the pearl


Susan stood in front of her family's graves, trying not to cry. It had been far too long since she last stood on Earth, and far too long since she stood here.

She shivered and dug her hands deeper into her large coat. In a way, she wanted the cold, needed it to keep herself strong, collected, calm.

She absent-mindedly rubbed the long scar that snaked down her arm. She had never believed that they would all be taken from her. She thought she had time, time enough to forgive, time enough to forget. But that one day, spent all alone in the deathly still blackness of space, had taught her that time was the one thing she had little of.

She stood there for a second longer, then reached into her pocket. She had neglected her family for far too long.

She pulled a bumpy green stone from her pocket and placed it on Ganya's grave. It was from the Narn homeworld, worthless to humans, but of deep religious significance to the Narn. She remembered Ganya's fascination with that planet, with the people. He had joined Earthforce in the hope that he would get to see the homeworld. The Earth-Minbari war had taken away those hopes, those dreams. She stood in front of the grave of her elder brother for a minute, then turned to her father's.

In front of her father's grave, she placed a 'Shok crystal. Delenn had given it to her when John had told her about Susan's quest. "The 'Shok reminds us that the roughest stone can create the sharpest blade, the greatest beauty," Delenn had said, when she placed the uncut crystal into her hands. Susan placed the stone on her father's grave. He had told her that he loved her, seconds before he died. And she had realized that all the arguments, all the bitterness, had shaped her into what she was today.

She finally stood in front of her mother's grave. It had been almost twenty years since she last stood here. She reached deep into her pocket, and pulled out a small round Earth stone, worn smooth by years of tumbling in the Volga River and years of Susan holding it in her hands. She remembered the family trip, when she found this stone. She had been five. Her father told her to put the nasty rock back into the river, to behave, to act like a girl, to act like an Ivanova. Her mother simply smiled, placed an arm around Susan's shoulders and told her to hide it in her purse, so that her father wouldn't find out about it.

Susan held the stone to her chest for a second, then placed it on her mother's grave. "Goodbye, mother," she said, trying to hold back the sobs.

She stood in the cemetery, finally allowing herself to cry.

This Babylon 5 story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at