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Babylon5 Crusade: of Fusion and Fission

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Babylon 5 Crusade: of Fusion and Fission


A Technomage’s transport ship looked like a small black dart. Their size made them hard to detect on scanners. But they were much larger on the inside. Galen the Technomage’s ship had many rooms and many laboratories. He had spent the last few hours preparing his mind and body to perform a dangerous and powerful ritual. He had drawn a pentagram on the shiny black floor, in mercury and liquid gold. The glowing lines of the pentagram delineated the borders of reality. Inside each arm of the star symbols and lines of power created a bubble universe where different physical laws applied. Galen had carefully planned what those laws were to be, and it was his hope, as he sat in the middle of the design, that they would be enough to let him survive the ritual.
Around the edges of the pentagram, in the area most people labelled “reality” were a tree growing out of the floor, at the apex of the pentagram, and at each of the other four points, twisted pieces of Shadow technology. His body was stripped to the waist, while his mind focused, turning inward, turning off the parts of his body and brain that created the sensations of pain. Relaxing deeper and deeper, mind relaxing body, body relaxing mind, then his mind reached down to the cells in the spine that linked the nerves coming from the body with the nerves that carried the signal to the brain. Human scientists called them the Gate Cells. Galen closed the gates. Then moved his attention to the thalamus, where nerve signals were directed to the parts of the brain that made sense of the signal, and closed it down, slowing the blood and nerve energy entering and leaving. Then he did the same to the rest of his limbic system. He knew it wouldn’t be enough to shield him from the torment of what he was about to do, but it would at least dull the coming pain and shock.
Galen turned his focus to his techno organic implants. They had been created centuries ago by alien scientists to turn people into weapons of terror. But the Technomages had rebelled and tried to become so much more than living weapons. The implants had been kept alive, passed from mage to mage down the generations, ever since. Some implants protruded through his skin, some were melded with his organs. He directed his body’s blood and nutrients away from most of them, concentrating on the one growing as part of his liver while shutting down the rest of them.
When Galen was ready he sent a thought to the Ship, and power began to build up in the room around him, grounding itself in the corners of tables, sparks leaping from point to point before leaping across to store in the pentagram.
Galen’s heart beat slowed to nine beats per minute and he felt his mind separate from the body. He looked down at the body sitting cross legged on the floor. Lean, the pale skin showing black implants and blue veins. Not bad condition for its age, he thought. He was never sure if this stage was a lucid dream, or if his spirit really was outside of his body.
“Nice work,” Alwyn said, suddenly standing next to him, looking at the equipment taking up space on the work tables, and along the walls, then down at the pentagram. “I’ve known this was possible, but I never wanted to put my body through the stress.”
“Am I dreaming you?” Galen asked, “Or is there something you want? As you’ve noticed, I’m a little busy.”
“Yes, your Place of Power is rather in need of repair,” Alwyn waved a hand at a wall of the ship, and it faded, revealing the Excalibur floating in space close to the Transport. Normally the mile long ship looked vaguely like a sword and moved sleekly through space. Now there was a hole amidships and one of the rear gun batteries was missing completely. The ship floated, crippled, in a debris field of many other smaller ships. They had attacked without warning and when it was obvious they were losing the fight, the last four ships had immolated themselves, diving into Excalibur. The crew had been working ceaselessly for days, trying to make repairs to systems that were not just broken, but had whole areas missing.
“The tree’s a nice touch,” Alwyn said. Stepping carefully over the lines of liquid gold, which seemed to flow in a complex pattern of its own, as the power built up. His robes kept changing, from white with the gold embroidered dragon, to black and a blue dragon, to gold and a black dragon. Galen realised the old man’s view of himself was changing constantly. The thought disturbed his concentration. Alwyn had always been as steady as an anchor in his life.
“Excalibur is not my Place of Power,” Galen said, sending a thought to the ship to begin the next stage. Energy leapt from the pentagram to the implant in Galen’s stomach. His body arched its back and froze, every muscle taught, the skin white as blood surged into the implant.
“Then you’re going to a lot of trouble for a place you are just passing bye. Even with all the resources of your ship- you don’t have enough power! You can’t succeed!”
“I’m using the pentagram to store the power, it should work with enough time to build up.”
The gold began to rise from the floor, writhing into basic shapes.
“I don’t think it will hold, but I can help,” the old man raised his arms into Galen’s body and power flowed. His body lit from the inside and his skin became transparent. Galen had a moment to wonder where the old man had gained this kind of power? He could feel the body trying to pull his mind back and resisted. The skin of his stomach turned red, as if fire burned inside, near the solar plexus- then turned black. Every muscle in the body was tearing itself, straining. A bulge grew, a swelling, a maw pushed out under the skin. Galen felt all his careful preparation eroding as the bulge grew-
Galen screamed- mindless screaming- every muscle straining to rip itself from bone. The black skin grew and burst and something crawled out of it, the gold and mercury flowed from the pentagram and power flowed into it and it grew.
And was followed by another, and another.

When the bedroom door slid closed behind him, Mathew Gideon felt his body slump against it and his eyelids closed heavily. He hadn’t slept for five days, and this last day or so he had been keeping his body vertical only by force of will. The whole crew had been working on saving the Excalibur and he could not show weakness. Even after the shock of being attacked and almost destroyed by a fleet of unknown ships. He had spent time with the Doctor, looking at carcasses of four metre long alien caterpillars, wondering what the hell they had walked into. The weapons and technology had been unlike anything anyone had heard of.
Now he wondered if he had the energy left to make it as far as the bed.
Gideon started awake as his knees gave, staggered across the room and fell gratefully onto the bed, his mind gone before he hit the mattress.
“You’re an easy man to find, Captain, just scan for battlefields and there you are,” a familiar, jovial tenor voice said. Gideon opened his eyes with a start- it took him a moment to realise he was in his own bedroom on the Excalibur.
Alwyn stood in the middle of the room, his flesh and brown robes seeming to glow. The captain recognised the signs of a Technomage homunculus, a projection with more substance and abilities than a simple hologram.
“What?” His mouth was dry. Alwyn strode to the small bathroom and returned with a glass of water. The old man’s blue eyes had the intense glow the Captain had last seen when Alwyn was trying to shoot down an Earthforce spaceship.
He took the glass and sipped water, feeling the inside of his mouth moisten as a horrible taste washed away.
“I knew you weren’t dead,” Gideon said. Even as he had been forced to order Excalibur to open fire on the old wizard, he had known the old man would somehow escape.
“Very perspicacious of you,” the old man waived vaguely in the direction of the rear of the ship. “When your ship is repaired, you must come to the planet Rakthett in the Ortach system. I need you and have something you need.” The old man began to fade.
“Not possible- we repaired the communications mast and are waiting for a tow to the nearest space dock… for extensive repairs,” Gideon concluded. Deep down, he feared his ship was only fit for scrap. “Even after repairs, we need to follow up on the leads the Whitestars have given us.”
The old man sighed theatrically, as he un-faded into view.
“The Technomage Order are famed for our mystery, Mathew. But I forgot how straightforward you like to be, so I will ask a question: do you still want a cure to the Drakh plague? There’s something here that can help you, and the Drakh have already found it. I can only fight them off for so long.” The homunculus faded, leaving the Captain to finish most of the glass in one gulp and throw the last of it over his face. A glance at the clock next to the bed told him he had only been asleep three hours and his head felt hung over.
“Unfair,” he thought, since he hadn’t had a drink in weeks.
Gideon slapped his communicator onto the back of his hand and activated it: “Call all available WhiteStars, tell them to go to the Ortach system and find out what the Drakh have found on the planet of Rakthett. Tell them to be prepared for a fight.” He said to whoever was manning the Command Deck, then he rolled over and closed his eyes.

Galen woke. The room was dark and empty. “Lights!” he ordered. Nothing happened. He reached out with his mind and discovered the ship was in a maintenance cycle. Slowly, he forced his body to sit up and ran his fingertips over the scars on his stomach. They felt healed. Something scuttled around the edges of the room. He hoped he knew what that was.

Excalibur’s Main Engineering deck was normally a busy place of computers and men working to keep the ship’s many systems fed with power, but now it felt dead. The engineers had brought power in from one of the wrecked attack ships using heavy duty cables, but it was only enough to keep life support and communications running. The few lights that were on were red. The Chief Engineer and most of his staff were in bed, recovering from the mammoth task of just keeping the ship alive until they could call for help and the engineer that was left to watch a dead room, was the guy nobody liked. This Engineer still called Galen the “Spooky Guy” when the Captain wasn’t around. Putting mumbo jumbo around holograms and such was childish nonsense in his humble opinion. The clicking of Galen’s staff on the deck plating woke him. He sat up and tried to look alert: “I didn’t hear the door,” he said, mainly for something to say.
“I didn’t enter by the door,” Galen replied. He was leaning heavily on his staff, and his leather robes hung loose on his form.
“There’s nothing you can do here,” the Engineer said. “There’s about 4000 square metres of components missing from the power chain- and it’s Vorlon technology so we don’t have replacements.” One of the components had been the size of a ten storey housing block. Provided by the Vorlons, the humans had never worked out what it did.
Galen threw back his hood and gave the Engineer his wide eyed stare. The man stood and backed up a half step.
“Unless it’s not a question of parts, but energy,” Galen said cheerfully, waving one finger in the man’s face, as if lecturing a child. Every muscle in his body ached as he moved, but he was used to compartmentalising pain. ” Matter is just energy dressed in differently.” Galen said cryptically as he took a large ball from his robes and watched with a smile as the legs uncurled. It was black, had the texture of burnt wood and when it dropped to the floor it ran on eight legs. The Engineer looked horrified.
“Is that… a Shadow?” He asked, having heard what they looked like.
“This is my…familiar,” Galen said, trying out the archaic word. “I grew him for this spell. I call him Fluffy. Took me a while to prepare for this one“
“But- but- holograms won’t help us here,” the Engineer stuttered. Fluffy ran into an open access panel and disappeared into the depths of machinery. Galen raised his staff and light seemed to swirl around him, blue and green streams flowed around him and away into the access port, acting more like mist than light.
“Technomages have access to energy sources Earth science has only dreamed of.”
Brilliant light seemed to penetrate the bulkheads from the damaged area of the ship.
“That’s leakage from matter formation,” Galen said in a helpful tone. “You may want to cover your eyes until the spell is finished.”
Galen raised his staff high, using it to focus the energy he was pulling from hyperspace. The problem had never been tapping the energy, for Technomages, the problem had always been controlling it, shaping it into matter. The familiar now gave him that control. His mind focused on energy flows and mathematical models of reality which Fluffy was weaving into reality. His implants became so hot that his flesh burned but he was too focussed to feel the pain. Galen shaped energy into matter, into cables and circuits, condensers and bulk heads. Repairing damaged components and rebuilding the missing components, out of pure energy.
“But-but…holograms can’t conduct power….” The Engineer stuttered, staring at the white lights outlining panels and open maintenance hatches. Then the light flicked off and the room seemed dark after the brilliance. The room lights and control panels lit up, showing normal function. The man’s mouth dropped open. He was alone in the room. He slapped himself a couple of times on the face to see if he was dreaming, before he woke the Chief Engineer and told him what had happened.

“Sir!” A young, excited voice yelled from Gideon’s com. “The power generation system is working, the engines are starting up!”
Another voice joined it babbling excitedly. ”Yes sir- but we don’t know how. One minute the engines were fried slag and the next we’re reading factory specifications. The generators are cycling up and we’ll be ready to power up engines--“his panel beeped “Oh…now.”
“Ok, set course for the Ortach system and get ready to open a jump gate,” Gideon commanded, raising himself off the bed. He wondered how long he had been asleep. Not long enough was all he was sure of.
“Er.. I’m not a navigation officer, sir- I’m an electrician. Officer of the Day is arguing with the Chief Engineer.”
Gideon stared at the com on the back of his hand until his brain caught up:” Ok… then wake the appropriate shift and warn the engineering section - I want to get under way as soon as possible- have senior staff meet me in the conference room. ”
Gideon thought about asking them to find Galen but realised he would come to the conference room only if he wanted to be there.

Galen always marched along the corridors of Excalibur, keeping exactly to the middle of the path he was taking. People always moved out of his way, without him having to do anything, but now they jumped to the wall and stared as the familiar followed him. Finally, he paused before an apartment door, examining his feelings. There had been a time when he expected to carry the guilt of surviving his lover’s death for the rest of his life. But he realised even the guilt of moving on had lost its sting and he looked forward to being with Dureena. Technomages were big on symbols, and Galen had been leaving a blue toothbrush in her bathroom for a while now. He reached out with his Power, turned off the lights in the room beyond and then stepped through the wall. For a moment the energies holding the molecules of the wall together, and the energies holding his body together merged. It tickled.
Dureena’s golden eyes looked startled for a moment as she jumped to her feet, and then she grinned. “That’s a new trick- show off!”
“The Technomage Order prefers to believe we have a flair for the dramatic… showing off indeed.” He stopped the lights flickering and grinned back. “Besides, I like the way your eyes go large and round in surprise,” Galen bent his neck and kissed her. Dureena leaned forward and kissed him back even harder. “She always gives more than she gets,” he thought. “It’ll be interesting to see what she does with the Gift.”
“You look terrible,” Dureena said, when they came up for air. “Do you want something to eat?”
“No, I’ll be fine,” Galen said, looking into her eyes seriously. “Are you ready to take the final step in becoming a Technomage?”
“So have you got something for me?”
“That’s what you said last night,” Galen’s grinned as his sense of humour surfaced. Dureena poked him in the ribs and he shrugged and drew a wooden looking globe from somewhere inside his robes. It seemed to be covered in bark and looked as if it had grown as a solid sphere. Dureena took it in both hands. His own familiar watched this and scuttled under the table spider-like, and hid.
“What do I do with it?” She caught the look in his eye and poked him again. “Don’t let your inappropriate sense of humour ruin my big moment… please?”
“Okay, just hold her, it’ll probably taker her a moment to wake up,” Galen said, taking Dureena’s hands in his and pressing them against the rough surface of the ball.
“Her?” The sphere felt heavier than it looked. “This…thing… is a her?” Dureena glanced from the ball to the familiar under the table, noting the difference in texture and looks.
“Well it’s really a techno-organic seed, but yes there is some of my DNA in there. I kept the Y chromosome to myself, so it is female. Are you sure you want this, love?” Galen asked for the last time. “The pain will be extraordinary and you can’t have drugs, it would interfere with the Blending.”
Dureena bit her lip as her eyes began to tear, her legs lost their strength and she sat down abruptly on one of the low, wooden chairs: “No one’s ever given me a gift like this… a choice like this. I was made a slave by my family; I was made a thief because I wanted to survive… do I deserve this choice?”
The light blinked off and in the darkness, Alwyn stood in front of her, the old man’s face seemed to glow as he bent and cupper her hands in his. She felt the cool strength of his fingers.
“The Technomage Order,” his sharp voice declaimed, “once searched the stars for the greatest minds in each species, and persuaded them to join the order, to accept the implants. They sought knowledge and power and just when it would have been of some use to the young races of this galaxy- they ran away and hid! We need your heart… your spirit, it is not up to you to deserve this, it is we he need to be deserving of you.”
“Alwyn…“ Dureena said, but the light was back and the old man was gone, she blinked away the dazzle and the tears. “Has a way with words.
“Yes,” Galen grinned suddenly. “You should hear him sing.”
“Okay, I’m ready. Your vision is worth some pain,” Dureena said, looking him in the eyes.
“Our vision- I hope?” Galen said, this moment had been months in the planning. The sphere unrolled as it felt her acceptance and wound itself around Dureena’s wrist and arm. She felt it growing warmer and softer. It now had ribs and a dim green glow of light between the ribs. As it reached the top of her arm its texture changed again; softening and oozing across her chest. Filaments grew quickly, covering the body and giving a furry look. The lights between its dozen ribs began to pulse brightly as it became more malleable. “Unlike the implants developed by the Shadows, this will blend with you at the cellular and genetic level, so that your children will be born with all the abilities of a Technomage. For the first time, we’ll be more than an Order- we’ll be a species.”
Dureena nodded, her mouth too dry to speak. The familiar was burning hot on her skin; threads flowed out of the body, penetrated the pores in her skin; disappeared into her. She grit her teeth and doubled up - felt Galen drop to his knees beside her and grabbed hold. She screamed, aware only of pain. Timeless pain.

Gideon watched from his command chair, as Matheson and the pilots navigated the Excalibur out of the debris field, opened a Jumpgate and slipped into hyperspace. His thoughts were a jumble. He found a joy in being on the move again in a ship he had, for the last few days, given up as wrecked. But a Whitestar had reached the Ortach system, counted twelve heavy cruisers in orbit around Rakthett and jumped out of there. There was a good chance that taking his ship into a system full of Drakh would result in it being wrecked again.
Matheson had informed him that it would take thirteen hours to reach the Ortach system, and then what?
Another odd thing, the Whitestar had not been pursued. The Drakh knew the mission of Excalibur and the Whitestar fleet and interfered with them whenever the opportunity arose. So what was on Rakthett that was more important than stopping the Whitestar fleet from saving the Earth from the plague? Did that make Rakthett important enough to risqué the Excalibur and the lives of everyone on board? He couldn’t tell.
Gideon’s thoughts were a jumble so he, mentally listed his options. Then he did the sensible thing and in the ancient jargon of the classic period: “phoned a friend.”

Galen lay silently with Dureena in his arms, watching her breathe, until he felt her begin to stir and wake.
“Would you like something to drink? Tea? Water?”
Dureena tried to talk, coughed, and then tried again: “I’m aware of you…even with my eyes closed.”
“Yes, you’ll learn to block that information stream when you want to.”
“Information stream? Funny way to describe your own mind and thoughts,” Dureena said. Galen shrugged, he was a realist.
“Are you aware of Alwyn?”
“Yes,” Dureena reached out with her mind and shuddered. “So much pain- he’s dying!”
“She’s fighting him- but he will survive a while yet.”
“All this time he’s been in pain… holding her… bending her to his will.”
“Yes, he’s a stubborn old goat. And he always hated the Shadows. They wanted everyone to be what they were told to be, and Alwyn’s always enjoyed the differences between peoples.”
“He’s dying…I tried to lend him strength, but he refuses.”
“Yes, as I said… stubborn,” Galen said sadly.
“Hang on… how long did the Blending take?” Dureena asked.
“Twelve hours, we’ll be in range of the planet in another hour,” Galen said, brushing the hair from her face as her eyes opened in surprise.
“Twelve hours… I don’t remember it,” Dureena said.
“Probably just as well, you were screaming for most of it.”
“Were you holding me all this time?”
“Yes, although I popped out for drinks with the lads for a couple of hours.”
“I can read your mind now, you can’t hide from me,” Dureena grinned, moving her hands over her lover’s body, pulling him close. They had an hour to kill, she thought- why waste it?

Excalibur was minutes from opening a Jumpgate to the Ortach system, when Gideon felt movement behind him.
“Galen- we really need to know what the plan is here. Our latest intel says there’s 19 cruisers and three Motherships in orbit. These guys are serious about whatever’s down th- oh?”
Dureena nodded: “Sorry captain, it’s me. Galen’s busy with the Doctor and Max’s people. Apparently I put him behind schedule.” Dureena grinned and Gideon decided not to ask “how?” He noticed that she was leaning heavily on a wooden staff, as if her body needed the support. She also wore a woollen cloak clasped at the neck with a silver half-moon broach that he hadn’t seen before.
Lieutenant Matheson hustled to bring Dureena a chair and seat her next to the captain.
“I sensed your pain- I wasn’t prying- but I hope that’s over? You’re well?” Matheson asked, real concern on the telepath’s face.
“Yes, over… and successful. I am now a fully functioning Technomage… as far as I can tell,” Dureena smiled and squeezed his arm in thanks.
“Congratulations, I know you’ve studied hard for this,” Gideon said. “Now- Excalibur can’t fight all those ships, so tell me there’s a plan here?” Gideon didn’t doubt that the Technomages had a plan and he also knew they were instinctively opaque about these things. Went with the hoods and the magic sigils, he thought.
“Alwyn has the plan… and has already started without us. I’m to act as liaison between Excalibur, Galen and Alwyn, who says the first hour was nothing much to look at, anyway,” Dureena said, her eyes and smile were unfocused and faraway. “When you leave the Jumpgate, stand-off at 30 light seconds from the planet.”
“Did he tell you anymore than that? Is he coming to us or do we have to get passed that fleet? We’ve only just got this ship up and moving again, I don’t want her wrecked,” Gideon said.
“Galen is taking Max’s Away Team to the planet. He’s sorting that out now. They’ll bring back what we need. In the meantime, stay alive and don’t bother targeting the Motherships, they are in too low an orbit to escape, Alwyn says.”
“To escape what?”
The Jumpgate opened and the Excalibur powered out of hyperspace. The ship’s sensors were immediately blinded by static on all channels. Executive Officer Matheson got an earful of fast chatter from his officers and tried to summarise what he was hearing for the Captain, while they were still talking: “Sir, Ortach is giving off unprecedented sunspot activity, the sensor people have never experienced anything like it- we are completely blind here.”
“All stop. Start warming up the Jump engines, get us out of here as soon as they are ready,” the Captain ordered. They could not fight blind, even though he realised the Drakh ships would also be blind.
“Oops, sorry, I missed my cue,” Dureena said, hauling herself to her feet with the staff, she began muttering a spell. A globe appeared in her hands and she shaped the patterns inside with her fingers and words. She really hoped the new parts of her body knew what all this meant or it would be embarrassing. The sensor screens cleared and displayed information in vastly more detail, Matheson reported:
“We’re getting sensor feeds from Galen’s ship, we’re showing 19 cruisers and heavy cruisers in high orbit between Rakthett and her four moons and four Motherships in low orbit, as Alwyn said. The Motherships are firing on the surface of the planet. We think the Drakh must be blinded the way we were, they are very far apart and in staggered orbits. Oh… standby…”
Matheson turned away, marched to one of the screens and spoke to the officer manning that station in an urgent whisper, then he returned to the Captain’s side: “Sir, the area of space around Rakthett is inside an asteroid field and the asteroids seem to be flowing, between the four moons and heading for the Drakh fleet. They are moving at 400kph and accelerating. It’s as if the moons are creating gravity flows… streams… filled with asteroids?”
Dureena’s grin widened as she received Alwyn’s thoughts. “You know Alwyn fought the Shadows during the war? He set this star system up as a trap to ambush ships. You will find the wreckage of three Shadow vessels scattered around the system- the fourth is on the planet below, blinded; crippled, but largely intact. The Drakh have placed themselves right in the killzone!”
“Technomancy can alter a sun?” Gideon guessed.
“Yes, for a short time.”
“The Drakh are blind but they haven’t tried to leave- they must really need that ship!” Gideon thought aloud.
“Yes, the technology of the Shadow vessel is a lot more powerful than the technology the Shadows allowed the Drakh to have,” Dureena said.
“So if we’re using the sensors of Galen’s ship, how is he transporting the science away team to the planet’s surface?” Gideon wondered.
“He’s using one of the new powers his familiar gives him.”

Galen had drawn a circle fifty feet across in the same landing bay occupied by his Transport ship, by the time Max and the Doctor arrived with their people. Max had formed an “Away Team” out of some of the younger and more capable members of the large scientific community that now occupied the ship. They carried backpacks and cases and odd shaped pieces of equipment and were dressed in survival suits with rebreather masks dangling from their necks. Galen finished drawing the lines of a pentagram inside the circle and his familiar took up a place in the exact centre. He noted that the Doctor and Max were carefully not looking each other in the eye and wondered if the on again, off again relationship was off again.
He had left a three foot gap in the circle. “This way, through the gap, into the middle.”
“When I got your message to meet you here, I assumed we were going down to the planet in your ship?” Max asked.
“Even my ship couldn’t get passed the Drakh fleet in orbit. So we’re taking a short cut,” Galen said.
“So how does this mumbo jumbo help?” One of the newer scientists muttered, and was stopped dead by a Look from Doctor Chambers before Galen could open his mouth. Max marched to the middle of the circle and began examining the familiar.
“I heard what this thing did in Engineering. I may want one for Christmas.”
When everyone was in the centre, Galen used his staff to draw the circle closed. The gold and mercury were very active, bouncing around within a foot of the floor.
“I swear that stuff breaks the laws of physics,” Max said.
“Between here and there… imagination and reality… being and non-being…. I write the laws of physics,” Galen declaimed grandly, as he joined them in the centre of the circle.
“You had that one ready, didn’t you?” Max grinned, unabashed by science he didn’t understand. Galen struck his staff on the floor and suddenly it was dark and freezing cold. The air was thin and people started using their rebreather masks. People gasped or swore.
Galen looked around- his aim had been good. They were in a broad corridor, dim lights showed that doors opened off it. There were doors in the floor and ceiling, as if whoever built it had no interest in gravity.
“This corridor leads to the labs. Look around quickly, take what seems useful. We don’t have long,” Galen said. The rest of the group stood agape. “Bring anything you want to keep, back here to Fluffy.”
“We’re in the Shadow vessel,” Doctor Chambers whispered it, as she wondered if she was having a nightmare.
“Yes we are,” Galen said. “You did read my message? “Crashed Shadow vessel, bring visors and UV lights?”
“Yes… but we were expecting more travel time, I guess,” Max said. Even he appeared to be mildly stunned.
“I said we were taking a short cut,” Galen grinned as he walked away. An ultra violet beam flicked past him and lit his way up the corridor. He could here Max reading Shadow notices before he turned the corner. He was following a set of footprints in the dust and wasn’t surprised when he had to step over a cluster of Drakh corpses. They were lying back to back, as if they’d made a last desperate stand. Further along, the corridor reached a tube that simply went down. The Shadows hadn’t needed lifts or stairs, they simply walked on the walls. Galen conjured a force field and stepped into the darkness. The force field carried him safely down the tube.”