Categories > TV > Babylon 5 > Spirit Storm

Chapter 3

by Fastwalker 0 reviews

An above top secret mission in Sector 14 draws attention from C&C, Strange Universe gets another call from Aeon Rider.

Category: Babylon 5 - Rating: PG - Genres: Fantasy - Characters: Alfred Bester, Galen, Jeffrey Sinclair, John Sheridan, Londo Mollari, Michael Garibaldi, Vir Cotto, Zack Allan - Warnings: [!!] [?] - Published: 2006-11-27 - Updated: 2006-11-28 - 2416 words

Chapter 3: Sector 14

E.A.S. Holy Grail

Sector 14

Two months later...

The bridge's holographic display showed a brilliant, fluid, ovoid of white light hanging in space. It shone before all eyes of the crew, surrounding a blanket of shimmering blackness. Captain Thomas Keel studied the anomaly from his chair. Something about it gave him an uneasy feeling of deja vu. It was an unknown, another crack in his already crumbling cut-and-dried world view. With the Babylon Project, it had seemed the galaxy would at last know peace. However, some of the rumors he had been hearing, he feared, might lead to events that would destroy that possibility forever. Somewhere out on the rim of known space, dark shapes were moving in the night, and Keel wondered if there were some connection between them and the anomaly that shimmered before him.

As for Jack Green, his civilian contract with Earth Force was almost up. The only two things he really cared about right now, besides the task at hand, were early retirement and settling down with the girl of his dreams. She, at this moment, sat to his right, monitoring the status of the probe about to launch. An attractive brunette, about thirtyish, Raven Starr had managed to fool the medical examiner's instruments to indicate she was totally human. As it was, Jack was the only one on board who knew she was a Techno-mage, with reasons of her own for concern about the anomaly they were studying right now.

"Tachyon emissions stable, captain," said Jack. "All systems nominal."

Keel watched the display from his chair. "Launch the probe."

A polished metal disk-shaped craft deployed from the Holy Grail's underbelly. The crew watched the holographic display as the probe slowly neared the rift. A wave of tachyons washed over as it passed through and out of sight, as though passing through a waterfall made of light. For several minutes no one said a word, the only sounds heard were the steady sonar-like tones of the ship's tracking system mixed in with communications from other areas of the ship. Raven Starr sat to Jack's left watching her console intently. A red flashing light on her console stopped flashing and stayed on. Her eyes lit up as she said, "I've got video." She hit record.

"Let's see it," said the captain.

The scene changed to a vortex of light energy at first. With some fine tuning, one scene locked in. It was a battle between the Minbari and an unknown enemy, with the Minbari losing badly. Keel white-knuckled the arms of his chair as the black and spidery enemy ships sliced through the hull of a Minbari starbase with their beams of red lightning. The starbase flashed and blazed in its death throes, erupting in an explosion of light and fire. It disintegrated into glowing dust particles, and the enemy moved out, victorious. Some time later, in the same area, another structure phased into view. Cylindrical, metal five miles long. Megalithic solar panels fanned outward at the tail section. Jack stood up from his chair, looking on in awe and disbelief.

He whispered, "Babylon 4." Captain Keel's eyes blazed as he gripped his chair arms tighter. Jack looked at Raven and she looked back with an amazed smile. The captain asked, "Starr, you getting all this?"

"Yes sir, I began recording the moment the video signal started coming through."

Keel said, "Mr. Green, what were those enemy ships?"

Jack shook his head. "Unknown, captain. They don't fit any configurations in the Jane's Guide. Besides, according to my probe readings...stand by one." He checked readings on his console. "What the hell? According to my readings here, the probe's time stamp is...about a thousand years off!"

"What!" Keel jumped up from his chair, eyes riveted to the screen. "A thousand years in the future, the past, what?"

"In the past, captain. We're looking at a scene that took place a thousand years ago."

"Alright," said Keel. "Everyone be advised, what we're seeing here is now classified above top secret. Once we get back to Earth, no one leaves this ship until they've been debriefed."

They observed two Vorlon ships coming into view flanking the station. A while later, two Minbari light cruisers hove into view. Jack studied them as they headed toward the station. "I don't understand," he said to Raven. "I've studied Minbari history, including the more bizarre stuff, and there's no mention of this."

"None the Minbari would admit to," said Raven.

"Starr," said Keel, "continue recording and play back what we've got so far."

"Aye aye, sir."

More different scenes played out. A ship bearing a slight resemblance to a metallic dragon destroyed what appeared to be a nuclear device, then engaged in combat with several black organic looking craft. Five more black ships, this time of triangular configuration were seen also. Jack turned to Raven and said just out of Keel's earshot, "You ever seen anything like that before?"

"Uh-uh," she whispered.

"Is there a problem down there?" asked Keel.

"No sir," replied Jack, playing it cool. "We're just trying to figure out the make of those ships." Turning back to Raven, he said in a low tone, "Cut the crap. You have seen them before."

Raven played it back, zooming in on the foremost ship. She scanned for the three frequencies used in forming a techno-mage's signature rune. "No, it can't be," she whispered. She then scanned the ships flanking him on either side. "Raistlin...Morganna..." The second ship from the rear. "Gandalf."

"I knew it," said Jack. "Those are you're people. You wanna tell me what you were doing in Syria Planum?"

She pretended to ignore him, scanning the three frequencies of the ship bringing up the rear, and found the rune for mystery, one of the tenets of the Techno-mage Code, "Merlin," she said, identifying the last ship. "I don't believe this. Jack, what's the time stamp on you're readings now?"

"It was fluxuating. Best guess is...several months from now. What are they doing in the rift?" Jack wanted to know.

Shaking her head slowly, Raven said, "They're not here yet, that is if we really are looking at the future..."

"How can you be sure?"

"Because that was my ship in the lead, and I know I've never been here before."

Growing tired of the conspiratorial tone of Jack and Raven's conversation, Keel said, "Are you two gonna keep it up with your little secrets, or will you share with the rest of--"

Jack was about to answer when Keel spotted a nearly subliminal flash on the hologram. "Hold it!" he said. "Reverse image!" The object backed itself up in the display until it was clearly visible. "Freeze." The image froze. "Zoom and enhance."

There before them in plain sight, was a sea-going vessel from Earth, a U.S. Navy destroyer escort. On the bow were the figures DE 173.

Echoing Raven's earlier sentiments, Jack said, "No, it can't be."

"Can't be what?" asked Keel.

"That's what I'm about to find out," Jack said, "Computer, access Earth historical archives, World War II, United States Naval Registry. I need the name of the ship that matches registry number delta echo one seven three."

A Digitized female voice said, "Stand by."

Moments passed. Captain Keel, having sat back down, shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

"Match found," said the computer. "United States Naval Registry number delta echo one seven three assigned to U.S.S. Eldridge."

"I'll be damned," Jack said, sinking into his chair. "The story was true after all."

Captain Keel, now steely-eyed, said, "Jack, do you mind telling the rest of us what the blazes is going on here!"

Jack explained hesitantly, "It's an old U.S. Navy destroyer escort, sir."

"No kidding. What it's doing here?"

Oh boy, Keel's gonna love this one, Jack thought. "Captain, have you ever heard of the Philadelphia Experiment?"

Keel stared in disbelief. "Not the...ship that disappeared..."

"During a radar invisibility test in World War Two, right," Jack picked up the train of thought. "It reappeared several hours later with some of the equipment damaged or missing. Crew members were missing too, and some were actually imbedded in the steel bulkhead. Yes sir. That Philadelphia Experiment. The US government pulled the plug on further research and directed resources to the Manhattan Project. Meanwhile, depending on which version you prefer, certain private interests stepped in and funded a forty year investigation into what actually happened to the Eldridge. In 1983, a new experiment ripped a hole in the time space continuum, linking the two projects, and through further research, created a time loop spanning thousands of years. All of this is alleged, of course."

Keel leaned forward in his chair. "Jack, you've been listening to Strange Universe too long."

"Sir, with all due respect, believe, or don't believe." Jack pointed at the display. "There it is. What are we going to do about it?"

The holographic display disappeared. "I've lost contact with the probe!" Raven said with alarm.

Keel stared intently at where the display had been. "Ah hell." He pushed a button on the right arm of his chair. "Flight deck, this is the captain. Ready Beta Wing for launch in fifteen minutes."

Keel looked down at Green, slightly squinting his eyes. "You're on, Jack."


"Upload the probe's last known coordinates to the Odyssey, and stand by to launch with Beta Wing, This whole mission is for nothing without live recon." Keel rose from his chair. "Let's go."

Jack gave Raven a slightly worried look as he stood up. She eyed him with a smirk and one eyebrow raised. "Be careful out there."

He handed her the data crystal Logan had entrusted to him. "It's for Jimmy, in case I don't come back. You know where he is, right? Make sure he gets this." With that, he exited the bridge following behind Keel.


The Odyssey was a triangular craft with a bubble canopy on top, currently docked upside down beneath the Holy Grail's underbelly. Jack readjusted the seat straps as he surveyed the controls.

"Odyssey to Holy Grail," he said into his headset mic, "anybody want anything from the other side while we're heading that way?"

"A large pepperoni pizza with extra cheeze and a cold twelve-pack," Raven's voice came through loud and clear. "Get us some real food for a change."

"That's a roger. Standing by to undock."

"You are go for undocking," Bender said. "Beta wing, you are go for launch. Good hunting."

The Odyssey detached, drifting down and away from the Holy Grail. Jack fired the guidance rockets on one side, uprighting the craft. He fired the main engine, sending Odyssey speeding toward the rift. Two Starfuries formed up behind him.

Once they passed through, Raven monitored their progress from her station. Several minutes passed.

"Odyssey, Holy Grail. Talk to me, Jack. What do you see out there?"

A moment of silence. Jack's voice said, "We have visual on the probe, but can't lock on, doesn't appear to be transmitting...damn, it's gone again. Just sort of faded into the noise...the vortex itself is fading...Holy Grail, we seem to have reached the other side. How copy, over?"

"Loud and clear, Jack."

"Can see stars, stand--one...lost the probe again. Holy Grail, we have visual on a rather dead-looking planet...if my readings are correct, we've reached the Alpha Omega system. Can y'...cop...?"

"Odyssey, say again. You're breaking up."

A loud static crash blended with Keel's words, "Picking...strong neutrino emiss... Guys, we've got company! Let's get...! OH MY GOD!"

Another static crash, followed by the most unearthly scream they had ever heard, not a human cry of pain, but the war cry of chaos incarnate. It faded into white noise, upon which the Holy Grail crew hung on like a thread.

"Odyssey, Holy Grail, do you copy?" Raven said. No answer. "Beta wing, Holy Grail, do you copy?" Their only answer was static crashes and white noise. Raven's heart dropped into her stomach as she stared into empty space. "Jack," she whispered.


Queue music: catchy Dave Matthews-type jazz-rock fusion

"Live from Earth to the Epsilon System and beyond, this is Strange Universe with your host, Chris Thomas."

Music fades out

"Greetings to all sentient beings in the Earth Alliance and beyond, and welcome to the second hour. I just received a message from someone claiming to be an associate of the Aeon Rider, and this person has requested that I read, here on the show, an article that appeared in the April 10th edition of the Free Mars Chronicle. The system is running a little slooooooow tonight, so while I'm waiting for the article to come up on screen, if it's what I'm thinking, it has to do with the unknown ships that were tracked over Syria Planum. Now, all you conspiracy heads out there probably know that Syria Planum is home to some pretty interesting stuff that if I went into details on here, the network would pull the plug on my show faster than I could say 'Be seein' you.' Ok, the story is up and...what? You're kidding... He's on line three?... Back from Oblivion, folks, the Aeon Rider is on the air. Good evening sir."

"Hey Chris, how ya doin' bud?"

"I'm fine, where the hell have you been? My listeners have been getting worried."

"Dude, you wouldn't believe in a million years what I've been through the last two months."

"Ah, you never know. Let's see... the last time you were on, before we lost your signal, you said there was a connection between the East Coast dig and the unknown ships that were tracked over Syria Planum."

"You've got a good memory, Chris. And, picking up where I left off, here's the missing link. Ever heard of Techno-mages?"

"Now... I've heard of Techno-pagans--"

"Not exactly the same thing. In fact there's a huge difference I can't even go into--"

"Aeon, you're not a Techno-mage are you?"

"No, I wouldn't survive the-- never mind. Back to what I was saying earlier; the key to this whole thing is--..."


"Hold on a second...Damn. Man I've gotta go."

Several seconds of dead air.

"Caller?... Aeon Rider, are you there? ... Yeah, we've lost the downlink again. Oh well. Another interesting call from the Aeon Rider, from whom we've learned... nothing. When we come back, an insider scoop on the Jimmy Rayne case. Stay tuned."
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