to Miss Sakai.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   10 July 2259

   Entil'Zha,

   Congratulations, old friend. You have achieved a signal honour. Only Valen himself held the title before you. Do not doubt that you will not fail in comparison. You have already revived and inspired the Anla'Shok beyond our hopes. The universe has placed the right person in the right place at the right time.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   20 July 2259

   Mayan,

   You have heard the news. I do not believe it either. And not only because I like him. I do not believe it is in him to commit such an act. The Sheridan I have come to know and respect could not murder anyone. Yet I must act as though the charges are credible and take the word of his accuser. I cannot believe Sheridan is guilty, and I cannot think of any reason why his accuser would risk his own and his clan's honour by lying. The situation is impossible.

   If anyone else were so accused, I would go to the Captain, ask his advice and opinion, and together we would find the truth. There is no one I can turn to now. The humans suspect me of favouring my own people. The Minbari here do not expect me to be fair to them. They no longer trust me. The chief accuser will not even answer my questions because he does not talk to freaks, as he put it. I am very alone now, except for Lennier, whose loyalty and desire to help is my only comfort, yet again. I do not know what will happen, but I fear the worst.

   Valen help me, Delenn,

   

    ----------

   20 July 2259

   Entil'Zha,

   We both know that Sheridan did not commit murder, but unless the truth is discovered quickly, my government will demand his extradition and trial. Even if he is eventually cleared, it will be too late. He will be gone from Babylon 5 and our strength will be diminished. You are in a better position than I to investigate the dead and the one who now accuses Sheridan. But you must act quickly.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   25 July 2259

   Mayan,

   It is over. Sheridan is safe. I cannot tell you everything, but he acted honourably, even though it meant the full truth could not be made public. I suspect his government is not pleased, but he does not care.

   After the last week, the routine of ambassadorial duties does not seem so tiresome.

   I actually look forward to the latest round of trade negotiations. Unfortunately, once they begin, I am sure I will wish for them to end. Still, right now, I welcome the routine.

   So does Sheridan. When I came to his office to give him a copy of my final report, I found him whistling as he read the latest recycling figures. He told me once he finds those the most boring to read. We both laughed about it.

   Mayan, do not misunderstand. I am not falling for Sheridan, as you suggest. We have become friends. I enjoy his company. That is all. There is nothing more on my part. I enjoy the company of a number of humans, including Mr. Garibaldi. You surely will not suggest I am falling for him. Why should Sheridan be different?

   Speaking of Mr. Garibaldi, when I beat him at cards again, he again threatened to teach me strip poker. He said he wouldn't mind losing then, which made everyone else laugh. But when Susan suggested we play that next, he quickly changed the subject. I am beginning to suspect the game has something to do with sex. I have noticed that humans react oddly whenever the subject comes up in a situation that would ordinarily contain no mention of sexual matters. I am going to do a careful check of the data bases as soon as I have the time. I think it would be better if I did not assign the task to Lennier.

   You must write more often and tell me what you are doing.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   19 September 2259

   Jeffrey,

   I had to tell Sheridan of the Shadows and of the war we are both certain is coming.

   The enclosed report details the circumstances that made disclosure necessary. I think the time has come to take him fully into our confidence and give him co-captaincy of the Rangers in this sector, as we discussed. We need someone of his tactical abilities. War may be upon us sooner than we think. The decision, of course, is yours. Nevertheless, I urge you to make it soon.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   20 September 2259

   Dukhat,

   Once again I turn to you. There is no one else. I am alone as I have never been before. More alone than I thought possible. It is said of us that Minbari never lie, but it is also said we never tell the whole truth. Yesterday, I spoke to Sheridan of the Shadows and the death of his wife. But I did not tell him the whole truth. I did not tell him of our suspicions that Morden is not the only survivor. I could not tell him. He would try to go to Z'Ha'Dum to discover the truth for himself. Kosh and I cannot permit that. No one has ever returned from there. We cannot risk losing Sheridan. I believe he is the human foretold in the prophecies.

   That is not the only reason. I don't want to lose Sheridan. Not that he is mine to lose. If the prophecies do indeed also foretell a physical union of the two halves of our souls, my heart rejoices. How can I tell him his wife may be alive, and if she is, she serves the shadows? I cannot tell him. Yet, I am afraid if I do not, the consequences will be unimaginable.

   Kosh does not want Sheridan told. For the time being, I will do as the Vorlon asks. But I cannot pretend I am only doing what Kosh wants. I fear for the future.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   21 September 2259

   Mayan,

   It really doesn't matter if I am falling for Sheridan. He is still in love with his wife, as I recently discovered. At best, we will never be more than close friends. At worst, I do not want to think about that. You saw the ISN broadcast, Mayan. I meant no disrespect to those who died in the war. I was horrified that there are humans who would think so. How can I serve as a bridge to the humans if many of them believe I am an affront to them?

   A number of humans have reassured me that the reporter is wrong, that most humans do not hate me. Mr. Garibaldi said that most humans, especially most human males, find me attractive. I do not know whether to believe him, although he did say I looked very nice at Londo's anniversary party. And Susan and the Captain certainly do not disapprove of me. But Susan was a friend before my change, and Sheridan never knew me before. I do not know what to think.

   Mr. Garibaldi's actions do not entirely reassure me. Since the broadcast, he has been finding excuses to spend more time with me. I suspect Sheridan asked him to keep an eye on me just in case a human tries to harm me. It would be amusing under other circumstances. I am more likely to be attacked by one of our own. The hostility and disdain directed toward me by other Minbari has not diminished. I am truly all alone in the crowd of people on the station.

   It is not nonsense, Mayan. If not for the talks with Sheridan and the occasional gatherings with Mr. Garibaldi and Susan, I would be very lonely. Poor Lennier is suffering the results. I am spending more time with him, working with him and teaching him. The other day he spoke wistfully of temple holidays when he was free of all duties.

   I took pity on him and gave him the rest of the week off.

   I miss you, my friend. Do you think you can visit me here on Babylon 5 again soon? I always feel better after talking to you, even when we do not agree.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   25 September 2259

   Jeffrey, my friend,

   I mourn your loss with you. It is small comfort for the present, I know, but remember you will not be separated from Catherine forever. Your souls will seek each other out every time you are reborn. You will have many lifetimes to spend together in joy and contentment. And at the end of time, you will be reunited in the place where no shadows fall.

   Meanwhile, you have friends who care about you. Let us help you.

   In Valen's Name,

   Delenn

   

    ----------

   30 September 2259

   Mayan,

   I was with the Markab when they died. I have been in battle, at the Line where thousands of humans died and body parts orbited the debris of exploded ships. I have tended the wounded, even those dying of radiation burns. Never, never, have I seen death like this. Never. We did what we could, Lennier and I. But after a time, our efforts seemed less than futile. There was no comfort we could offer to a people that were dying for reasons they could not comprehend or accept.

   The stench of death was everywhere. It assaulted our senses until we thought we could stand no more, and then, mercifully, our senses became numb from the assault. After a time, after the first few hundred deaths, it seemed our hearts became numb too. We wiped brows and provided water. We offered blankets and moved the dead away from the living; and later, the living from the dead, until we could no longer distinguish between them. The faces blurred. I could not tell you now with any assurance what an individual Markab looked like.

   Only one death stands out. A young girl, a child, hardly more than a toddler. I had seen her before, when the Markab still moved freely around the station. She stumbled into me. I caught her before she could fall. Perhaps that is why she did not seem afraid of me when she became separated from her mother. While Lennier searched for the child's mother, I told her about the time I became separated from my father and took shelter in Valen's temple. There was no such shelter for her. A few moments after she was reunited with her mother, the child showed signs of the disease. She was dead a few hours later. Until then, I could believe, or at least pretend to myself, that their deaths were not inevitable, that the disease would run its course and the survivors would be able to leave the isolation area. That hope died with the child.

   She was not the only child who died, of course. Yet her death affected me more than any other. For the few moments I talked to her and comforted her, I think I felt as though she were my own. You know how I feel about children, Mayan. I have always wanted children of my own. When I was fully Minbari, I thought when I was settled on the Council, Dukhat and I would have at least one child. After his death, there was no one else for me. And now, there will never be another chance for me. I cannot mate with a Minbari male now, even if one would still have me. And I doubt I will ever love a human male and be loved by him in return.

   When Captain Sheridan came into the isolation area, after all had died, I collapsed against his shoulder, crying uncontrollably. I cried for all the Markab children, and I cried for the children I will never have. John held me, stroking my hair until I regained control. Then he insisted on taking me home.

   He ordered me to shower and prepare for bed. I was too worn out to argue with him. When I emerged, dressed in an old robe, I found a cup of hot tea and a plate of fruit waiting for me. John said he was going to stay until I fell asleep, to make sure I was all right. It was easier to do as he said than to protest. I found out later that he stayed in the main room almost all night, resting on the couch, just in case I awoke and needed anything or had nightmares. He left a little while before I woke up.

   At lunch the next day, he was still concerned about me, but I was able to reassure him I was all right. I think he believed me. I am not fine, of course. It was a soul searing experience. But I will be all right eventually. I only wish I could believe the universe has a good reason for killing the Markab children.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   4 October 2259

   Entil'Zha,

   Lyta Alexander has returned to Babylon 5 at great risk to herself to warn the command staff of a spy in their midst. She is being hunted by the Psi Corps and needs to disappear from their view. I am making arrangements for her to stay on Minbar for a while, perhaps with Alissa Beldon. It will be good for Alissa, I think, to spend some time with someone of her own kind. And Lyta will be harder to detect among other telepaths.

   I will send her to Minbar with a small Ranger escort. Will you ask those Rangers who come in contact with EarthForce or Psi Corps to keep me informed of any efforts to find Lyta?

   Valen walk with you.

   In Valen's name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   15 November 2259

   Dukhat,

   Why? Why did Kosh submit me to this? Have I not worked with him, trusted him, complied with his wishes even when I thought he was wrong? Why? And how could he place Sheridan in such jeopardy? Kosh knows Sheridan's importance, his role in what is to come. Surely Kosh knew the Captain would try to come to my aid if he could. He would do the same for any of his friends, or anyone in his command, for that matter. Yet Kosh risked everything. Was there not another way of testing my faith? Was the inquisitor really necessary? I have sacrificed everything for the sake of prophecy.

   I am prepared to die, alone and friendless, if necessary. Yet the Vorlon did not consider this sufficient.

   If Sheridan had not come, I believe the inquisitor would have killed me. And yet, when the Captain did come, Sebastian was not surprised. He seemed to be waiting for him. Did Kosh mean to test Sheridan also? How could he be sure John would survive? Or does the Vorlon not care? Are we all pawns to be used at his will and then discarded when our usefulness is over? I do not want to believe that. I cannot believe that.

   Kosh has always treated me with kindness and consideration, from the first time I encountered him in you sanctuary. He inspired me to choose Sinclair for examination at the end of the war. He has advised and guided me ever since. The Vorlon has worked to unite and support us to face the coming darkness. Surely he would not undermine all that.

   And what of Sheridan? Kosh had never shown any interest in the humans before. He even attends the Council meetings now, something he had never done before the Captain arrived. John has told me that Kosh is teaching him. Why would Kosh go to all that trouble and then subject Sheridan to the inquisitor also? I do not understand. And the Vorlon will not explain.

   Sheridan does not trust Kosh in the same way he did before. It is not surprising. Was it worth it? I do not know. I can only fear for the future.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   19 December 2259

   Mayan,

   English is a very strange language. There are words that sound the same, yet have different meanings, and words that have the same meaning but do not sound at all alike. Did you know that the word that is a synonym for however is also, with the addition of an extra letter - which is not pronounced, so why is it added? - a colloquial term for buttocks; and this same spelling also connotes a target for arrows? It is all very confusing. I think John is right. He says I have the damnedest gaps in my vocabulary. Although I do not understand why I would wish to consign this gap to eternal torment.

   Curses in English are also very strange. They all seem to deal with reproductive or excretory functions and involve all sorts of impossible anatomical positions, usually with one's mother. Susan and Mr. Garibaldi have been teaching me some of them. I told them that the worst thing you can say to a Minbari is that his soul makes the same mistakes every time it is reborn. Susan laughed and said it sounded very Russian.

   I already knew John's favorite expletive - absofragginglutely. I have no idea what it means, except that it is used for emphasis. When I used it in conversation with him, he did not correct me, so I assume I used it properly. John seemed surprised I learned so quickly.

   It is strangely quiet on the station lately now that the Narn have been defeated. It is as though everyone is holding his breath, afraid to make a move, waiting for the next calamity. John and I took advantage of the relative calm to have dinner a few nights ago.

   We had something called pizza, a dish from the same part of Earth where Mr. Garibaldi's ancestors were born. Pizza is a round dough covered with a sauce of tomatoes and topped with assorted meats and vegetables and a special cheese. It is baked until the dough browns lightly and the cheese melts. It is eaten hot, with the hands. When I took my first bite, the cheese stretched and stretched but refused to separate from the slice. As it stretched, the cheese drooped and dipped so that I had to hold the slice above my head as I ate to prevent the cheese from falling all over the table and myself. John found it very amusing, but I noticed he had the same difficulty. When I suggested using a knife to cut the cheese, he said it would be sacrilegious. I don not understand what a deity has to do with it.

   Mr. Garibaldi said much the same thing when I suggested using a knife to cut it into smaller pieces would make it easier to eat the noodle dish he once made for me. He said spaghetti should never be cut. It would offend the gods. I wonder why his people have such a horror of using knives to cut their food. Still, he is a very good cook and I look forward to his invitations.

   I have not invited him to dinner yet. I did invite John once to a ritual meal prepared by Lennier, who, it will not surprise you to learn, is a very good cook. Since Lennier became my aide, my meals are much improved. Poor Dukhat! What he endured until I learned to cook properly, I cannot begin to describe. How did the custom of cooking for one's mentor begin in the first place?

   Unfortunately, John had to leave right after the meditation. It was not his fault he was called away after only a few bites. Lennier should have been more charitable in his remarks afterward. Although it was very funny when John denied he fell asleep during the meditation. He made this strange noise. It is called snoring, I think. I have learned it is not nice to accuse someone of snoring.

   I must close now. I know I have been remiss in writing lately. I can only plead the excuse of much work, which is really no excuse at all for neglecting a friend. Forgive me and write soon.

   IVN, Delenn

   

    ----------

   28 December 2259

   Entil'Zha,

   You have read the reports. Those who were not blinded by their own beliefs realize who rescued Sheridan. How long before our enemies take notice of the human for whom a Vorlon would take such a risk? If they have not already done so. Kosh's interest in the Captain is obvious to anyone who has spent any time on Babylon 5. Kosh never attended Council meetings until Sheridan's arrival. The human's desire to learn and Kosh's willingness to teach has caused comment before now. Our enemies will want to learn what makes the human special to the Vorlon. We are not ready for such scrutiny.

   The ignorance of our enemies has been a powerful ally until now. We must try to keep them ignorant a while longer. We cannot prevent the Shadow agents from learning what they can from public records. But we must prevent them from learning what Kosh and I believe is Sheridan's role in the prophecies; and that we plan an alliance of Minbari and humans. I suggest you assign more Rangers to patrol of this sector, to gather information and to provide an extra measure of protection. We know of at least one enemy agent who regularly visits the station. Mr. Garibaldi and I are doing everything possible to discover if there are others.

   The new ship is almost ready. I had planned to observe the test flights due to start in a few days. I dare not do so now in case our enemies take an interest in me as a friend of Sheridan's. I am sending Lennier. I want him to familiarize himself with the ship's operations, as Sheridan will need a translator when he takes command. Lennier is well suited to the task. If the tests go well, we are prepared to start production of the first wave of ships immediately. Such a massive building project cannot be kept a secret for long. We should prepare for problems with warrior caste interference.

   All our hopes will come to nothing if Sheridan is destroyed. His safety must be our first priority.

   Take care, Jeffrey.

   In Valen's Name, Delenn

   

    ----------

   31 December 2259

   Mayan, old friend,

   Am I so transparent or is it that you know me too well? I cannot deceive you and it is time I stopped trying to fool myself as well. You are right, as usual. I've known for quite some time now, even though I've tried to ignore it. I knew when I asked for permission to tend the Markab. I caressed his cheek, knowing it might be my only chance to touch him as I longed to do. I knew as he held me when I wept for the dead afterward.

   Even in the depths of my grief and pain, when he put his arms around me, I felt I was home, I was where I belonged. I knew when I placed my hand on his one day in the gardens. I could hear my heart beating and feel my body trembling. It is so obvious, I thought. Even he must notice. If he had not been called away, I would probably have made a fool of myself. I am sure you can see it in my eyes. There are times when I dare not look at him for fear of revealing it.

   I might as well admit it. I am in love with John Sheridan. There, I've said it aloud, finally. I, Delenn of the Minbari, satai and priest, have fallen passionately in love with Sheridan Starkiller, the most notorious of humans. Absurd, isn't it? Then why does my heart ache so?

   Mayan, I love him with all my soul. My days are filled with thoughts of him and my nights with dreams of his caresses. I wake quivering with desire for him. I did not think I would ever love again. I never knew I could love like this. I am incomplete without him. I do not understand; I only know it is so.

   I do not know what he feels for me. I do not know if he loves me or even if he can love me. He is human, I am Minbari. The differences are too great between our cultures.

   We were enemies in the not so distant past. Can he forget that? And if he can, if he does love me, is our love even possible? Can we be lovers? Is a physical union possible.

   I think so. I have done some research. My body is compatible with his, although there are still differences. Will he want to make love to me? I could not bear it if he did not. But I am putting the cart before the horse, as the humans say. First, I should know how he feels.

   He cares for me, of that I am sure; as sure as one can be in these matters. Perhaps he more than cares. Once or twice I have seen him look at me unawares. The evening we had pizza, we walked in the gardens afterward. I turned to say something and saw a tenderness and vulnerability in his eyes. Or maybe I imagined it. I hope not. If only I could be sure. If he were Minbari, there would be no problem, of course. I could ask him in the prescribed manner. But humans are not so direct. They do not have the rituals that make such things easier. And there is no one I could, or would, ask.

   He was pleased I came to his quarters to see how he was after the core shuttle explosion. After a while, I realized there was a tension between us, as though he was suddenly aware that I was female and he was male and the bedroom was only a few feet away. I left a few minutes later. I think, I hope, I pray that he is falling in love with me. I wish I had your experience in this matters, Mayan. You always know.

   I must stop now. John has invited me to celebrate the arrival of the new year. We are going out to dinner and then we will join Susan and Michael and a few others. It will be interesting to see how humans greet the new year.

   I do love him so....

   IVN, Delenn

 

*****

 

 

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