Chapter 1: Disclaimer & Explanations
The Obligatory Corral Explanation: I am always attacked by more story ideas than I can reasonably manage to turn into actual works of fiction. As I have seen other writers do this, I have decided to follow suit and actually collect the pesky little buggers into one place so that I can come back to them when I have actual time to fully explore the ideas. Also, I have no problems with another writer using any of the bunnies corralled here if their Muses attack, just please give credit as to where the idea came from.
The Just as Obligatory Disclaimer: Babylon 5 and all subsequent major characters, plots, and ideas are the property of J. Michael Straczynski, Babylonian Inc. and Warner Bros. All other recognized works are the rightful property of their creators, publishers, studios, etc., etc., and etc. ad nauseum. The following story ideas were written only for the purposes of entertainment. No income had been made.
Chapter 2: Logan's Last Cub
It's amazing what happens during some family reunions...
Logan's Last Cub
"I just broke one of your ribs!" Neroon growled out while coming around for a second attack to Marcus's now weakened, injured and still undefended flank.
Just before the Warrior's denn'bok had connected again, an unmistakable sound reached Marcus's extra sensitive ears; the distinctive and completely unforgettable "SNIIKKTT" of adamantium claws unsheathing through living flesh.
"Grandda Logan," Marcus whispered in astonishment before before collapsing from his injuries, causing the man in question to growl in anger and explode from the shadows, falling upon his prey as only an enraged Wolverine could.
As the Ranger lay there, Marcus was treated to a sight he'd never thought he'd see; a look of shear terror on the face of Minbar's "Greatest Living Warrior" as a legendary set of claws sliced through both his denn'bok and crystalline battle armor as if it was nothing more than over-cooked flarn. The Warrior had never encountered a being as the one he now faced and had no way to defend against the onslaught. In a matter of moments, Neroon, the best modern Warrior of his species, was literally pinned by those claws to the internal bulkhead of Babylon 5 and bleeding just as profusely as Marcus was. Just as Neroon's throat was about to be sliced open, Marcus's shout of "No!" brought everything to a standstill.
Logan, brought back from the fog of the Wolverine's blood lust by that one shouted word, turned to the last living member of the only only family he could remember raising. Taking in the sight of Marcus, collapsed, battered and bleeding, Logan growled in anger again, the feral blood lust rising again as the Wolverine howled for vengeance from within. It took everything he had to cage the Wolverine while the last of his cubs lay bleeding out before him.
"Damn! You don't look so good, Marc. You gonna, make it, cub?" he asked.
Marcus nodded shakily in answer. "How? he asked incredulously. "Da said you died on the Rim. They even had eye witnesses that time, Grandda!"
Wolverine chuckled bitterly. "The X factor healing is a hell of a lot stronger than even the damned Squids' disintergraters, cub, and even those damn things can't melt adamantium. Still hurt like a son of a bitch, though. Took forever to get out their space, too. So, you got me back, and by the way, wha'cha want me ta do with the fucken' bonehead I got skewered?
Chapter 3: Sarn Talcontar
What goes around comes around - even Ages later!
Marcus stared at the newcomers in horror from his vantage at the back of the crowd. He was pressed in by said crowd of beings and standing literally pressed against the Station's bulkhead. That didn't bother him at all. The sight before him, though, was another matter. Never had he thought to see this, and NEVER here! On the Home World maybe, and only then in some terrible nightmare, but never here!
Marcus was broken out of his horrified trance by being jostled yet again. The Aliens of Babylon 5, the always "dignified" Minbari included, had literally all pushed, or were still trying to push, their way to the front to get a better look at the sight. They had been pulled forward by the aura of the beings before them even though they did not know the terrible significance of this visit.
The Ranger, though, did and literally began to tremble because of that knowledge. Like so many other Human families, Marcus's own family had kept what they called the "Olde Histories" alive, and it was from those Ancient tales he that knew what the presence of these shining beings meant, though he did not wish to believe it. Never had he thought that this day would come, and to be truthful, he had always prayed within his most secret heart of hearts that this day would indeed NEVER come. For this Host that was the embodiment of both beauty and purity was in truth the harbinger of the most buried Horror of Horrors for the Race of Man.
Marcus paled as he heard Susan bite back an actual whimper. He quickly extended his pike in warning and moved roughly through the crowd to the Commander's side in order to offer both physical and emotional support. The Ranger quickly clasped her icy hand as he reached her and was greeted with a wan smile as she met his equally frightened eyes with her own.
"I never thought... After the War... I thought... But the Shadows... Boze Moi! It's real... He's REAL! And He's COMING!" Susan whispered brokenly in her horror.
"I know. I know," he whispered back, tightening his grip on her icy hand, for he had no other comfort to give as his soul just as frozen in fear as hers.
Never, never had he thought that the Ancient Enemy would return from the Void. Frankly, he along with the rest of the gob-smacked Humans standing beside their thoroughly confused, bewildered and totally besotted (and frankly also totally lost at sea) alien brethren at Babylon 5's entry gangway had thought that all that they had been taught as children were naught but legends, or at best, ancient Man's explanations for visits from such old star faring beings as the Vorlons. But, the Ancient legends - no, True Histories - had just been proven complete fact, for here before them stood the living and immortal proof.
Sheridan was the first to break through his combined awe and fear, and strode forward to stand before the powerful, silvery, glowing being that stood at the head of the Host while awaiting a proper greeting. Like all the Humans present, John knew to the depths of his very soul who this was. There was no possibility that this could be anyone else but one legendary individual.
This guest to Babylon 5 was the embodiment of power and grace; of terrible beauty and purity; a being of both war and civility, of mercy and justice and with eyes that literally held the untold eons in their depths. In short, he was the living personification of and the very definition of "Warrior King". His very essence verily SCREAMED his right to the title of "Majesty", and for the first time in his life, John Sheridan, son of the grand history of the U. S. of the blessed A and true child of Democracy, got the inkling that perhaps, in some instances, "the Divine Right of Kings" just may have a place in the annals of governance after all.
Sheridan, finally breaking the spell of those truly Ancient eyes, bowed. It was not a precise, parade ground-style military half bow as was done to appease the social protocols of finicky and custom bound races such as the Centauri and Minbari, but a true Human, Courtly bow. It was a bow as was seen in the Courts of the Ancient Kings of Old, when one acknowledged the Royalty before them but did not go so far as to bend their knee to one NOT their rightful Liege Lord.
"Welcome and Well Met, your Majesty. Babylon 5 freely welcomes the rightful ruler of the Eryn Lasgalen, Aran Thranduil Oropherion, and his most Royal Party," Sheridan formally greeted the Ancient Being that the Old Histories taught had walked the primordial shores of Earth; a being that had been born in the days before sunlight could pass through the ancient canopies and all beneath them were always in twilight.
"I thank you, Captain, for you most gracious greeting," Thranduil responded in his musical, almost magical voice and with an inclination of his head in order to acknowledge Sheridan's position of Command. "I wish that We and Our escort could have given you warning of this visit, but both time and secrecy were of the essence. We had no choice but to approach in this manor, Scion of the House of Hurin," he said in explanation - and with which he raised sea of gasps from the Humans present.
Sheridan was visibly shaken at being referred to by such a title. "Your Majesty, I..." Sheridan tried to deny any claim to that most infamous of the Ancient Sea Lineages only to be cut off.
"Hush, child. You ARE the latest Scion of that most noble Captain-General's blood, if not of the King's Steward's." Thranduil help up a hand to forestall the avalanche of questions he knew were coming. "And before you ask, little Adan, I will explain later. And yes, your Cousin and Scion of the Steward's Branch is here as well, as is you Rightful Liege Lord. Now, I must greet Our Royal Brother Gondor and return that which is both his Royal Right and Duty to wield, for His Warrior's Arm and Voice is sorely needed in the coming Struggle."
With that statement, Tranduil, the last Elvenking of Earth, walked forward. The mesmerized crowd parted before him as the Bible told the sea had parted before Moses. The Humans bowed and/or curtsied in his Royal Presence, showing their respect for the Last Living Kingdom of the Eldar. The aliens, seeing the Humans' actions, made gestures of respect as followed the customs of their own respective Races, not trusting themselves to copy the Humans' and therefore falling flat on their faces due to the unaccustomed poses and humiliating themselves, and by extension, their entire species.
Thranduil moved forward until he finally stopped right in front of the now trapped Ranger and Commander. Marcus and Susan, seeing that there was nowhere to move due to the pressing crowd on either side, the King in front and the bulkhead behind, paled even further. They immediately bowed and curtsied in proper Courtly Fashion respectively, and somewhere in the back of Marcus's still shell shocked mind, he somehow managed to wonder where Susan had learned how to curtsy while dressed in military uniform trousers and STILL look elegant.
Thranduil shook his head at the sight. "Rise, children," he said. "I do not deserve such a display," he finished as the two Humans shakily stood up.
With a flourish, the Elvinking brought forth from beneath his cloak the most ancient and well known sword in all the long History of Man. He then held forth that Most Sacred Weapon of the High Kings of Men. Marcus and Susan stared at it in open awe. They both knew this sword. Through the passing eons this immortal sword had been known by as many names as had its most famous bearer had.
It had been known as at one time or another as Mighty Hector's Durendal, the Hallowed Blade of Fallen Troy. It was Immortal Arthur's Excalibur, Shining Blade of Lamented Camelot. It was once known as Brave Gryffindor's Mage Blade, though the legendary Mage refused its Call in the end and used another, and inferior, blade in the last days of his life. But, its most famous name, and its True Name, was Anduril, the "Flame of the West". It was the Sword of Legend; reforged from the shards of the Hallowed Narsil and the One Blade that could only be wielded by the true High King of Men.
"No, I do not deserve such a display, especially not from you, my Royal Brother," Thranduil said gently as he held out one of the most famous Signs of the Kingship of Man; Anduril, the symbol of Royalty that was second only to the Winged Crown, to a now pure white and visibly shaking Marcus.
A deathly silence fell as Marcus stood trembling before the mighty Elvenking, staring in shock and horror at the Sword of Destiny before him. The prolonged silence was finally broken by an inelegant snort from the back of the Elven Host. All attention turned to the group still standing at the Station's entry gangway. A mighty and Golden Elven Warrior strode forth, arrogantly eying the Ranger all the way.
"Oh, you're Estel's get, alright," he drawled out sarcastically as he stopped before the poor man. "You've got that patented "dumbfounded horse's arse expression" down perfectly. Udun's Pit, but I'm surprised you're not whining "But, Ada, I don't WANT to be King!" through your own snot right about now." The elf snorted again. "Oh, yes. You definitely are Estel's blood!" the Ancient Elven Lord taunted.
When Marcus, still too shocked to think, said nothing, he went on with, "Like all your barbaric Line, you don't know the definition of the word "razor". And You're a Ranger of all things! Oh, but you ARE Irony's Bitch aren't you? You've truly managed to get yourself embroiled in a mess way above your ken!" AND you're... Ai!" The Elven Warrior cried out, cutting off what he was about to say.
The Reborn Ellon stared at Marcus in shock, the magnitude of what he read in the Royal Adan's fea finally catching up with him. "Sweet Elbereth! In this day and Age! Oh, Eru's gilded testicles! You're still a vir.."
"Glorfindel! SHUT! UP!" Thronduil fairly screamed as Marcus literally fainted in mortification.
Chapter 4: Sentinal's Call
The Sentinel of the Station has awakened.
Marcus awoke slowly. Cautiously, he opened his eyes, only to slam his eyelids shut as soon as the dim light reached his irises. He groaned in agony as the light that he had let through set off what seemed to be a chain reaction of tactical warheads inside his skull.
"Easy, take it easy," came a soft, whispering voice, cutting through his pain. "Just concentrate on my voice... Yes, that's it..." the person kept whispering softly, almost hypnotically.
Marcus concentrated on that soft, melodic whisper, using it to master the jagged agony echoing through his mind and senses. Slowly, the pain receded to the point where he had enough control of his body's systems to employ the calming and pain control techniques he'd first learned in EFI and then the more esoteric ones he'd learned in the Rangers. Soon he was able to filter in the now, for some odd reason, extremely muted sensory stimulus that told his he was in Steven's med lab - again.
Once the Ranger had almost complete control of both his body and mind, he slowly opened his eyes. His vision was at first a bit blurry, but soon he was able to focus on the face before him. He saw an unfamiliar, kindly looking, middle aged and dark skinned human man in a doctor's med lab coat leaning over him.
As the man obviously wasn't Steven Franklin, Marcus's danger sense kicked in and he quickly looked around to make sure that he was indeed in one of Babylon 5's med labs, and not somewhere he did NOT want to be; namely some clandestine EarthForce - or worse - research lab and starring as the main attraction. Soon, Marcus's quick perusal confirmed that he was indeed in residence in his so-called best friend's private kingdom yet again.
The Ranger sighed to himself. Oh, joy be unconfined! Steven was going be beyond angry at him for landing up back in here again so soon after he'd patched him up after that last little altercation with those Narn gunrunners. The dear doctor had been adamant about what would happen if he landed up in here again too quickly; Steven was going to make ABSOLUTELY sure that Marcus's stay was as... err... as "unpleasant" as possible as a deterrent! Panicked, Marcus tried to sit up as soon as he remembered what the likely consequence of whatever stupid stunt he'd pulled in order to end up back in med lab would be.
The new doctor reached out and stopped him with a firm hand placed on his chest saying, "Easy now, don't try to get up yet. You may have your senses back online, but you're still weak and still rather disoriented, which isn't surprising after actually surviving a two month Zone Out."
Marcus paled a bit while trying to process the information. His waking confusion and disorientation was with him still. "A two month what?" he asked. Did this doctor mean a two month long coma? "Doctor…?" Marcus left off his next question, as he didn't know how to address the man that was keeping him immobile.
The older man smiled kindly, understanding his patient's confusion. "Dr. Kyle, Dr. Benjamin Kyle to be exact. And you, young man, have been in a two-month long "Zone Out". It's similar in appearance to a catatonic state or a coma, but is brought on by excessive concentration on a single set of sensory inputs, and is a danger to any newly awakening Sentinel."
"A what?" the poor, gob smacked Ranger croaked out.
The doctor snorted at that question. "Don't play the fool, Ranger Cole. I've seen your complete services jackets – all three of them. You darn well know what a Sentinel is."
Marcus shook his head as if to clear it. "I… I know… But… But how can you be sure?" he asked in a soft and panicked voice, in one final and desperate attempt to have his fate reversed.
Dr. Kyle smiled gently in sympathy, knowing just how drastically this poor young man's life was about to change. "Yes, I'm sure, he said softly. "I'm not only the leading xenobiologist on Earth, but also the leading researcher on the human genome. I've run all the tests to confirm the genetic markers myself. They were all positive. Besides, my family has been dealing with Sentinels since the first "modern" Western Sentinel was documented in Cascade, Washington back in the twentieth century. I know a Sentinel, and a Zone Out, when I see one. And that's the reason Steven called me back here. That rebel wunderkind knew that he was WAY out of his depth with your case once he suspected your problem."
Marcus was very glad at that point that he was lying down. He would have collapsed otherwise. The shock of the revelation was almost too much and he had resort to the Minbari calming techniques again. Finally, after mastering himself once again, Marcus tried to reason it all out in his head.
He'd always had extremely quick reflexes and keen senses, but he'd NEVER - in all of his most crazed and paranoid nightmares - NEVER had he imagined this! So this was why EFI had been so unbelievably reluctant to let him go. It was a DAMNED good thing Marcus was as good at gathering… err… "non requested sensitive information" as he was, or he'd be in those bastards' hands even now, and God and Valen only knew what kind of walking horror they'd have turned him into. Then Marcus remembered the most important fact about Sentinels and groaned in agony again.
Dr. Kyle immediately responded to his patients perceived pain. "Easy! Don't zone on me again, kid. Just pull back on whatever sense is going hot right now," he instructed softly and gently.
Marcus shook his head. "It's not that. It's… Oh, God! I remembered… I… I’m going to need a Guide, won't I?" he asked, partly in fear, partly in excitement, his entire countenance telegraphing his mixed up feelings to the doctor.
To the bereaved lone survivor of Arisia Colony, the idea of always being in what amounted to a close spiritual, emotional and symbiotic relationship with someone was unbelievably overwhelming, frightening, painful and hopeful all at the same time. It hurt because it felt as if this person could somehow replace his beloved though dead family. It was frightening because the Ranger didn't know if he could even LET anyone be that close again, and it was hopeful because, even as emotionally wounded and traumatized as he was, Marcus truly did not wish to be as lonely as he was any more.
Kyle nodded, hoping his two edged answer could bring some kind of comfort to the rather overwhelmed Ranger. "Yes, you do, and once you do have one, controlling your senses will be far easier than it is now. Finding a Guide won’t be that difficult since Guides have their own particular genetic markers. The fly in the ointment, though, will be in locating YOUR particular Guide; now THAT can be like looking for a needle in a hay stack," he said
Chapter 5: Manticore's Legacy
Freak Nation rises...
Dr. Franklin spoke worriedly to the Chief of Security as the mech-gurney wheeled the unconscious, almost comatose man into the nearest medlab, "Yeah, this guy's in pretty bad shape, Michael. It's a damned good thing that the techs were able to get him out of that flying coffin when they did; another few minutes and he'd be a certified vegetable. And I still can't count that out of his future. From my cursory work up, it looks like he's suffering from hypercapnia, hypothermia, dehydration and electrolytic imbalance, frostbite to the extremities and a whole host of other issues involved with an extended duration spent in a minimum life support environment; how severe it all is, I won't be able to tell till I get a complete work up done. How he made it here and stayed alive through the trip is anyone's guess. Frankly, I'm surprised the poor bastard's still alive. The vast majority of humans wouldn't have even made it half way here in this condition!"
"Yeah, you said it, Steven; most HUMANS..." and the good Doctor caught the emphasis on the word "humans", since he was beginning to suspect that same thing, as the Chief explained what his people had found, "…would never have made it, especially since the techs are saying that he put almost everything that flyer had just into getting here. And even worse, that shot up, custom by crash job he limped in on had been venting atmosphere for who knows how long! No sane being of ANY species would EVER set their vehicle on minimum life in a situation like that if they even remotely wanted to survive! Even if he is… Well, Doc, even if, that guy must have been pretty effen' desperate to do something like that; even THEY can't survive vacuum!" Garibaldi replied.
From the condition his latest patient was in, Franklin didn't doubt that explanation, or the evidence of the man's desperation, one bit. "Yeah, from what I'm seeing, I'd have to say that he damned well was. Now what…" the Doctor cut his speculation short as the mysterious, oddly dressed and bearded Human appearing man began to convulse.
"Shit! Gotta go, Michael. This bastard's trying to die on me!" Steven practically yelled as he cut off his com link before bellowing orders to his staff and starting to work on the distressed man lying before him. "Oh, no you don't, you son of a bitch! Don't even THINK of coding on me!" the Doctor ordered his patient as he forced a mouth and tongue guard into his convulsing patient. "You made it this far, you stupid, reckless bastard, so now you're gonna pull all the way through, hear me?"
The medlab had already been on alert and preparing for the patient's arrival, but with the said patient now convulsing and in obvious critical distress, the activity ratcheted up to an almost manic level. The med techs, nurses and doctors went into overdrive as they completed their assigned tasks and/or followed the Chief of Staff's orders. Quickly, the patient was transferred to a med bay and convulsion control protocols were administered. Long moments later, the patient's convulsions stopped, to the relief of the medical staff.
Steven Franklin asked for the patient's vitals, and when he heard that by some miracle they where beginning to slowly climb back towards almost acceptable levels, he breathed a sigh of relief before ordering, "O.K., people, I need this man prepped for a full work up now!"
The Doctor then left his patient's side to prep what was needed for the next series of tests and treatments, leaving him in the care of the nurses and med techs that were prepping, i.e. disrobing, him and beginning to attach and/or insert the various sensors and I.V. needles needed. It was during this time that the very sharp-eyed med tech who was establishing the patient's central lumen line spotted the actual proof that confirmed the Doctor's suspicions. He almost botched the procedure due to his surprise.
"Doctor Franklin! You need to take a look at this!" he shouted as he finished the process.
As the Doctor approached, the med tech carefully lifted and then turned the patient's head to the side in order to expose the back of his neck as much as possible so that the Doctor could get a good look at the distinctive "birthmark".
"Oh, Hell. We were right," the Doctor muttered to himself as he stared at the man's neck.
"Doctor, is that what I think it is?" the tech asked Franklin in a subdued voice.
Franklin nodded to the tech and heaved another sigh before raising his voice and yelling, "O.K., folks, change of plans; prep for Legacy Children emergency medical protocols and break out the tryptophan!"
Captain John Sheridan was on his way to the medlab at all best speed. The good Doctor's heads up as to what was going on with his latest patient had his already upset gut roiling. As to what upset it in the first place, well, if there was one thing worse than dealing with PsiCorps or the damned Station's Ambassadors, it was dealing with Clark's little sycophants, and even worse, his well-meaning but still unwitting dupes; he just didn't know which category this David Endawi belonged in!
And unfortunately for the Captain, he had had to deal with ALL of the above stated groups that day in one way or another - and now THIS! Just what the FUCK was one of THEM doing out here, where the rest of space could find out? Just what the hell happened to the Legacy Secrecy Statutes?! And to make matters worse, the bastard had come in wearing what looked like some alien military uniform!
Sheridan snorted in derision. The idiotic bastard! Just what the HELL was the stupid fool THINKING?! He could understand the man's need to be back in action, to be doing what was literally in his blood, but for the love of God, why this?! Yes, Clark was a greedy and corrupt homicidal ass and yes EarthDome and EarthForce were pretty damned inept and corrupt right now, but did he actually have to be stupid enough to merc out to some alien army?!
Just as Sheridan approached the lift, Ambassador Delenn met him. "Captain," she greeted him with a polite nod. "May I ask your destination?"
Sheridan looked down at the worried face of the Ambassador and the roiling in his gut stepped up another notch. Somehow, he just knew that she in particular, and the Minbari in general, were involved in this brewing fiasco. Sheridan barely suppressed an angry growl at the thought of the Minbari web weavers. They were even worse then the Centauri when it came to spinning plots that screwed over Humanity.
"I'm on my way to the medlab, Ambassador. Steven had a critical patient come in recently. The poor man had set a continuous emergency S.O.S. hail and his life support at minimal the entire way here. I need to check to see how he's doing and find out what just kind of situation could be so terrible that he needed to take such a desperate gamble," Sheridan answered as the lift doors opened, figuring that spinning out some portion of the truth would be better then having Delenn sending Lennier out on snooping expedition. And boy could that innocent-looking little Priest snoop!
"About that poor young man…" and with that opening, the Ambassador started her own explanation as they stepped into the lift. When the doors closed Delenn began a very concise yet still extremely informative explanation of the Anla'Shok (Rangers), Humanity's involvement with them and just who she thought the young man in the medlab to be.
"He is known as Ranger Marcus Cole, Captain, and if Sechs (Drill and Instruction Masters) Turval and Durhann are to be believed, he is the favored student of both of them and Entil'Zha (Leader) Sinclair as well. His last posting was to Zagros VII, Captain, and we have lost all contact with the training base there," Delenn finished in a subdued and worried voice as the exited the lift and made their way towards the medlab.
Sheridan did something at that point that his mother would have washed his mouth out with soap for even at his current age; he swore viciously and violently in front of a "well bred lady" before calming down enough to try and think the now unbelievably snarled mess through. Sinclair had dropped an entire sack of hot potatoes in his lap when he'd taken Command of B5, but this one sure as all HELL was taking the cake! There was absolutely NO WAY that the conniving bastard hadn't known just who and what Cole was when he'd recruited him for the Rangers! The Captain continued to grumble to himself in irritation at his old friend all the way to the medlab, only stopping when Steven Franklin finally greeted them.
"Steven, are you sure?" Sheridan asked the Doctor before Delenn could even open her mouth to make her own inquiries.
"Yes, Captain, I'm positive. If that mark wasn't proof enough, all the genetic markers for the X5 Legacy are there, Sir," Franklin answered before shooting a look at the Minbari Ambassador. "Captain, shouldn't we…"
Sheridan quickly held up a hand and cut Franklin off. "No, Steven, we can't. Sinclair has just landed us all in one HELL of a mess. Your patient, Marcus Cole, is in fact a MINBARI RANGER and was recruited for the job by none other than our dear old friend Jeff! That now puts him under Delenn's Command while on B5, so we can't cut her out of the information loop. And if he's with them, then there abound to be more. You know damned well that they don't work alone," Sheridan spat out in irritation.
Franklin sucked in a shocked breath at that point. Of all the stupid things that Jeff could have done! Just what the hell was he thinking?!
"Sir…" he started, only to be cut off be Delenn.
"Captain, Doctor, I do not understand what you are referring to," the Ambassador, a confused expression gracing her face.
Sheridan found himself heaving yet another sigh before speaking. "In a minute, Delenn," he said before turning to the Doctor. "Steven, could we take this to your private office?" he asked.
"Of course," Franklin replied and led them to his office, which he made sure was properly secured as soon as his guests were settled. "Do you want to explain this or shall I?" he asked the Captain after seating himself at his desk.
"I'll do it. It was the old U.S. Armed Forces greatest FUBAR of all time, after all, " the Captain resignedly said before turning to Delenn. "Delenn, you do know that most of the species in known space, including Humanity, have laws strictly controlling the genetic manipulation of the populations for very good reasons, right?" he asked.
Delenn nodded. "Of course, Captain. The Federation itself has the most stringent of these laws, and they do not only govern the genetic research of the Minbari race itself. We have learned that it must be so due to horrible medical situations that arose in our race's past. When we had the population of an entire colony die due to the accidental release of an untested genetically engineered food-plant protein, we learned very horribly and very quickly what the cost of playing with the Universe's own Creations could be," she said.
Sheridan nodded. "Similar things have happened in Earth's past. Unfortunately, it didn't stop some of my country's ancestors. And what they did was a lot worse then just playing around with plant proteins. They literally played God, Delenn," he answered back.
Sheridan ran a hand through his hair before getting up and starting to pace the small office. "Delenn, I will first warn you that this information is restricted to those being of Earth Alliance citizenship only. It is a widely known piece of intelligence, but still Top Secret Military Intelligence. It is one of the secrets that the EA as a whole has kept for over two hundred years and divulging it to a non EA citizen is the only crime other than a Capital Offense that with automatically get an EA citizen sentenced to Death of Personality, so I will STRONGLY suggest that you DO NOT EVEN THINK about repeating this to anyone not both wholly trusted and also is not of Earth, and even then you had better NOT say where you learned of it," he warned.
Delenn swallowed nervously at this warning. She knew that all races had terrible secrets in their collective histories, but the way the Captain was speaking was scaring her. And what was worse, it seemed to have now affected the Rangers, and through the Rangers, the entire Minbari race! Oh, but just what had her old friend done to them all?
"I understand, John. I will never repeat what you are about to say, but I must know just what Jeffery has done to the Rangers," she replied in a quiet and rather distressed voice.
"All right Delenn, but be warned this is NOT going to be pretty," Sheridan said and shook his head in disgust before continuing. "They played God, Delenn, and they played God to such a point that they made Mengele look like Florence Nightingale. What's worse is that if a bunch of psychotic Middle Eastern terrorists hadn't tried to bring down the U.S. economy and technical infrastructure in 2009 with a high altitude EMP detonation, which thankfully the U.S. had hardened itself against during the Y2K scare along with fixing the old code problems, the world wouldn't have found out just what they had done until much, much later, when those poor children's lives would have been an even greater Hell than they already were," he finished.
Delenn paled at the mention of "children". She had a sinking feeling as to where this was all leading to, and now… Oh, but how she wished that she did not need to know!
"Children?" she asked.
John nodded as he paced. "Yes, children. The bastards had spliced the Human genome with the DNA of other Earth species in order to create the "perfect super soldier". They had literally bred a new species whose entire life, a life of virtual slavery mind you, was supposed to be dedicated to nothing but war. And if the failed EMP attack hadn't temporarily cut the security protocols to the compound where those poor bastards where housed, "trained" and experimented on, so that they could escape no one would have found out until it was too late to try and reverse some of the damage."
"As it was, the military STILL almost got away with their crimes due to the fact that the children were already fully indoctrinated in Special Forces escape and evade tactics. It would have been a secret little "Evade" and "Hunt/Kill" war right in the backwoods of the American Northwest to the last dead child. Only the fact that one of the children ended up in the local emergency room after falling into severe convulsions in the middle of a busy highway saved the situation from becoming a "Special Ops Target Termination" situation all the way. The whole thing blew wide open once the Chief of Staff of the local hospital got the media involved."
"The Military Brass of the time had to save face pretty fast after that and declared the whole operation "Rogue" and running without their knowledge or approval. Needless to say, a whole hell of a lot of heads rolled both in Congress and at the Pentagon at that point as the operation was shut down and the personnel involved arrested. After a great deal of arm twisting by the old White House, Health Departments, Social Services, the courts, and not to mention the ACLU, all the children, teenagers, infants and even still stored embryos in the program were located and brought to the best medical centers of the time dealing with genetics. That's when the country, and the world, found out the true extent of what those sick bastards had done was," Sheridan finished as he stopped his pacing and unceremoniously collapsed back into his chair.
Delenn was sick to her stomach at this hidden and horrible piece of Human history. Even what they had done to each other during their Second World War had not sickened her to this extent! To actually breed a slave race to fight and die for them!
"And Ranger Cole?" she asked after managing to swallow down her nausea.
Dr. Franklin took over at that point. "Yes, Delenn. He is a descendant of those children, of one of the poor beings who were designated as the "X5 series" by their creators," he explained. "What's even worse than the fact that I could identify simply him by the inherited tryptophan imbalance, is that the poor bastard was born with the complete genetic sequence of his ancestor's bar code. And it's displaying itself on the back of his neck as if he were nothing more than some piece of livestock! No one in the EA could miss what he is."
"But he looks so Human in the stills I was sent!" Delenn exclaimed.
Franklin snorted. "That was the whole point of that so-called "series". They were designed and bred to be the "infiltrators". They even called themselves "the lucky ones" because they could "pass" for Human. But believe me Delenn, they are NOT completely Human. Cole, even as only a partial descendant, has all the dominant genetic markers of the X5s – which include feline, insect and even reptile DNA! That man could take on a drunk Minbari Warrior and not even break a sweat as he kills him!" he explained bitterly, just as sick at what had been done to those poor beings as Delenn was. How could have those sick bastards of Manticore even thought of calling themselves Doctors?!
Delenn was truly shaken but that revelation and just as truly confused. "But… I can… I can see why this would be shameful for Humanity to have known. But why keep this a Military Secret even now? Your planet's history is full of episodes almost as despicable as this one, and those are made known to anyone who wished to study you race and learn from your mistakes, why not this one?" she asked.
Sheridan chuckled bitterly at just how desperately Delenn seemed to cling to her naiveté. "You just don't get it, do you Delenn? Steven already told you what Cole as an only partial descendant of on of the "weaker" Manticore Children can do. What do you think the rest are capable of? What do you think would have happened to your Warriors if they had tried to take Earth in a ground assault if they faced an entire race of Marcus Coles?"
Delenn paled at the thought. Sweet Valeria, but what had she almost done to both Humanity and the Minbari? The denizens of Earth, Human or not, would never have stopped fighting and the Warrior Caste would NEVER have admitted defeat. They would have…
Sheridan voiced her horrible thought at that point. "That's right, Delenn. The Minbari would never have been able to take Earth in a ground assault of any kind. Between the Humans who would have fought no matter what and Cole's brethren who would have slaughtered your Warriors wholesale, you would have had to order a complete tactical bombardment from orbit; a complete nuclear genocide of the entire planet in order to take it. And at that point, the rest of known Space would have declared genocidal war on YOU. Because if you could do that to Earth, then what would stop you from doing it to them? And that's why EarthForce still calls our Manticore brothers and sisters "The Final Defense"," he explained.
Franklin broke in with, "And the rest of Humanity calls them, "Manticore's Legacy" or "Angel's Legacy" after the child that had been brought to the hospital."
"And their differences from the rest of Earth's population is why, to this day, they call themselves "Freak Nation"," Sheridan added.
Chapter 6: Lords and Ladies
What do you do when you have some unexpected guests?
Lords and Ladies
Ivanova blinked, shook her head, and then blinked again. Oookay, she was STILL seeing it. She did a quick internal check to make sure that her nightly battle with the wolf hadn't left any residual inebriation. Nope, all systems clear, not drunk. A quick pinch test proved that, yes, she was indeed awake. That left one other possible choice.
"Corwin, am I hallucinating, or am I seeing the Executor exiting the jump gate?" she asked her XO while never taking her eyes off the sight before her.
A dumbfounded and still staring at the display with shock-wide eyes Corwin shook his head and answered, "If you are hallucinating then we all are, Ma'am, 'cause I swear that I'm seeing it too!"
Damn it! Why her? Why oh why did the rest of the Command Staff have to leave the Station now of all times?! Just God fucking damn it! Why was she always stuck dealing with the all worst fucking situations on this tin can? And talk about eliminating the impossible! This was why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was NOT her favorite author by ANY stretch of the imagination! How about *THIS* for a patented B5 “Boom Today”?! After her internal rant, Susan pulled herself out of her shocked stupor, let her Russian temper rise, girded her lions, growled low in her throat and was about to start issuing orders to brace for possible attack when the passive sensors that monitored for any possible scans of the station set up an unholy racket.
The comm. officer paled at that same moment before gulping quite loudly and stuttering out, "I… I don’t know how it’s possible… But… but the Executor is hailing us and it REALLY IS the Executor, Ma’am! - And... And we’re… We’re SOMEHOW getting clear signal translation… and… Um... Ma'am, *HE* wants to talk to you!"
The Commander, the Iron Maiden of Babylon 5, visibly paled and swallowed hard. This was *THE* fucking Superstar Destroyer, the Executor, for God’s sake! This was the third most powerful weapon in the Empire’s arsenal after the Death Star and the Sun Crusher if all the old vids and books were right. That meant there were only two possibilities as to whom *HE* was, and since the wrinkled old bastard barely ever left his throne room in the old stories…
“Are we getting visual and audio signals or just an audio, Lieutenant?” Susan asked the comm. officer.
“Both, Ma’am,” came the practically terrified reply.
“Well, then, put his Sithness on screen, Lieutenant. Don’t you know that keeping a Sith Lord, and particularly THAT Sith Lord, waiting is dangerous to all our health?” Susan barked out.
Ma’am, yes, Ma’am!” the terrified junior officer snapped out as she brought the visual communications system on line and the entire CnC of Babylon 5 stared in shock at the most iconic image of a fallen hero in all of Earth lore.
Susan mentally shook herself out of her shock yet again, went to parade stance and went on the attack. Knowing that there was no way in God’s creation to stop the killer before her from destroying them all if he so desired, she immediately tried to unbalance him in order to gain the upper hand and hopefully save the Station.
“Good day and welcome to Babylon 5, Lord Vader, or Tan or Son of Suns or Hero with no Fear or Ani or Anakin or Master Skywalker or Chosen One or “Sweet Force, be careful! You’ll be the death of me one day, Padawan!” or whatever the hell you’re calling yourself these days,” Susan said in a cold and commanding voice and with a challenging smirk on her face.
At her greeting the entire Station began to shake and the Sith Lord before them growled out “How…” before Susan cut him off.
“Your reputation precedes you by galaxies, Vader, and let’s just say that we have some unbelievable intell when it comes to you, your Angel, your kids, and the wrinkled old bastard who destroyed your life. So, you stop from destroying us and we give you all we’ve got, and maybe help you find your way home too. What do you say to that deal?” Susan asked.
The Station stopped shaking as suddenly as it started as Vader stared at Susan in silence for long, tense moments before addressing her. “What do you know about my Angel?” he finally asked in a voice that would have been broken if not for his breath mask.
Susan just looked at him hard before asking her own question of, “Has that technological terror that you hate so much been finished yet?”
Vader again began with “How?” before cutting himself off with a shake of his helmeted head and going on with, “No, it has not Milady, so I ask again, what do you know of my Angel?”
“Quite a bit, actually, my Lord,” Susan answered politely. “I know that Padme’s passing wasn’t your fault, that she loved you and believed in you to the very end and that she gave you two stubborn, idealistic, hot headed children who may by now think that saving your galaxy from his Ugliness is their responsibility,” she finished.
“It’s not possible!” the Sith Lord practically blurted out in shock.
“I assure you that it is very possible, Lord Vader,” the Commander replied with a firm nod to back up her words. “I even have documented proof if you wish to see it.”
Again the Sith Lord regarded the Commander in silence as he made up his mind as how to proceed. Susan did not flinch at his regard at all. She simply raised an eyebrow and gave him that challenging Russian smirk of hers again, just daring him not to take her up on her offer. Finally, Vader nodded seemingly to himself and all of CnC but Susan let out a relieved sigh, recognizing that the threat of annihilation by Sith Lord had passed.
“You have me intrigued, Milady. I do believe that I wish to see this proof of yours. I request permission to come aboard your Station,” he finally said, using that deep, cold and commanding voice that everyone knew from the old vids.
“Permission granted, Lord Vader, and again welcome to Babylon 5,” Susan replied.
Vader looked at Susan again, this time tilting his head in an almost curious way before saying, “As you already seem to know me, or at least of me, may I ask your name, Milady? I would wish to address you in proper manor in the future.”
Susan again smirked and growled out, “I am Commander Susan Ivanova, Second in Command of Babylon 5. I am the Right Hand of Vengeance, better known around here as Star Killer. But you may address me as the rest of this sector of this galaxy does – as GOD!”
It was at that moment that Vader practically gave collective heart attacks to both the entire bridge crew of the Executor and the CnC crew of the Station when he began to wholeheartedly laugh.