Alex Greenway shot a look around the customs area as he came up to the security guard. Nothing could be allowed to go wrong--this was too important for that.
He handed his identicard to the guard and waited patiently, scanning the area as he did so.
"Oh, back again, eh? That's three times this month," the security guard said, and Greenway glanced at him before returning to his scan of the room.
"I do a lot of business here."
The guard handed him back his identicard, and must have noticed the way he was looking around.
"Anything I can help you with?" he asked.
Just then, Greenway spotted his target talking to a blond-haired woman on the other side of the customs area.
"No, thank you," he replied. "I've found what I'm looking for."
This would be one of the harder missions Greenway had been on for a while. He not only had to find his target and get him alone, he also had to do it within a certain time frame. Too late, in this case, really would be too late.
He hated to think of what could happen then.
Greenway watched the people in the corridor carefully. There was a great deal that could go wrong with this mission, and so the need to be wary, and watchful, had been emphasized.
And that watchfulness was paying off, he thought, as he heard his target's voice coming from around the corner, moving in this direction. He stepped swiftly behind a pillar, and watched as his target moved past, surrounded by a group of other security officers.
"From now on, nobody gets in without the proper ID--I don't care if you know them by sight or not," his target was saying as they passed the pillar that hid Greenway from them.
Greenway took a moment to look behind the group, to make sure that there were no other security officers, or other tails, there, and then walked calmly after his target. With a little bit of luck, and careful planning, he might just be able to make it with some extra time to spare.
Greenway frowned slightly as he hurried down the stairs after his target. Entil'zha had mentioned that the man was good, but then, so was Greenway himself. And yet, the target had managed to avoid him for the past half an hour.
He reached the bottom of the stairs and started along the corridor, only to stop short as he heard the characteristic whine of a charged PPG, and felt a muzzle pushed against the side of his head. He then felt a grip on his arm, and was turned around and pushed against the wall.
His target was standing there, PPG pointed straight at Greenway.
"Okay, pal, you've got ten seconds to explain why you're following me," his target, who now seemed to have turned into his captor, said.
The area seemed empty, except for the two of them. This might just be the chance that Greenway had been aiming at.
"I need to talk to you," he said, looking Chief of Security Michael Garibaldi in the eye.
"About what?" the other demanded.
"I--" Greenway began, and then shut his mouth as he heard footsteps behind him. He glanced over his shoulder in time to see two more security officers hurry up.
"Relax, I got him," Garibaldi said to them, and then turned back to Greenway. "So talk."
Greenway looked up at him and sighed. This was not going well at all--he'd underestimated the Security Chief, and had quite possibly jeopardized his own mission by doing so. But with others there, he couldn't talk. His orders had been quite explicit about that, and he agreed completely with Entil'zha's reasons for those orders. So he wouldn't say a word about why he was here, until he got to speak to Garibaldi alone.
"That's what I figured," Garibaldi said, and shoved Greenway at the security officers. "Take him down to Holding and keep him there until the reception's over," he ordered.
Greenway gritted his teeth and went quietly, hoping that he might still get a chance, before it was too late.
He'd been sitting in Holding for almost an hour before he heard about the Centauri Emperor's collapse, and he couldn't decide what he should be feeling about it. On the one hand, it was a sad thing, as the Emperor was apparently dying because of this collapse.
On the other hand, however, it meant that he wasn't yet too late. There might still be enough time to warn Garibaldi before the Centauri faction that they were so worried about made its move. But for that to be the case, he'd have to talk to the Security Chief quickly--enough time had already been wasted.
He stood up and strode over to the door of the Holding cell, feeling as he did so the data crystal in his belt. He was just glad that the security guards who had brought him here hadn't found it, much less taken it.
"I need to talk to Mr. Garibaldi," he said through the door.
The door slid open and a youngish security guard looked at him carefully. "Oh?" he said.
"It's extremely important," Greenway added, letting a touch of desperation--real, not faked--creep into his voice.
The guard paused for a moment, and then nodded. "I'll tell him," he said, and closed the door behind him.
Two minutes later, the door opened again, and the same guard stood there and gestured to him. "He'll see you."
The guard held onto his arm until they reached Mr. Garibaldi's office, and then let go and left.
"All right, you've got five minutes," Garibaldi said, and Greenway noticed that he seemed exhausted. Not surprising, of course, considering the events of the day; or, at least, the events that he'd heard about.
He reached into his belt and took out the precious crystal. "I was sent to find you," he said, glancing uneasily at the door. He held the crystal out to the chief. "I have a message.
"I believe this will explain everything," he added, moving forward a bit more and putting the crystal on the desk.
Garibaldi picked up the crystal, put it in a port, and said, "Play."
An image of Entil'zha appeared on the screen, and he began to speak.
"In the name of our friendship I ask that you give them every courtesy and cooperation.
"I wish I could tell you more, wish I could warn you. But the others don't think it's time yet.
"Stay close to the Vorlon, and watch out for Shadows. They move when you're not looking at them," Entil'zha finished, and the screen blinked off.
Garibaldi looked at Greenway. "Well I'll be a son of a--" he began, and then stopped short as his link beeped.
As Greenway listened to the message, he felt a chill run down his spine. Had it been too late after all? What had happened?
Garibaldi pressed his link. "Captain, this is Garibaldi. We've got a problem down in the Ambassadorial Wing."
"Yes, I thought we might," came a voice through the link. Greenway recognized it from the files he'd seen as being Captain Sheridan's. "The Centauri just destroyed a Narn colony in Quadrant 14. I'm on my way to the Ambassadorial Wing right now; just send me a couple of security people."
"Got it," Garibaldi said, and quickly sent a few men to help the captain.
Once he had finished, Greenway stepped forward.
"There's something that I think you ought to know, Mr. Garibaldi," he said, knowing that Entil'zha would want him to do this.
"There's another major race out there, and it's developed ties to a certain faction of the Centauri government. If a Narn colony has been destroyed, then it's likely that they were involved."
Garibaldi looked at him penetratingly. "What sort of major race?" he demanded.
"For now, that's all I can tell you; except that you might want to mention this to a couple of people that you trust--discreetly, of course, without bringing us or Ambassador Sinclair into it."
Greenway stood in a corridor leading from the Babylon 5 Council Chambers to Green 2. An emergency meeting of the Council had been called to deal with the events in Quadrant 14, and Greenway didn't have to be there to know the gist of what would be happening now. He had no doubt that the Narns would declare war--the entire attack had been too obviously Centauri organized that it left the Narn Regime with little choice.
And we daren't let them know the truth, he thought, with a touch of despair. It was too dangerous; if the Narns were told the truth of the matter, and if they believed it (which was hardly certain, especially considering the results of Ambassador G'Kar's disappearance around New Year's), any actions they would take would just alert the enemy. And an alerted enemy could result in the darkness coming over everything.
Enough, he told himself curtly. He didn't have either the time or the luxury to wonder what would happen if they told the Narns--it was not going to occur. Better now to concentrate on the upcoming meeting.
He had another message to deliver; a somewhat less mysterious, and less time-sensitive, one than that which he'd given Garibaldi. The Chief of Security couldn't be told yet; the one who was to receive this message already knew.
He heard a slight commotion in the corridor, and turned to see the ambassador walking toward him. She was alone, which was a relief--secrecy was the order of the day.
The ambassador stopped as she came abreast of Greenway, and looked at him questioningly.
"Ambassador Delenn," he said, bowing to her in the manner of warrior to Satai, "I have a message for you." He handed her the other data crystal he'd carried. "It's from an old friend of yours."
The Ambassador nodded in acknowledgement. "Thank you," she replied calmly.
As the Chief of Security escorted him to the customs area, Greenway kept a wary eye on the crowds. Babylon 5 was very important, as a peacekeeper and as a hope for the future, and had to be protected. They couldn't let enemies get away with their plans and schemes here; or, at least, they couldn't not know enough to halt those plans and schemes when the time was right. So he always watched.
"I want to thank you again for your help," Garibaldi said. "You may have saved the lives of a quarter million Narns."
Greenway looked at him and slowed to a stop as he answered. "So then you will give us the cooperation we need?"
"On one condition," Garibaldi replied firmly.
"I want you to keep me informed of what you and the other Rangers hear out there. If we've got a shooting war on our hands, we can use all the information we can get."
"Consider it done," Ranger Greenway replied. "As long as you keep our presence here a secret."
"You got a deal.
"Oh..." Garibaldi added, as Greenway began to turn away, "one last thing. Aside from me, does anyone know you're here?"
Thinking of the message he'd delivered to Ambassador Delenn, Greenway replied, "Just one other," before turning away and going up the ramp.