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faced by Babylon 5, that you will be able to grant our request."

There. Humans loved to be challenged. Perhaps that would work. The commander smiled.

"I'll do everything I can, Ambassador."

"Thank you so much."

Delenn bowed and ended the communication. He did not know how much was at stake. But she had told him all she could. She directed Nerid to have her belongings loaded on board the ship at once.



* * *



They ran up the ramp into the crawler, Anna still gripping them, unable to let go. She shot a nervous glance over her shoulder. Behind them, dust blasted in through the opening, shifting its angle like a living thing as the ramp rose, closing. The camera slipped inside, settling over Favorito's shoulder.

"Are you all right?" Razor said.

The rest of the party was already in the crawler, some seated, some standing, all watching them.

"Yes," Morden answered for her.

All three of them were hunched over, gasping for air, breathless and exhausted after the long run in the EVA suits in heavy gravity.

"I think so. What happened to the weather?"

"About an hour ago it suddenly got worse. I don't understand it. None of our projections predicted anything like this. We had to take shelter in here."

With a vibration Anna felt beneath her feet, the ramp sealed shut against the side of the crawler, and the pressure of the wind died into stillness.

"What did you find?"

Standish asked, the light reflecting off his EVA helmet. Anna found her voice.

"Have you heard from Chang's party?"

"No," Razor said.

"We tried to reach them to share information about the storm track, but no response. It's probably just interference from the storm. I was able to reach Captain Hidalgo, but the transmission was distorted. I couldn't read him."

Anna
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