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Crossing chasms in small jumps

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Sometimes, what Susan really needed after a long day of troubleshooting in various places on Babylon 5 was a brawl. The craving didn’t overtake her often, but when it did, she needed it more than a hot bath, more than fine liquor and – just then – even more than Talia. Inadvertently taking on the station’s Green Drazi leadership had been a godsend.

The Drazi ambassador always made sure she knew about the festivals she was supposed to attend. She’d met Tirk and his age-mates on one such occasion where the drink had been oddly delicious and in damn near every shade of green. Toward the end of the affair all the youngsters who had so far spent their time at the farthest table from Susan’s had insisted on reciting poetry for her. Green Leader had been expected to judge them and Susan had done so despite understanding maybe a tenth of the words, feeling a bit guilty for mostly giving points for their dramaturgic performance.

When the idea had first come to her, Susan had taken care to stay far away from the Ambassador and his staff. That way lay interplanetary incidents and complications she’d have to fess up to John. The first few Drazi she had approached had been reluctant – Drazi supposedly only fought Drazi every five cycles. The day after she’d declared him Poetry Competition Winner Tirk, the aspiring shuttle pilot who’d been one of the last to go down during the green and purple craze, had volunteered.

(When they had beaten one another up for fifteen sessions, Susan had learned that most of the poem texts were highly embarrassing to the Drazi youths, and that they’d been expected to persevere no matter what. Green Leader hadn’t decided yet whether this counted enough to make a pattern.)

Susan had always been afraid of what would happen if one day she let go of all her frustration, all her pent-up anger. Her fear. She was holding back even now. But sparring - brawling, really – with Tirk and whichever age-mates he dragged along with him, she felt… better. She’d never get the same out of pitting herself against her Earth Force subordinates. Even if the Drazi kept holding back because Michael had threatened to arrest them if they incapacitated his lieutenant commander, there would always be at least one blow that’d hurt more than anticipated.

And in the privacy of Susan’s quarters, Talia would no longer comment on Susan’s demand for violence; instead, she would run her gloveless fingers over the bruises and Susan’s spirit would find peace of a different kind.