15 September 2264
En route Sh'Lassen System
I'm trying to pull myself out of a metaphysical quicksand. My head is swimming in a flood of theories, possibilities, and unnatural responsibility. No one can throw me a rope and night is coming. I'd give up, but I don't have the luxury of going insane. There's too much at stake.
I'll try to explain what I'm talking about. Last week the Artemis was ordered to patrol and take scientific readings in Sector 14, due to increased anomaly activity and reports of phantom vessels in the area. That mission has changed everything.
08 September 2264 16:51 HOURS - Epsilon Eridani - Sector 14
Channel 7 Sigma Leader LCDR McCoy: Sigma Squad, this is McCoy. Form up. We're going to execute a grid patrol. Our mission is to forget about the stories we've all heard and pay attention to the job at hand. Stay focused. Stay in formation, and follow me. Let's go.
Computer - lock Sector 14 beacon 1.
Computer: Unable to filter excessive tachyon emissions. Standby.
Computer: Beacon 1 locked.
We patrolled Sector 14 for an hour without incident. We were on our way back to the ship when reality went to hell…
17:56 HOURS - Sector 14
Computer: WARNING - tachyon event - excess emissions- scanners at 50% and dropping.
Gold Channel Captain Trauger: McCoy! Get back to the ship. We think the anomaly is going active.
Gold Channel Sigma Leader: Aye, aye. Understand return to ship.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: Sigma Squad. The anomaly is about to pop. Follow me back to the ship. After burners on my -
There was a flash. Everyone was blinded momentarily. Every warning light came on in the cockpit. Every alarm went off.
Channel 7 Sigma 5: Leader! (Static) God - look at that!
Computer - reset!
Channel 7 Sigma 3: Let's (static) hell out of here!
Computer: System reset. WARNING - dangerous tachyon levels. Scanners off-line. Radar at 50%.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: This is McCoy. This isn't the first time the anomaly has gone active. Stay in formation and follow me back. We'll be fine. Afterburners on my mark - mark!
Channel 7 Sigma 6: Look behind us! Look behind us!
Channel 7 Sigma 2: What the hell? I count - six bogies - fighters!
Gold Channel Captain Trauger: McCoy! You've got - I don't know how this is possible, but you've got Dilgar fighters on your ass!
Computer: WARNING! Detecting energy burst - probable weapons targeting system! Unable to locate source - due to - tachyon emissions.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: Sigma Squad! Break formation: Alpha! I say again; break formation: Alpha, and reform at mid-ship. On my mark - mark!
Weapons burst - structural buffeting.
Damn - nothing like shooting first and asking questions later.
UNICOM Captain Trauger: Unidentified Dilgar fighters, this is Captain Trauger of the Earth Alliance, stand down or we will open fire.
UNICOM Unknown Dilgar: Where are we? What have you done to us? Answer now!
UNICOM Captain Trauger: Dilgar fighters! We have done nothing. We're as confused are you are. We know that your (static) systems are locked onto our ships. This (static) warning. Any further aggressive actions will be (static) lethal (static burst).
Crap! They fired on the Artemis!
Channel 7 Captain Trauger: Dammit! This is the Captain. Return fire! No - belay my last! They're running!
Gold Channel Sigma Leader: This is McCoy! Permission to pursue.
Gold Channel Captain Trauger: Damn right. I want to know what the hell's going on here. There aren't supposed to be any Dilgar, much less six of them with fighters. They're not out here by themselves - see if you can find their support. If they target you - take them out. You should have superiority.
Gold Channel Sigma Leader: Aye, aye.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: This is McCoy! Let's find out where they're going - follow me - standard formation. If they target you - take them out. Hit it!
18:01 HOURS - Sector 14
Channel 7 Sigma 3: They're heading us towards the anomaly.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: They think we won't approach it - but I'm betting we've got better shielding. I'm betting their mother ship is hiding behind the anomaly.
Okay - watch it! The two trailing fighters coming around - target them. They're going to take a shot.
Computer: Warning! Detecting energy burst - best match targeting array. Enemy in range.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: They're targeting us - take them out!
Computer: Target locked.
Computer: Target hit.
Computer: Target hit.
Computer: Target destroyed.
Channel 7 Sigma 5: Splashed! That's both of them! The others are still headed for the anomaly - what'll we do?
Computer: Warning! Excessive tachyon emissions - scanners at 50% and falling. Radar off-line
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: I've lost radar - on visual now. Tighten formation. We're not breaking off.
Gold Channel Captain Trauger: (static) detecting a massive tachyon build up. Looks like the (static) is about to blow (static). Let them go - return to ship.
Gold Channel Sigma Leader: Aye, aye. Understand return to ship.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: This is McCoy -
Computer: Warning! Tachyon emissions beyond safe tolerances. Scanners at 20% and falling.
There was another brilliant flash. Everyone was blinded. Again, every warning light came on in the cockpit. Every alarm went off. But this time my 'Fury was shaken like a rag doll. I thought it'd break apart in a million pieces - and then suddenly everything went calm. I could see again, but I couldn't figure out where we were.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: This is McCoy - how's everybody? Report your status.
Channel 7 Sigma 2: This is 2 - I'm okay. Systems reading normal now.
Channel 7 Sigma 3: Sigma 3 here - systems normal.
Channel 7 Sigma 4: Sigma 4 - systems normal.
Channel 7 Sigma 5: This is 5 - everything okay here. Where's the Artemis? I don't see it.
Channel 7 Sigma 6: This is Sigma 6 - no damage - but, where the hell are we? What's going on?
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: Standby.
We were facing a planet that shouldn't be there, the Artemis was gone - off the sensors and off in the distance, between us and the planet, a fierce battle was raging.
Computer - current location.
Computer: Hilak 7.
Computer: Alert! Inconsistency with local beacon date.
Report local date.
Report historical reference - Hilak 7 on 2228.
Computer: Dilgar destroy Narn colony.
Crap. I was afraid you'd say that.
I don't know how, but we were witnessing first hand the 2228 Dilgar attack on a Narn colony.
The Dilgar were represented by the 4 fighters we were chasing, another 8 fighters and a war cruiser. They were going up against an old Narn battle dreadnought and five Frazi fighters. The Narn were fighting back hard, but they were taking a beating. Caught in the middle of the battle was an armed Narn tanker and a transport trying to take cover near it.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: This is McCoy. I don't know what the hell is going on, but apparently the anomaly has displaced us somehow. That planet is Hilak 7. I'm not sure of anything else but this - Dilgar are attacking Narn. We're going to do our job and protect Alliance members - stay focused on that - we'll sort the rest out later.
Listen - the Dilgar are using over 30-year-old equipment - we have superior speed, agility and weapon strength. You should be able to dodge plasma bursts from their warship. You guys are ready for this. We're going to kick some Dilgar butt.
So far they're not paying attention to us. Standby while I contact the Narn.
UNICOM Sigma Leader: Narn Dreadnought, this is Lieutenant Commander McCoy of the Earth Alliance with 6 fighters offering assistance.
UNICOM Narn Dreadnought Redclaw: This is the Narn Dreadnought Redclaw. We accept your offer of assistance. We have our hands full - help the civilians! We will not forget this. And to the Dilgar cowards attacking civilian ships. These actions will be your last!
UNICOM Unknown Dilgar: Surrender now while you have a chance, Redclaw. The EA is weak. They can not save you.
UNICOM Sigma Leader: to the civilian transport, this is McCoy of the Earth Alliance - what is your status?
UNICOM unknown Narn: We are unarmed. Please help us. We must get to the jumpgate. We have children on board.
UNICOM Unknown Dilgar: Run away while you have the chance, little Humans - or die.
Channel 7 Sigma 3: You're gonna die, sucker.
UNICOM Sigma Leader: to the Narn transport - you'll never make it to the gate - head for the freighter for cover - we'll protect you.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: This is McCoy - form up - standard formation - standby for full burn on my mark - and heat'em up, we're going in hot n' nasty.
UNICIOM Sigma Leader: to the Narn freighter, this is McCoy - can you protect the -
UNICOM unknown Narn: Yes. This is the container ship Ch'Tok. I hear you. Will attempt to protect the transport, but our weapons are limited - hurry - I show 4 Dilgar fighters headed for the transport. If you help, the Narn are in your debt and will not forget this.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: We're providing cover for the transport, follow me - hit it!
Computer: Warning! Detecting multiple targeting array bursts. Targets in range.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: Fire at will! Keep the Dilgar off of the transport.
Nearby energy burst. Frame buffeting.
UNICOM unknown Dilgar: Prepare to die, human.
I don't think so. (Heavy breathing - unintelligible sounds)
Computer: WARNING! Excessive g-force - red-out imminent.
Whoa! Aren't you surprised? How did I get here, you ask? Bye, bye.
Computer: target in range - target locked - target hit - target destroyed.
Channel 7 Sigma 4: Splashed one!
Computer: target in range - target locked - target lost.
Crap. Get back here. (Heavy breathing).
Computer: WARNING! Excessive -
Computer: target locked - target destroyed.
Channel 7 Sigma 6: The last one is running!
UNICOM Sigma Leader: Container ship Ch'Tok - we're going to leave the transport in your protection for the time being.
UNICOM Narn Ch'Tok: It is clear to the jumpgate! We can leave the area together!
UNICOM Sigma Leader: You're right! Good idea - safe journey!
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: The Frazi's have the Dilgar fighters tied up. Standby for a strafing run on the Dilgar warship. Full burn on my mark - mark!
Computer: WARNING: Detecting targeting bursts. Enemy locked on. Enemy fired. Incoming plasma burst.
Computer: WARNING! Excessive g-force.
(Heavy breathing - unintelligible sounds)
Computer: Red-out imminent. Bio-signs beyond tolerances.
Close energy burst - frame buffeting. Warning buzzers. Missed, you son of a bitch.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: commence strafing run!
Computer: target locked - target hit - target locked - target hit.
Channel 7 Sigma 3: Whoa! Look at that! She's blowing chunks!
Channel 7 Sigma 5: Yes! She's one sick warship.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: It looks like we've tipped the scale. Good work. Regroup and follow me back to the -
UNICOM unidentified Dilgar warship: Do not think that you have beaten us. You were lucky this time. There are more of us.
Channel 7 Sigma 6: She's running to the gate.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: I don't want her coming up in back of the freighter and the transport in Hyperspace. Let's finish the job - follow me.
UNICOM Sigma Leader: Redclaw - this is McCoy of Earth Alliance - you won't mind if we take a few shots at the Dilgar warship will you?
UNICOM Narn Dreadnought Redclaw: This is the Redclaw. (Laughing) Please make yourself at home - do as you wish!
Computer: WARNING! Tachyon burst.
Channel 7 Sigma 2: Look! It's the anomaly vortex! It's right on top of us!
The vortex suddenly exploded into white light. Everyone was blinded again. Every warning alarm was sounding. I felt like I was being tossed through space and it sounded like every weld and every bolt was about to pop. I had the odd sensation of being in two places at one. And then suddenly everything was calm. I could see again. In the distance was the Artemis. We were back in Sector 14.
08 September 2264 17:57 HOURS - Epsilon Eridani - Sector 14
Computer - reset.
Computer: All systems normal. Detecting nominal tachyon emissions.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: This is McCoy - report!
Channel 7 Sigma 2: Sigma 2 - I'm - I'm okay. Systems, um - systems normal.
Channel 7 Sigma 3: This is 3 - I'm good to go. I guess that was a close call.
Channel 7 Sigma 4: Sigma 4 here - still clearing my head - systems normal.
Channel 7 Sigma 5: This is 5 - A-OK.
Channel 7 Sigma 6: This is Sigma 6 - Okay here. How did we get over here by the anomaly?
Computer: Incoming Gold Channel from Captain Trauger.
Channel 7 Sigma Leader: Standby - getting a call from the captain.
Gold Channel Captain Trauger: McCoy - that was quite a blast from the anomaly. Are you alright? Report!
Gold Channel Sigma Leader: This is McCoy - we're okay, captain. We took out the Dilgar. The Narn are safe.
Gold Channel Trauger: Whoa, there. Let's back up a bit. Take a minute to clear your head. What Narn? What Dilgar? You want to try that again?
It quickly became apparent that only I remembered anything at all about the Dilgar fighters we saw in Sector 14 and the battle at Hilak 7. The squad and the captain remembered the anomaly spike, but that was all. It was as if the whole thing had never happened for everyone else.
If that wasn't troubling enough. When I got back to quarters I was met by the hologram of the Minbari Draal again. He suggested that I record what he was about to say. The following are his words:
"Nexus, your actions have had an interesting affect upon the past. Your appearance inspired the non-aligned worlds to seek help from the EA earlier than before and thus, with help from the Narn, drove back the Dilgar before much damage was done. The Narn became stronger and the Centauri continued to decline. When the Dilgar's star went nova, the Dilgar survived and the Centauri gave them the Ju'Pai system to live in. With stronger help from the Narn and no interference from the Centauri, the Minbari War was more quickly resolved without a Battle of the Line. The Babylon Project was born in partnership with the Minbari and Narn. The Dilgar fought on the side of Clark's forces during the Civil War, and so they were outlawed from all Earth territories after Clark was deposed, but they remain a force to reckon with. The Vorlons and Shadows went beyond the Rim, leaving this universe to the younger races. In this timeline, the Centauri are regaining power and rattle sabers with a strong Narn Regime that has never known their domination, while John Sheridan, as president of the Interstellar Alliance, works to create a lasting peace."
Draal told me that he was continuing his attempts to bring the anomaly under control, wished me luck, and then his hologram disappeared. Naturally I tried to verify what he was saying after he left - it's all true.
Maybe someday someone will read this journal and make sense out of what has happened - maybe not. But I can't worry about it now - no time. All I can do is whatever seems right at each moment. What else is there?
09 November 2264 16:23
EAS Artemis - en route Sh'Lassen Triumvirate
FROM: Captain Trauger
TO: Sigma Squad
The Narn religious leader D'bok claims that the EA-sponsored archeological dig on the surface of T'Llin 3 is defacing a Narn holy site. An ancient Narn presence on the planet is being debated by scientists, but instead of waiting for the findings, D'bok has called upon her followers - mercenaries, and some renegade Fifth Circle military commanders- to gather at T'Llin 3 for a show of solidarity. They're blockading the jumpgate and interfering with civilian traffic, including a much needed water shipment. The Sh'Lassen government has called for protection.
The T'Llin 3 Transfer Station is lightly armed and threatening to take action. There is a lightly armed survey ship in the area that has pledged to fight with the transfer station. At this time they're facing 1 old pre-G'Quon-class Heavy Cruiser and 5 Frazi-class heavy fighters.
Either D'bok is not informed about the EA/ Sh'Lassen agreement (protection in return for mining rights), or maybe she doesn't believe that we will take action. Our mission is to underscore her error in judgment. Hopefully our presence and the resolute stance of the transfer station will convince this zealot to stand down. We won't be taking her threats lightly though. Intelligence has found that raiders involved in the attack of the EA ambassador to T'Llin 3 convoy were mercenaries hired by D'bok.
We will jump into normal space just out of D'bok's range. Be ready to launch at 18:00.
Database Entry - Sh'Lassen Triumvirate
An alliance of the systems Sh'Lassen, Nacambad and Zafras is known as the Sh'Lassen Triumvirate. In 2259, Earth took part in defeating rebels attempting to overthrow the Sh'Lassen Triumvirate. The Sh'Lassen people are relatively new to interstellar travel and do not have a military presence in space to match even the weakest of the former Non Aligned worlds. They are protected by the EA in return for the right to co-develop the rich mineral resources in these systems.
Four years ago the Sh'Lassen Triumvirate claimed the mineral-rich T'llin 3 and built the small colony of Za-Phar on the surface next to ancient ruins.
T'Llin 3 is a desert planet, and Za-Phar is dependent upon water shipments from the homeworld. To facilitate water transfers and shipments of minerals being shipped out of T'Llin 3, the Sh'Lassen government has installed a transfer station in orbit around the planet. It is known as the T'Llin 3 Transfer Station. We have recently extended our protection agreement to cover T'Llin 3, where we believe Q40 can be found.
Database Entry - Narn Government - Fifth Circle
The government of Narn is the Kha'Ri. The Kha'Ri consists of eight circles. The First Circle rules the Regime, handing down directives to homeworld, colonies, and outposts. The Second Circle, an advisory circle, has two advisors per Counselor in the First Circle. The Third Circle is a diplomatic circle, made up of 12 Ambassadors who split their time between active duty posts and Kha'Ri sessions on Homeworld. The Fourth Circle is the Military Circle. The Fifth and Sixth circles are the continental and regional governments and military commanders of the planet and colonies. The Seventh and Eighth Circles are the Scholars Circles, whose interest is in the histories and traditions of the Narn people.
Considering recent ISN reports and what Alex said, this mission doesn't come as much of a surprise. I tried to get a message through to him to advise that maybe he and Casey should get out of there for awhile - not that he'd listen to me - especially when he's got the scent of a big discovery in his nose. But comms. are intermittent on T'Llin 3 and even worse now that D'Bok and her buddies are disrupting what was already a remote and only recently established colony.
18:10 T'Llin 3 Normal Space
Annotation: after jumping into normal space, planet side of the transfer station, the Narn fighters immediately tightened their formation near the Narn cruiser, which was stationed directly in front of the jumpgate. The civilian ships were grouped opposite near the transfer station. The freighter was inside the station. A couple of pod loaders were working to offload the water shipment as quickly as possible.
As soon as I launched, mission data was waiting on the HUD.
DESTINATION: T'Llin 3
ASSETS: EAS Artemis, Sigma Squad, T'Llin 3 Transfer Station - lightly armed, Skydancer II - lightly armed
FRIENDLY: T'Llin 3 Transfer Station, Earth-based Skydancer-class survey ship, EA shuttle EAS Fresno - unarmed
HOSTILE: D'Bok forces: 1 pre-G'Quon-class Heavy Cruiser, 5 Frazi-class heavy fighters.
NEUTRAL: 1 pod freighter: Zafras Storm - unarmed
Channel 7 Sigma Leader LCDR McCoy: This is McCoy. Okay. Form up and stay on your toes. We're waiting for the captain to make contact with the D'bok forces.
UNICOM Captain Trauger: This is Captain Trauger of the EAS Artemis to all forces under D'bok's orders. I'll remind you once that Earth Alliance has signed a protection agreement with the Sh'Lassen government. We will not stand by while you continue to harass civilian traffic. This is your opportunity to stand down. I suggest that you take advantage of it.
UNICOM Narn G'nok: And this is G'nok of the Narn Regime and follower of D'bok. responding to the "mighty" Earth Alliance. Regardless of your "agreement" with the Sh'Lassens, it does not change the fact that T'Llin 3 contains Narn holy ground. Holy ground that is being defiled by humans. I think it is you who would be wise to stand down.
Computer: WARNING - Narn Frazi-class fighter locking on.
Channel 7 Sigma 5: This is 5. I've been targeted.
Channel 7 McCoy: I assume we've all been targeted. Prepare for full-burn starburst on my command - just in case. Remember - these Frazi's are hard to kill and pack a wallop, but we have maneuvering superiority. We're going for an entrapment. Standby.
Channel 7 Sigma 5: Aye.
Channel 7 Sigma 2: (mike click)
Channel 7 Sigma 3: (mike click)
Channel 7 Sigma 4: (mike click)
Channel 7 Sigma 6: (mike click)
Channel 7 Captain Trauger: Good thinking, Max. We'll take care of the cruiser, if it comes to that. Standby.
UNICOM Captain Trauger: G'nok, this is Trauger. You know that's not going to happen. Listen. Let the scientists figure out what the ruins are all about. Whatever the outcome, let's allow the diplomats hash out a mutually acceptable agreement -
Computer: WARNING - sensing power serge. Signature suggests cruiser-class weapon power-up.
UNICOM Narn G'nok: This planet is rightfully Narn. I warn you, human retreat, or die!
UNICOM Captain Trauger: There's no need for old timers like us to mix it up. You've let D'Bok get you all fired up. Take a moment to think (transmission broken by static burst).
Computer: WARNING - pulse cannon discharge.
Channel 7 McCoy: This is McCoy! Starburst NOW!
Channel 7 Captain Trauger: Damnit! This is the captain - return fire! I say again - return fire!
UNICOM Captain Trauger: Damnit, man! You're commanding an old pre-G'Quong. All you've got are pulse cannons, and I doubt you have any more fighters up your sleeve. Stand down, or I swear I'll rip you apart.
Channel 7 Captain Trauger: Max! They shut down their comms. I'll take care of the cruiser. Deal with the fighters. Our job is to protect the civilian assets.
Channel 7 McCoy: Aye, captain.
Annotation: The Narn cruiser took a couple of hard hits immediately and started leaking something into space, but still refused to move. The captain held back after that. Their own pulse cannons were largely ineffective over the distance they were trying to use them. But they wouldn't budget from the gate. The Frazi's were completely caught off guard by our starburst maneuver, which is a spherical envelopment tactic.
I was caught off guard when the Frazi's suddenly moved out in tight formation on a beeline for the transfer station, taking minor hits from the station and the survey ship. It looked like a suicide mission. We had them completely outflanked - surrounded port, starboard, top and bottom. The Artemis started moving to block, but there's no way they were going move in time. When the Frazi's started firing, the Artemis did what it could with interceptors and anti-fighter batteries, but the captain hadn't anticipated a suicide move and was too far away to be effective. - Max
Channel 7 McCoy: This is McCoy! They're going for the station! Sigma 6, set up opposite the survey ship near the station as a back up. The rest of you are with me; we're going right up their butt - fire at will.
Annotation: All fighters but one were destroyed or disabled before they got anywhere near the transfer station. One Frazi managed to slip past Sigma 6. Six took a minor hit, fired and hit the Frazi, but not hard enough to take it out. Both the station and the Survey ship hit to too, but it kept going. I came in behind him at full burn, trying to get a clear shot.
Channel 7 Captain Trauger: Max! Take him out!
Channel 7 McCoy: I can't get a clear shot! If I miss I may hit the station or the freighter!
Channel 7 Trauger: This may be a suicide move, Max. Take your best shot!
Computer: Target acquired.
Computer: Target lost.
Channel 7 Trauger: Max ! You're running out of time! Take your shot!
Computer: target acquired.
Computer: target hit.
Crap! What's that thing made out of?
Computer: target acquired.
Computer: target hit.
Computer: target hit. Target destroyed.
UNICOM McCoy: Take cover! Incoming!
Channel 7 Trauger: Pull out! Pull out, Max!
Channel 7 Sigma 4: I can't see Max. Where's Leader?
Channel 7 Sigma 6: He's disappeared inside at full burn!
Channel 7 Sigma 4: Oh, no
Annotation: by the time I hit the Frazi there was no time to pull out. I had too much speed and was way too close. The debris from the Frazi smacked into the freighter and the station right ahead of me. I shot through the smoke figuring I'd hit something, but I didn't. When I cleared the smoke I was charging through the interior of the station, right on the deck of the freighter. Some poor loader jockey - he was midway between the top of the freighter and the inside hull of the transfer bay when he saw me coming at full burn. I've never seen one of those things move so fast. I'll bet he bent his joystick trying to get out of the way. Just missed him. Big eyes. That's what I remember - big, bugged out eyes. Somehow, and I don't even know how it did it, I shot all the way through and didn't hit anything.
Channel 7 Sigma 3: I see him! I see him!
Channel 7 Sigma 5: So do I! He shot out the other like a missile!
Channel 7 Sigma 6: The cruiser has fired up the jumpgate - they're leaving!
MISSION DEBRIEFING TRANSCRIPT - 09 November 2264:
Captain Trauger: Max - what gave you the idea of using your Starburst maneuver? I know why I'd do it, but I'm interested in what you have to say.
LCDR Robert McCoy: I knew that the transfer station and the survey ship were lightly armed. I took a chance that if the Frazi's went for a frontal attack the survey ship and the station would keep them occupied from the front. I also took a chance that if the squad suddenly scattered in every direction and then came around to flank them it'd catch them by surprise. Even if they caught on mid-way, we had maneuvering superiority and a slight edge on speed - they wouldn't be able to react in time. What I didn't figure into the equation was their willingness to make a suicide run on the station.
Captain Trauger: Neither did I. Luckily it came out okay - relatively speaking. It wasn't pretty, but damage was minimal. Your squad's maneuver out there was quite a thing to behold. It was a good choice, given the circumstances. You've created a well-trained and disciplined squad. I can't promise anything, but I'm putting you up for promotion. We're short on leaders right now. We could use some creative thinkers.
20 December 2264 21:33
EAS Artemis - en route Wolf 5 Shipyards
This will be my last post on board the Artemis. I've been promoted to Commander and given a commission to command my own ship. This opportunity is largely because of the pressing shortage of senior officers. After the Minbari War, university recruits were rushed through officer candidate school. Graduates were hurried into the field, but before we had a chance to achieve higher ranks, along came the Civil War, more chaos and another depletion of senior officers. As a result, guys like me end up at the helm of Omega class ships.
But we've all been working towards this from the beginning. I've spent countless hours in the simulator, playing through tactical situation after tactical situation, until I'm cross-eyed. I've beaten them all. I can do this. Short of real experience, I'm as ready as I'm going to get.
We're on our way to rendezvous with the EAS Phoenix, my ship. She's got a great record and has just been fitted with the latest updates.
I'll be taking over a seasoned crew from another Hyperion in the yards for a major retrofit. We'll all get to enjoy leaving weightlessness behind. I hear the XO is a good guy - a team player. He wasn't in line for this command, so no fight for dominance. Instead I'll be leaning on his experience. All the same, I'm glad our first mission is a shakedown cruise for the new gadgets.
If that's the way it turns out, because the way things are going with the IA, just about anything can happen. There are rumors of high level internal trouble in the IA, and it seems like everywhere you look there is new tension among IA members. I think the only thing that's holding the alliance together is belief in one man - President Sheridan.
That's it for now. Next entry will be from the bridge of the EAS Phoenix.
29 December 2264 08:00
This is my first official entry aboard the Omega class EAS Phoenix.
Only moments ago command of the ship was transferred to me. I'm sitting in the command chair using the newly installed data terminal.
When I entered the bridge I found the bridge staff and my new XO, Commander Tanaka, waiting for me. As he ushered me over to the command station, Tanaka reported that Vice Admiral Montoyez was expected in moments for a brief ceremony, which would take place around the command chair.
Tanaka barely had the words out of his mouth with he caught sight of the Vice Admiral over my shoulder. He called the bridge to attention. Montoyez and her assistant walked over and stood facing me.
Montoyez is the previous captain of the Phoenix. She's been given command of a battle group and a new flagship. That's why command of this ship became available. The Phoenix will be attached to her group, and I'll be getting orders from her.
Here's a bridge record transcript of the brief proceedings:
Vice Admiral Montoyez: At ease.
Welcome aboard your new commission, Captain. It is my pleasure to officially turn over command of the Phoenix to you.
She attached my Commander and Captain insignias to my epaulets, stepped back and looked at me, judging the person before her.
Vice Admiral Montoyez: I don't need to lecture you on the responsibility of commanding an Omega-class ship. I'm sure you feel that well enough. I'll add this: we are facing great challenges. We're at a turning point. Our mission is to do our part to keep the Interstellar Alliance together. Many races are looking to the EA to set the example. Others are waiting for us to make a mistake. You'll be called upon to respond to unpredictable situations, to make tough decisions on the spot. You'll have to call upon your heart, your gut, and your intellect.
The Phoenix has a great record. Don't screw it up.
Tanaka: Excuse me, Ma'am, the shuttle is standing by.
Montoyez: Thank you, Commander Tanaka.
The Vice Admiral gave me a snappy salute and turned to leave. Tanaka called the bridge to attention. On the upper deck Montoyez gave the bridge a quick farewell look, and then hurried off with her assistant at her heels.
Tanaka put the bridge at ease, turned to me and indicated the command chair.
Tanaka: On behalf of the crew, we look forward to serving with you, Captain.
As I said down, I noticed a new module attached to the left armrest.
Tanaka: The command chair is equipped with the latest version of the NavTac data terminal. I set it up for you myself and it's ready to go. This will give you all of the usual data terminal services plus an immediate connection to my station and the rest of the bridge stations. We should be receiving mission orders from the Group any time now. They're probably just waiting for the Vice Admiral to return. She's all yours, Captain. Standing by for orders.
Tanaka went back to his station.
The Vice Admiral was right. She didn't have to tell me about the responsibility that comes along with this command. Little else has been on my mind. The lives of 62 officers and 1084 enlisted men are my direct responsibility. Tough decisions will be mine alone to make, though I may have only vague information to guide me
A blinking icon on the data terminal caught my eye and snapped me out of my contemplation. There were messages waiting to be downloaded.
Stellarcom GYNAI: My friend - congratulations are in order once again. Next time we meet we will celebrate. But I am contacting you about more than your new commission. I am contacting you because of your new commission.
Perhaps you've been wondering where your old friend Gynai has been. I've been hanging around in disreputable places, amongst smugglers and ne'er do wells of every description where I heard some very strange rumors that might be of use to you.
It seems that agents of some unknown race have been moving amongst the weaker and disaffected races, offering them advanced technologies, speaking harshly of those who come from Earth. I've tried to arrange a meeting with one of these agents, but trust is not a well regarded word in their vocabulary. I will let you know if I succeed.
If you don't hear from me again drink to my memory! Strength and peace to you.
I wonder how he found out about my promotion and commission so quickly. A provocative message. Gynai has always been full of surprises.
I finally got something from Alex. I've been worried about him, considering what's been going on at T'Llin 3.
Stellarcom Alex: The situation here on T'Llin 3 has gone critical, damnit. I hope this message gets through. D'bok's radicals are clashing with the Sh'Lassen guards. I've heard that D'bok is building up her presence above the planet too.
I'll make this quick: I think I've learned the truth about what's really motivating D'bok. A couple of others and I went back into the site last night using infrared. What we found amazes even me. We stumbled onto a cache of ultra-technology - possibly weapons - hidden behind an ancient wall. The stuff has been here for over a thousand years, but it looks more advanced than anything I've ever seen! And I think this is what D'bok has been interested in all along. But how did she know about it in advance of us uncovering it? That's the million credit puzzle. We covered it back up, of course.
Casey overheard a Sh'Lassen archeologist talking about a "shadow" or "shadows" with regards to the advanced civilization that was here. Casey's still learning the Sh'Lassen language, so she's not even sure if she translated it right. She tried to ask questions, but they brushed her off. I have no idea what this means. I know one thing for sure though. D'bok's definitely crazed. It would be a big mistake to allow such advanced technology into the hands of a zealot like her. BIG mistake.
I may have to leave in a hurry. Don't know when I'll be able to contact you again. Soon, I hope. Later.
I immediately forwarded Alex's message to the Vice Admiral. Then I sent a reply to Alex telling him to get the hell out of there, but it bounced back to me. Apparently communications to T'Llin 3 are intermittent at best.
I found an ISN report that added a few more details
ISN SPECIAL REPORT: T'LLIN 3 UPDATE
D'bok (Talking Head) The recent unprovoked and brutal attack on our ships by the Earth Alliance reveals the true nature of these expansionist warmongers. But we are not afraid. We will never give up seeking the liberation of our sacred Motherworld. Earth Alliance - know that this battle is not the end - only the beginning of our sacred duty to protect the bones of our ancestors and the planet of our beginnings!
ISN Anchor: As you can see the controversy over the remote planet T'Llin 3 continues with the disclosure of two major events. Earth Alliance warships sparred with D'bok's forces in T'Llin 3 local space, destroying many of her ships. And Sh'Lassen government officials shut down the archeological dig on the planet's surface, apparently bowing to pressure. What has been learned from the dig is being withheld, and this is inflaming the situation.
Meanwhile D'bok and her rebel followers claim that the planet should be a Narn possession, based on the results of an archeological site on the planet. The D'bok rebels interpret the findings from the site as evidence of a lost motherland - a reference to Narn mythology.
Narn Ambassador Ta'Lon had a surprising and provocative reply to D'bok's claims when we spoke with him today.
Ta'Lon (Talking Head) We should not be hasty in our decisions. I can not prove it yet, but I believe D'bok to be a false prophet. I think that you'll find that her so-called miracles are merely tricks created with advanced technology. As for her claim to T'Llin 3, my understanding is that the archeologists now believe that our ancient ancestors may have been slaves to an advanced race who abducted them from Narn. If this is true, we have no valid claim to T'Llin 3. I am curious to know why she is so intent on taking the planet when current findings are ambiguous at best.
ISN Anchor: We caught up with a very busy President Sheridan today and managed to get this statement:
ISN Reporter (aboard the Babylon station, off screen): Mr. President what are you doing to avoid more hostilities between D'bok, the Sh'Lassen government, and the Earth Alliance?
SHERIDAN (aboard the Babylon station): These things get out of hand because people won't talk. And that makes it easy to de-personalize the other side. And that makes it easier to consider violence as an acceptable path. So I'm doing we are doing what we've been doing at Babylon 5 all along. We're doing our best to get the sides to sit down and talk it out either face-to-face, or through arbitrators if that's what it takes.
ISN Anchor: Public opinion supports the D'bok rebels according to an ISN poll. It is felt that since evidence of the Narn has been found on T'Llin 3, it is reasonable for a race that reveres its ancestors to protect where they are buried.
The recent decimation of D'bok's military ships in T'Llin 3 local space has some thinking that the Earth Alliance has acted too harshly in dealing with the problem.
While D'bok threatens more military action, Earth Alliance warns that it is standing by its protection treaty with the Sh'Lassen Triumvirate.
Jillian's name caught my eye. I opened her message.
Stellarcom Jillian: Hi, sorry I've been out of touch for so long. I've got to make this quick. You're the only one I can trust with this. Remember back when the Centauri said the Drazi had a spy as part of this surveying project? They were right. I was hanging out with the Drazis when they got drunk as a well, whatever the Drazi equivalent of a 'skunk' is. They're using this project as a front to search for something out here. I don't know what, except I got the sense it's dangerous. So much for my nice, simple surveying job. I'm going to stick it out for now and hope for the best. Catch you later.
I wonder if we'll ever find time in our schedules for another rendezvous at Babylon 5. I worry about which is stronger in her - the instinct for adventure or the instinct for survival.
My newsbot snagged something about the political turmoil in her sector.
ISN SPECIAL REPORT: JU'PAI SECTOR UPDATE
ISN Anchor: The situation in the Ju'Pai sector looks like it may be heating up again after a lull following hostilities between Earthforce, Centauri and Drazi ships. The confrontation began when the Centauri surrounded the Universal Terraform base survey ship, the UT Magellan, with mines which have since been cleared away. EA and Drazi patrols have kept things quiet in the Ju'Pai Sector, but the Centauri continue to demand the withdrawal of all UT ships, citing a prior claim to the systems. UT has flatly rejected the Centauri claim. Recently, the Centauri Defense Minister issued a new statement on the situation:
Centauri Defense Minister (Centauri Prime): They have been warned. We tried to make them leave peacefully, but they would not listen. Now they must withdraw as ordered. We will allow a reasonable time for this. Once that time is up, any foreign ships found in our territory, will be treated as an enemy.
ISN Anchor: UT spokesperson Jack Nichols said this latest Centauri ultimatum will not stop the Ju'Pai project:
Jack Nichols (Babylon 5) This is an act of war, that's what it is. We are within our legal rights. If they think they can intimidate us this easily, they can think again. We have a right to be there, we are going to be there. End of story.
ISN Anchor: President Sheridan has asked all the involved parties to convene at Babylon 5 to negotiate a settlement. Earthgov, the Abbai and Drazi governments have accepted his invitation, but so far the Centauri have refused to reply, leaving the possibility of a peaceful conclusion very much in doubt.
It looks like things feel apart in the Hyach sector after our mission concluded.
ISN SPECIAL REPORT: HYACH SECTOR UPDATE
ISN Anchor: Tensions are running high in the Hyach sector after recent hostilities. On Shri-Shraba, the High Arbiter of the Hyach appealed to the Brakiri, Grome and Hurr to return to the bargaining table following a Grome-Hurr attack on a Brakiri shipyard at Na'Shok.
Brakiri Ambasador (Babylon 5): We will not sit in the same room with the criminals who attacked us until we receive a formal apology and full offers of restitution.
Grome Ambasador (Babylon 5): We stand firm against Brakiri aggression and we will take any action we must to stop their attacks.
ISN Anchor: Still unable to attend the conference due to urgent business on Minbar, President Sheridan issued this statement:
SHERIDAN (Minbar):This is a regional conflict in which we have pledged not to interfere - as long as it appears there will be a peaceful resolution. But if hostilities break out, we will act. Obviously we hope there will be no need for this. We ask everyone to please find a peaceful way to resolve these differences.
ISN Anchor: Analysts say the outlook for peace in the region is bleak unless the Brakiri can provide proof of their non-involvement with the raiders plaguing area shipping lanes. Meanwhile, new attacks on Grome and Hurr ships continue to be reported.
The last thing that grabbed my eye was this intriguing ISN Editorial.
ISN Senior Editor: There are more and more rumors of Minbari clashes with an unknown force deep in remote boarder areas between our territories. Though ISN continues to pursue those who would know the answers, so far both our Minbari and Alliance contacts refuse to confirm or deny the reality of these attacks, even off the record. Add to this consistent rumors that the Whitestar fleet has been strangely absent from Alliance conflicts and one does begin to wonder. If there is indeed a new threat arising, why is it being kept quiet? What is being hidden? I smell a story. Stay tuned.
If the rumors are true, it must be buttoned down as tight as a cadet's uniform, because I haven't heard a thing about it. Even without trouble in the Minbari Sector, from what ISN, Alex, Jillian and Gynai have been reporting, my first briefing from Group Command should be eye-opening. I have this crazy little hunch that our first mission will turn out to be an 'interesting' shakedown cruise.