30 ABY - Imperial Remnant Territory
Several Light Years from the Tangrene System
"Magnificent, isn't she?"
Captain Jaden Takeo couldn't help but agree with the pilot of the Lambda-class T-4a Shuttle, as the craft moved towards a sight which would inspire fear to those who were not part of the Imperial Remnants. An Executor-class Star Dreadnought, arguably one of the largest Super Star Destroyers ever built. While it was among the longest at 19 Kilometers, the only other vessels which have surpassed it in terms of mass were the Sovereign and Eclipse SSD's utilized during the Galactic Civil War. But none of those survived the war, the Executor-class however did.
The Star Dreadnought in question was the SSD Intimidator, found adrift in space in appalling condition. However the Imperial Remnants were able to reacquire the vessel, and after many painstaking years they brought the old Starship back into serviceable order. It was now among one of the last few Star Dreadnoughts within the Imperial Remnant Fleet.
"Yes she is..." Jaden said, agreeing with the Pilot as they moved towards one of the hangars. 'And she is MINE.' Jaden was about to become one of the youngest men to ever command a Star Dreadnought at age 22. Usually much older and more experienced Admirals or even Moff's would have been given this task… though today was a special day - one Jaden hoped to excel in.
A new set of War Games were being placed by the Remnants, in order to ascertain the capabilities of the Intimidator, and decide the fate of all other Star Dreadnoughts. Considering the massive resources required to maintain these giants, many among the Council of Moffs were considering decommissioning their Dreadnoughts in favor for more smaller Star Destroyers. The Remnants simply didn't have the need for massive Multi-Kilometer dreadnoughts considering how small their territory was now compared to what it was during the Empire's height.
Jaden - and many of the other Moffs however - disagreed, which was why the war games were being prepared. The fate of the Intimidator and Star Dreadnoughts like it hinged in the balance. Jaden is considered one of the most knowledged people on the design of the Executor-class, his parents having helped in the refit of the Intimidator after it was found in 21 ABY. The only person who could possibly know more about the Executor-class would be the woman who designed it in the first place - Lira Wessex. He knew the Intimidator's strengths and limits like the back of his hand - even more so than most Admirals in the fleet. He was the best man for the job.
Of course the Intimidator was not alone in this war game - certainly not. Surrounding the Dreadnought was a full squadron of imperial star destroyers. Ranging from Imperial I and II-class Star Destroyers, Victory-class Star Destroyers, and even a pair of Praetor II-class Star Battlecruisers, plus an Altor Replenishment ship which kept the fleet alive. They were attempting to recreate the most infamous SSD Squadron of the Galactic Civil War to act as a model for the war games - Death Squadron. Hence the name of this fleet as 'New Death Squadron'.
Needless to say, Jaden was feeling very confident with the forces that he was going to be commanding. The Shuttle finally touched down in the ventral hangar bay of the Intimidator, where a small company of Stormtroopers stood at attention awaiting his arrival, along with a male figure wearing the imperial markings of an Admiral awaiting him.
The Shuttle's boarding ramp lowered down, as Jaden was allowed to exit the shuttle, and step onboard the Intimidator's flight deck before approaching the Admiral, saluting. "Captain Jaden Takeo, Reporting in Sir." He said, as the Admiral saluted back.
"Admiral Viktor Khrom, it is good to have you here, Captain." The Admiral said nodding. "I assume you have been informed of the guidelines to the war games?"
"From front to back, sir." Jaden said. "I am ready to do my Job, sir."
Admiral Khrom smirked slightly "Ready to be an Admiral for a week?" he asked, before he gestured him to follow. "I've read your files, Takeo… you have the potential to become an Admiral, yet the few times High Command has asked you… you refused. You could be the youngest man to become Admiral in such short time."
"I'm perfectly happy with where I am now, Admiral sir." Jaden said, as they entered a turbolift. "Becoming an Admiral feels more like a political thing than a military duty when there's no wars to be fought."
"Suit yourself." The Admiral said. "When the war games begin, I shall relinquish command of the Intimidator to you through the duration of the operation. The rest of the task force will follow your commands as well. Until then, consider yourself my acting XO."
"Understood." Jaden said nodding, before the turbolift came to a halt, arriving at the bridge of the Intimidator.
"Sir, all starships are supplied and ready." One of the ensigns said. "We can head out to the target coordinates when you say so."
"Admiral Sir, we are picking up a transmission from High Command." The Comm Officer said. "Its from Grand Admiral Pellaeon."
"Patch it through." Admiral Khrom said, as he turned and faced the holo screen. A few moments passed before the image of the leader of the Imperial Remnants appeared before them - Grand Admiral Gilad Pellaeon. "Grand Admiral sir." Khrom said, as he and Jaden saluted. "We are about to begin with the War Games."
"Good, but that is not why I have contacted you Admiral." Pellaeon said, "We have somewhat of a situation here, and your task force is the closest to deal with it."
Khrom rose an eyebrow at that "Understood sir, what is it?" He asked.
"Several minutes ago, we picked up an Imperial signal coming from the Fodro Asteroid belt." Pellaeon said, "The signal was using an old Galactic civil war-era code. Normally we would presume its an old Imperial probe droid… but after going through our databases, the code is one of the old Imperial HIGHCOM Communiqué, connected to the Superweapon's Division."
"I thought the Imperial Superweapon's Division was disbanded..." Khrom said.
"It was." Pellaeon said. "But it seems someone may not have gotten the memo."
"Are you saying that signal is coming from a Superweapon from the civil war, sir?" The Admiral asked, as Pellaeon sighed.
"We don't know, but we aren't taking any chances." He said. "I want your fleet to investigate, and see what it is. If it is a Superweapon, ascertain what its capabilities are. Depending on what it is, your orders will be either to bring it back… or destroy it. The last thing we need right now is to spark another war with the galaxy 'cause we found another one of Palpatine's old toys."
The Admiral nodded "Understood sir." He said, "We shall investigate the signal immediately."
"See to it - Pellaeon out." The Grand Admiral said, before the comm switched off.
"Captain Takeo, it seems the war game is going to be delayed a bit." Khrom said. "Helm! Set a course for the Fodro System!"
It was only a short hyperspace jump later that the New Death Squadron arrived at the Fodro system, outside the asteroid belt of the system. Soon after its arrival, the Intimidator launched out a single GAT-12 Skipray Blastboat to proceed into the asteroid field to track down the signal. "Eight Nine Five Niner Gamma, departing Intimidator." The pilot of the Skipray said. "Beginning active scan of the asteroid field."
"Roger that Eight Nine Five Niner Gamma," The operator from the Intimidator said. "Begin active scanning, inform us if you discover any anomalies."
"Roger Intimidator, scanning comm waves now." The pilot said, as the Skipray began navigating through the asteroids, actively scanning the area for unusual contacts.
"Once again, we've been given the most boring duties of the Empire..." the co-pilot said with a groan.
"Hey, eyes peeled." The pilot said, lightly smacking the side of the helmet of the co-pilot. "Boring or not, being lax loses lives. So keep those guns on a swivel!"
"Yes sir!" The two gunners both acknowledged as they manned their gunning stations, as the Skipray continued further into the asteroid field.
"So, if it really is a super weapon… what do you think it'll be?" The first gunner asked.
"Hell if I know." The second one said, "If there even is a Super weapon, let's hope it doesn't have some stupid gaping design flaw… I still can't believe the DS1 got blown up because of a two meter wide hole, by some Rebel newbie."
"Whoever designed the Death Star I was a bloody idiot." The first gunner said. "A Smart idiot, but an idiot none the less."
"Yeah, DSII was better by all means… still got blown up in a stupid way." the second gunner said. "Seriously, now the hole was big enough for a YT-1300, X-wings and TIE's to fly through!"
"I think we can blame that one on Palpatine being a fucking senile moron." The first Gunner said. "He just let the Rebels get the DSII specs for the ambush… and what was the point of putting the DSII's shields on Endor's moon, and not on the actual Death Star itself? What's the point of building a secret Superweapon, if you don't keep it fucking secret?!"
"I'll tell you guys what's bullshit - what happened to the Executor." The co-pilot said. "What the hell were they thinking on that ship? That A-wing crashed into the bridge, and then it just crashed into the Death Star? Bull. shit. All capital ships have reserve bridges in the event the main bridge gets destroyed just like that! And none of the crew used the damn thing?"
"Cut the chatter you guys," the pilot said, before smirking. "Sides… Eclipse is way better than the Death Star's."
"True dat." the three other crewmen said with a light chuckle, before the sensors began to go off. "What's that?" The pilot asked, as the co-pilot swung over to the sensor station.
"We've got contacts! Two craft approaching!" He said.
"I see e'm!" The first gunner said. "They look like… TIE/D's!"
"No, the TIE/D Droids!"
Sure enough, moments after saying so a pair of TIE/D Automated Starfighters appeared from behind one of the many asteroids, moving along the Skipray, flanking either side of the blastboat.
"Receiving a message from the TIE's," The co-pilot said. "They're asking for a… confirmation code?"
"Intimidator, this is Eight Nine Five Niner Gamma, we've encountered a pair of TIE Droids." The pilot said, "They are asking for a confirmation code. Please advise."
There was a short pause "Intimidator to Gamma, we're going through the data Pellaeon sent us, stand by." Khrom said.
The pilot glanced out the window where the two TIE/D's still flanking them, more than capable of gunning them down "Make it snappy, Intimidator." He said, "I'd rather not keep… whoever these guys are waiting."
"Allow me, sir." Jaden said, followed by a bit of muttering on the comm. "Yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah… ah! right here: Eight Nine Five Niner Gamma - open a link to the Droids. Authorization Code Omega, Blue Eight Eight Zeta Five."
There was a short pause on the comm, before the two TIE/D's accelerated forward, as they flew past the Skipray. "Receiving a new message." The co pilot said. "The TIE's want us to follow them… should we?"
"I don't think we have much choice..." the pilot muttered, as they turned the Skipray to follow the TIE's. They continued to head deeper into the asteroid field, easily avoiding colliding with any stay asteroids, before they began to come across a strange clearing in the field.
That was when they spotted it.
At first, they mistook it as another Asteroid, a large one roughly thirty eight kilometers long. But as the TIE's and the Skipray approached, they began to make out weapons platforms, turbolaser and ion cannon batteries, and other manmade structures built inside and out of the asteroid. But most noticeably was the large disk-shaped area just along the front of the asteroid.
"Holy shit..." The co pilot muttered, "Is that… is that what I think it is?"
"Its… an Eye of Palpatine… " the pilot whispered, "So there was a second ship..."
"Well, Palpatine did have two eyes." One of the gunners said, "But look at that monster! Its twice the size of the original!"
Suddenly, the comm activated before a voice spoke up "Am I speaking to the Commander in charge of the task force?" The voice said, sounding synthetic in nature.
The pilot blinked, before he nodded to the co-pilot who patched the signal over to the Intimidator. "This is Admiral Viktor Khrom, of the Imperial Super Star Destroyer Intimidator." The admiral spoke up. "To whom am I speaking too?"
"You may call me Lucard, Admiral." The voice said. "Imperial Artificial Intelligence I.D 03910492-324. I have been selected to act as the foreman and operator to Imperial Weapons Project #019428194 - also known as the Eye of Palpatine II. Have the galaxy been attacked by the Far Outsiders?"
"Far Outsiders?" Khrom asked, "Wait… do you mean the Yuuzhan Vong? Yes… but the war ended a few years ago..."
There was a long pause on the comm after that "The… Far Outsiders have been defeated?" Lucard asked, its synthetic voice spoke in a surprised tone. "Are you certain of this?"
"Yes… Lucard." Khrom said. "It ended roughly a year ago. Most of the Vong have retreated to Zonama Sekot in self-exile… "
"Admiral, the Eye of Palpatine II was attacked by a vessel I assumed belonged to the Far Outsiders." Lucard said. "It seems that not all of these 'Yuuzhan Vong' have exiled."
"Admiral sir, the Vong couldn't possibly of attacked here." Jaden spoke, "Any Vong who haven't returned to Zonama are far away from Imperial space..."
"This facility has been attacked by an unknown vessel." Lucard said. "It ha assumed that the attacking vessel belonged to the Far Outsiders, hence the reason for my attempt to contact Imperial High Command. It is my mission to assist the empire in defeating the Far Outsiders… Warning: Anomaly detected: Unknown Vessel approaching."
A form materialized out of seemingly nowhere, black as night, if not darker, looking like a cross between a sea urchin, a spider and your worst nightmare. "That is NOT Yuuzhan Vong." The Co pilot said.
It fired a purple beam at the Blastboat, missing only by a few meters. "And THAT is not normal! We don't have sustained energy weapons like that!" The pilot shouted as he pitched the Blastboat into a turn. They heard a scream in the void, heard in their minds, but not over the comm.
"What the FUCK is that?!" One of the Gunners shouted, covering their ears, but to little effect.
"Intimidator to Gamma, RTB Now!" Khrom ordered. "Reinforcements en-route now! Lucard, if your Eye of Palpatine II is even half as good as the original, use everything at your disposal to kill whatever the hell that is!"
"Understood, Admiral - it is my duty to obey the highest ranking Imperial officer present." The A.I said. "All weapons are armed, and launching TIE/D Automated Starfighters."
As it had said, the Eye of Palpatine II began deploying a wave of TIE/D Droid Starfighters out into space, moving to engage the unknown contact. While the Imperial Fleet moved in, the Intimidator and its escorts began launching swarms of TIE Fighters, Bombers, and Interceptors.
The...thing responded in kind, firing some sort of organic mass that split into dozens, if not hundreds, of tiny creatures roughly the size of a TIE/LN. "That's just not fair." One of the many TIE pilots commented.
"Take them on two on one." A TIE Defender pilot said, "No idea who these guys are, but let show them what we can do! We've fought Rebels and Vong, we sure as hell won't be beat by these guys! For the Empire!"
"For the Empire!" The pilots shouted, as they dived down to engage the incoming fighter-like creatures.
The creatures fired a purple-pink energy pulse at the TIEs, which was harder to avoid then their blaster fire, but more powerful, if the fact that a TIE Avenger was nearly destroyer with its' shields still up when it was hit being a sign. For all their power, though, the fighter-things lacked maneuverability and speed. They took advantage of that, taking down a creature every so often. "Intimidator, these things hurt like a bitch!"
The big bug disappeared, allowing the fighters to dogfight their way through. "Sir? The big one just disappeared."
At the Intimidator's bridge, Khrom's eyes narrowed "It has a stealth feature?" He asked.
"Well, if we could cloak a whole Executor-class, anything's possible." Jaden said.
The nightmare reappeared too close for comfort, firing its' primary weapon on the Executor-Class SSD, impacting the shields. "Admiral, that thing packs a wallop! Shields are weakening!"
"Return Fire!" Khrom shouted, as the bridge shook. "Fire everything we've got!" And the Intimidator did infact fire everything it had, as the Star Dreadnought fired all of its Turbolasers, Heavy Turbolasers, Concussion Missiles, and Ion Cannons into the unknown vessel, unleashing an unholy hail of laser and ion fire into the vessel.
"Energy build-up inside enemy vessel!" One of the operators shouted. "Sir, I think it's trying to enter hyperspace!"
"Do NOT let that thing escape!" Khrom shouted. "Concentrate firepower!" The fleet pounded the enemy ship, which began to turn transparent. Before it could do so, however, it exploded, causing a massive hole in space-time, colored a light brown. The gravitational force began to pull them all in.
"What the Hell is that?!" One of the ensigns shouted.
"Its like a miniature black hole!" Jaden said, before he hit the comm "This is Captain Takeo to all ships - whatever you do, do NOT activate your hyperdrives! You'll rip your ships in half!"
"Then how do you expect us to escape it without Hyperdrives?" Khrom demanded.
"We don't." Jaden said. "No way we can escape it with sublight… no idea what's on the other side sir, but for what its worth… its been an honor."
The Intimidator and the fleet slowly was pulled into the hole in space. Some of the ships used their sublight engines to get away, but with little to no effect as they just delayed the inevitable. The fleet wasn't all that was pulled in, as nearby asteroids and the Eye of Palpatine II were also soon pulled in by the gravity well of the hole. One by one they were all pulled in, and eventually the tear in space was sealed - leaving no trace of New Death Squadron to be found.
A 1,714.3 meter long ship hovered in the void as it completed repairs to its' engines, the gravity block rotating to make sure the crew were comfortable as they worked. On the forward section was a name and call letter: EAS Omega 'O'. This was the first of the Omega-Class destroyers used by the Earth Alliance, with the most experienced crew in the fleet, having been on the ship since she was commissioned. "Captain, we're picking up a disturbance." An operator on the bridge said. "Coordinates 45 by 97 by 264: looks to be a super-powered jump point."
The commander of the Omega brushed his hand through his greying hair, sucking on an apple-flavored sucker before speaking. "Send out Alpha flight." He said. "Level two alert status: just in case whatever it is is hostile."
"Aye, sir, Alpha flight launching."
A trio of SA-26E Aurora-Class Starfuries launched from the Omega's bay, firing all their aft thrusters to get clear. "Alpha One to Omega Control: we're en route to the unknown contact." The lead pilot said. "Are we cleared to go weapons free?"
"Fire when fired upon, Alpha Leader: if you encounter anything, try to initiate peaceful contact. We don't need another Earth-Minbari War."
The three furies headed directly for the contact. "Uh...sir? We're seeing something wrong out here."
"A massive goddamn ship, and a big freaking fleet around it."
Meanwhile - SSD Intimidator
Jaden groaned as he finally regained focus, "Well... I'm not dead..." He mused before he glanced around, seeing the rest of the crew waking up as well.
Khrom coughed a bit as he stood up "Report!" He shouted.
"All systems are still functioning, sir." One of the Lieutenants reported. "Receiving word from the rest of the fleet... All ships and TIE's are accounted for."
"Good - any sign of that mystery ship or her craft?" The Admiral asked.
"No sir - the mothership was destroyed, but no sign of its fighters." The Lieutenant said. "However, sensors are picking up a new contact several thousand Kilometers away. Three smaller craft have launched - possibly fighters. But they do not seem to be of the same designs as the vessel that attacked us."
Khrom sighed, before thinking about what to do next. "I'm not taking any chances here." He said, "Have the fleet reform, and all cab able fighters still out at the ready. Any damaged star fighters are to RTB. I want Shadow Squadron sent out now - in cloak to see who they are. I want the Admonitor and the Judicator to head them off if they are hostile."
"Orders sent sir." The lieutenant said, as the two Imperial I-class Star Destroyers came to life as they turned towards the unknowns.
"Get me a line through too Lucard." Khrom said.
"Admiral Khrom." The synthetic voice of Lucard could be heard once more. "It is good to see you are alright. Your vessels all appear to be functioning. I am happy to report that the Eye of Palpatine II is also functioning at optimal capacity."
"That's good to hear." Khrom said. "We have unknown craft approaching - not of the same make as the one from before. If they turn out to be hostile, we may need your help soon. Hopefully we can handle this without starting a new war."
"Understood, Admiral." Lucard said. "I am at the ready to aid you."
Alpha One fired his retro-thrusters, stopping the Aurora dead in space. "This is Flight Lieutenant Benjamin Wallace, callsign Alpha One of the Earth Alliance destroyer Omega to unidentified...whatever the hell your ships are classed as." He said. "Please respond."
For a few moments, all they heard was static on the comm. "Maybe we're outside their comm range?" Alpha Two asked.
"I doubt it'll be a good - wait!" Alpha Three said, "Two of the ships are moving our way! Geez, they're almost as big as an Omega. What should we-"
However, they were cut of as appearing almost out of thin air appeared twelve oddly shaped craft surrounding them, each one looking like three dagger-like claws circled around what appeared to be a cockpit. "This is Flight Captain Javal Tau of the 12th Tactical Starfighter Shadow Squadron, from the Imperial Super Star Destroyer Intimidator." A voice spoke on the comm, sounding rather human. "We are receiving you, Alpha One. Apologies if we startled you, but considering the day we've been having so far, my superior wasn't taking any chances."
"The fuck is with the invis-" Alpha two began to say before Benjamin cut him off.
"Shut up!" He hissed before he focused on the unknowns. "You're not coming in clearly. I'm using one of the older radio channels to patch you through, and I'm not sure we can keep this shit up. I'll try to patch you through to Omega actual." Tachyon based comms were easier to deal with then the older radio sets the shadows were using, and much more clear. "Omega actual, you're on."
"This is Captain Ronald Pinkerton of the Earth Alliance destroyer Omega to the SSD Intimidator." The Captain of the Omega said. "Are you human?"
There was a short pause, before a reply came. "This is Admiral Viktor Khrom of the SSD Intimidator of the Galactic Empire, to the Earth Alliance vessel Omega." came the reply. "As a matter of fact, yes I am. And you?"
"Yes. In fact, Earth is the human homeworld, and the Alliance is our legitimate government." Captain Pinkerton said. "Where the hell have YOU been to forget that? And where the hell did you get that massive ship? The Centauri? The Minbari?"
Once again, there was a long pause on the comm before a reply came "We are… not familiar with the Centauri or Minbari you speak of." Khrom said, "And we have never heard of this planet called… Earth. Captain, I believe it will be much more advisable that we meet face-to-face."
"Helm, take us in, maximum thrust." Ron said. "Maintain alert, just in case they aren't really friendly. Alpha Squadron, sortie and take up combat air patrol position." The first destroyer of the Omega-Class fired her main thrusters, moving toward the fleet.
"Sir, I saw an echo on scanners: it looked like a ship, then it vanished." One of the operators said.
"If you see it again, contact me. Prep a shuttle: I'm going on board that monster to talk to the Admiral." The captain got up, heading for the zero-g area that housed the hangar deck as soon as he left the bridge.
Later - Intimidator hangar bay
"So, we're not in our neighborhood anymore?" Jaden asked, as he and Admiral Khrom awaited the arrival of the 'Earth Alliance' shuttle craft.
Viktor shook his head "Our star charts aren't lining up to any known constellations." he said, "Even if we were in the unknown regions we'd be seeing some familiar stars. We cannot even contact Imperial HIGHCOM, or even the Alliance. And I've never heard of an Earth Alliance, these Centauri or the Minbari… we are likely not even in our own galaxy now."
Jaden sighed "This isn't good..." he said, "We were fully stocked when we left, but our current supplies will only last us for a year at best… and I doubt we'll be getting resupplied soon."
"Which is why I hope to open up an alliance or at least an with this Earth Alliance if possible." Khrom said, "We're gonna need detailed star maps of this galaxy, we need information on other local governments, we need all the data we can get our hands on if we're going to survive out here until we can find a way home."
"Let's hope the Earth Alliance is a group we can actually work with." Jaden said. At that moment, the Earth Alliance shuttle came into view as it moved into the ventral hangar bay of the Intimidator, and the Battalion of Stormtroopers all stood at attention as it came in for a landing.
The craft reminded them of an ISD to some rough degree, sans the command tower, as the transport landed in bay with some difficulty. The rear hatch opened, and out came four armed men carrying almost comically small rifles followed by a man in a blue uniform with some form signia on his uniform's left breast. "Admiral Khrom, I'm Captain Pinkerton, EAS Omega." The man said.
"A pleasure to meet you, Captain." Khrom said, "This is my XO Captain Jaden Takeo. Welcome aboard the ISS Intimidator."
"That would make you commander of the task force, and HIM commander of this ship." Ron said nodding. "I presume you have questions, just as I, and we both have answers we want. And don't mind the Gropos: they insisted on coming to make sure I got off in one piece, just in case you were less then friendly."
"Don't worry Captain, we have no intentions of starting a shooting war with someone we just met." Khrom said, "If you would please follow me to the conference room of the ship, we can get this underway."
Ron nodded, eyeing the Marines while subtly signalling them to follow as he did the same for the Imperials. "I can contact EarthDome in order to set up a link with the President if you want to talk to him, but I wouldn't exactly recommend it."
Khrom rose an eyebrow at that as they proceeded down the halls. "And why is that?" He asked.
"The President would use your ships for his own purposes, saying that 'you're human, so your shit belongs to the Alliance'." Ron said. "He's also xenophobic in the extreme: hates non-Terrans on principle, which is rather idiotic."
"We know the feeling." Khrom said. "The Empire use to be like that a few decades ago… thankfully those old COMPNOR policies died out mostly after the Civil war ended. If he thinks he can take the Intimidator away from us - he can try, but there's a reason she's called a Super Star Destroyer, and why most Rebel and Republic fleets opted to stay away from these in our galaxy."
"Your galaxy?" Ron asked, as they finally arrived at a small briefing/conference room.
"We do not believe we are from your galaxy, Captain Pinkerton." Khrom said as they walked inside. "Our star charts don't match with the surrounding stars at all, we cannot contact our governments… and we have never heard of your Earth Alliance, nor the Centauri or Minbari you mentioned before."
"That explains why your ships look nothing like anything here." Ron said nodding as they tok their seats. "The closest I can think of when it comes to size is the Vorlons, and their shit...isn't normal."
"Normal?" Jaden asked.
"I think their technology is organic: living ships at home in space or atmo." Ron said. "This?" He tapped his foot against the metal floor. "This is pure metal, alloys and such."
"Living ships… sounds like the Yuuzhan Vong… " Khrom muttered, "I can only hope these… Vorlons aren't like the Vong… speaking of, though..." He tapped a few commands into a console, before at the center of the screen a holographic image of the spider-like vessel which attacked them appeared. "Is this a Vorlon ship? Our fleet came under attack by this vessel, and its destruction is what sent us here to this universe in some type of… wormhole we believe."
Ron shook his head. "No." He said, "That's not Vorlon. It's...Well, I have no fucking clue WHAT it is. I saw it on ISN a few days ago, but no one knows WHAT it is."
"Well whatever this ship is, it was formidable." Jaden said, "It deployed almost… living fighters off of its hull, gave our TIE's a run for their credits, and its guns packed a wallop. Pilots also reported hearing… screams. Not on the Comm's, but coming from inside their heads... " he shook his head "All we know now, is that whatever that ship was, it was not from our galaxy."
"The latter sounds telepathic." Ron said nodding. "Not unheard of: we have telepaths, but I don't trust any of them worth a shit. 'Corps is mother, Corps is father', as they put it. My daughter was forced to join them as a fucking PsiCop just because she was a P-11."
"PsiCop?" Jaden asked, with a raised eyebrow.
"P-10s and up: they hunt down rogue telepaths and force them back into the Corps." Ron aid. "They're all assholes, and Bester's the worst of them all. He took my girl away from me. I DID, however, make him pay for it."
Jaden seemed to think about that for a moment "What can your… Telepaths do?" He asked, "Are they only capable of reading minds, or do they possess Telekinetic abilities as will?"
"Two kinds: Teeps and teeks." Ron said. "First is telepathic, the other is telekinetic, although some, like my daughter, have both abilities. It's how the Corps found her."
"Hmmm… they could be force sensitives..." Jaden muttered to himself.
"Force what?" Ron asked.
"In our galaxy, we also have Telepaths. But they gain their powers from an energy field called the Force." Jaden said. "It surrounds and binds all life in the universe… its a long shot, but perhaps your galaxy's telepaths are actually force sensitives… like myself."
"Ah yes, the report on you mentioned that." Khrom mused, "You were trained outside the Jedi Order, yes?"
"I was trained to look at the force with more practicality and skepticism than the mythical standards the Jedi and Sith Orders continue to rave about." Jaden said. "When Jedi or Sith follow that archaic bullshit, we get people like Palpatine or C'Baoth… speaking of, hope you don't mind renaming the Eye of Palpatine II into something else - I'd like to disassociate ourselves from that Chakkar as much as possible."
A beep was heard before Ron raised his left hand, touching something attached to the back of it. "Pinkerton. Go." He said.
"Captain, remember that contact? It just appeared again: edge of scanner range. It's approaching on an attack vector, range: 60000 kilometers."
"Alert status red." Ron said. "Launch all fighters."
"Bridge to Admiral Khrom - we've got a contact appearing on our sensors!" The overhead Comm announced. "Sensor Silhouette matches the profile to that ship we fought before!"
Khrom's eyes narrowed "Looks like we've got an uninvited guest." He said as he stood up. "I will be there momentarily. Launch all Fighters, and form up the battle line around the Eye. I want every weapon we've got ready to fire once that thing comes in range!"
Khrom looked at Ron. "If you wish Captain, you may follow us to the bridge." He said, "I doubt you have enough time to return back to your ship before that vessel reaches firing range."
"Agreed." Ron said, standing up as he spoke into his communicator. "Max, arm the aft batteries and fire as soon as that thing enters range. Let's show our new friends why our ship's classified as a destroyer."
"Aye, sir." Ron pressed the device again, smirking.
"Why IS your ship classed as a destroyer?" Jaden asked as they headed for the Intimidator's bridge. "Aren't cruisers heavier?"
"Nope." Ron said. "Even dreadnoughts have nothing against an Omega-Class destroyer. We've got more guns and fighters then any ship in the fleet. Only the Warlocks have heavier arms, and they aren't even in the stages of construction yet."
"Can't wait to see your ship in action then." Jaden said with a smirk, "And then we can show you what a fleet of Imperial Star Destroyers plus a Star Dreadnought and Battlecruisers can do against people who piss us off."
The first destroyer of her breed launched the second of her two starfury squadrons, arming all of her heavy armaments: energy mines, pulse cannons, plasma/X-ray lasers, even 150 kiloton nukes, just to name a few. Omegas were fleets in being for a reason. "Enemy vessel is closing: 5000 kilometers." One of the operators said. "4500."
"Aft batteries, fire at will!" The aft guns, mounted right beside the main engines, fired dozens of pulse bursts at the unknown ship, followed by four plasma laser beams, all of which impacted the urchin from hell, burning off one of the 'stingers'.
This of course seemed to piss off the unknown vessel, which proceeded to launch its swarm of fighters. The enemy vessel then fired a beam of energy which hit the Omega square into its 'face', causing the whole ship to shudder.
"Report!" Max shouted.
"launch bay is out of action! forward guns are down! We can't fire!"
"Communications are offline, Commander: even the IFF beacon's gone!"
"Take us closer to the Intimidator: maybe their fighters can give us cover!"
"They hit. My. Ship." Ron muttered.
"Yeah, they did."
"They. Hit. MY. SHIP." Ron growled.
"Yeah - they did… and now they pay for it." Jaden said with a smirk.
"Intimidator to all ships: Fire for Maximum effect!" Khrom ordered. "I want the Admonitor and Avenger to escort the Omega into our formation! All TIE's are to focus on the fighters, and Bombers are weapons free! If we could kill one of these things before, we can do it again!"
And they did in fact fire for effect, as Ron watched from the bridge the absolute unholy salvo of weapons fire unleashed by the Intimidator in a hail of weapons fire never before seen in his galaxy - combined with the firepower of the many other vessels of the fleet, plus the sheer power of the asteroid station as well, all speeding towards the unknown vessel.
The unknown vessel didn't stand a chance, as the first few batteries hit against the shields, which soon faltered and failed before the rest of the barrage began hitting its hull, scorching and burning the vessel. Many of its support fighters being torn to pieces as well, and those that survived were quickly being picked off by the highly maneuverable starfighters the Imperials had launched - which Ron could quickly claim were far superior to their Starfuries.
The organic cruiser of death was pounded by turbolaser and pulse cannon fire from the Omega's dorsal turrets, which caused the urchin to crumple and die, but not explode like the last one. It began rotting away, albeit slowly.
"And scratch two." Jaden said with a satisfied nod. "No one fuck with the Empire or our friends and gets away with it… anymore at least."
Ron tapped the comm device on his hand. "Omega, this is Pinkerton." He said, but was met with static. "Omega, respond." He shut off the link. "Damn it, they damaged the comm system. Please tell me you're picking up tachyon readings from my ship."
"You use tachyon-based comms?" Jaden asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Yes, now, are they sending anything?"
The sensor officer shook his head. "No, Captain: they're not sending a thing." He said.
"If you would allow us Captain, we can send over an engineering team and a medical team to your ship." Khrom said. "Help get repairs to your ship started, and help any wounded."
"Granted." Ron said nodding. "We've got the spare parts to repair the Omega's weapons and comms a dozen times over, but if my crews are down, it's going to take a long time to get her back online. I'd send a crew to recover a piece of that fucking thing if I were you: I want answers as to who the FUCK these assholes think they are."
"Already on it." Khrom said, snapping his fingers as the order was sent. "They'll collect what they can, and hopefully we'll figure out what that ship is, and who it belongs to. I want them in full Hazzard Gear - we don't know what to expect from that ship, so I won't take chances. If anything starts going wrong, RTB immediately. Meanwhile I need another shuttle prepped and ready to head for the Omega with a full Engineering and Medical team."
"Aye sir!" The lieutenant said.
"Captain Takeo, if you would please join Captain Pinkerton onboard his ship." Khrom said. "Your arguably one of the best we have for engineering anyways."
Jaden smirked "Understood sir, I'll do my best." He said, "We'll head over there ASAP."
Ron spun on his heel, heading off the command deck. "I hope you can work in zero-g." He said.
"What, don't have AG fields?" Jaden asked.
"We have a rotational section for a reason, Captain." Ron said. "The Omega's the first Earth military ship to use gravity, and we have to use a rotational section. That's why the Warlocks aren't on the line: they're designed to use gravitic propulsion as well as plasma thrusters. This is the first human ship I've seen that even HAS proper AG tech."
"Humans in our galaxy have had this tech for roughly thousands of years." Jaden said, "Its a rather simple technology, its very rare to find ships that don't use at least a small AG field generator. If you want, I could convince the Captain to allow me to fit one onto your ship. Though for now, don't worry - I've worked in Zero G hundreds of times in the past - this should be no different."
"My crew will love you for that."
"Rotational section is down for repairs: we're going to be on z-grav for the time being, commander."
Max Grayson snarled. He served on the Hyperion and Nova-Classes: both were ZG ships. He hated them both, and welcomed the Omega-Class' rotational section for the gravity block. "Focus on communications, THEN fix the rotational system: I don't want to be working in z-grav."
"Amen to that, Max." The XO turned his head to see Ron and someone wearing a grey uniform enter the command deck. "Report." Ron said.
"Rotational section is down, forward guns are down, and the launch bay is out of action." Max said. "Comm's are also down - that blast hit our IFF beacon as well, so that's down too. We're working on repairs now." He then glanced at the man standing next to Ron. "Who are you?"
"Captain Jaden Takeo, XO of the Intimidator, and Chief Engineer." Jaden said, "Me and my team are here to fix your ship, just tell us where you need us. I also got the approval from Admiral Khrom to fit your vessel with one of our AG field generators to make life a bit easier for ya. If you would also point where the med bay is, I brought a full team of medics to help any wounded you have."
"Thank you, God." Max said with a relieved sigh. "No more zero gravity."
"Until we test that thing, there WILL be zero gravity." Ron said. "Get comms back online, then weapons. I hate being blindsided."
"Good thing this ship has more or less the same outline as a Corellian battleship." Jaden said. "I'll get her comms back online."
"Very good. Max, send a 'fury to Minbar with a message: a friend in need."
Max nodded, as he issued the order out.
"Well, I'm ordering the teams where the damage is at its heaviest." Jaden said, typing a few commands into his datapad. "Medics are heading to your medbay now, they'll follow your medical personnel's orders. Just give me a map and I'll head to Comm's and get that squared away."
Ron handed him a flexi with the general blueprint of the Omega-Class. "It's a good thing there's a jumpgate not 30 minutes out."
"Passive FTL travel: we bypass normal space and go into hyperspace, where we can travel between star systems in a matter of days or hours, rather then months or years." Ron said. "You have to ride the beacons, though, or your ass is lost in the void. We have a jumpdrive on board, but without comms, we're going nowhere."
"Hmm… your concept of Hyperspace travel must be different from our own." Jaden said, "Hyperdrives of our starships allow otherwise slower-than-light starships to leap past the threshold between baryonic and Tachyonic matter, and reach speeds hundreds of thousands of times than that of light. We can enter and leave Hyperspace whenever required… we just need a detailed map of the surrounding area - and galaxy - to do so safely. The last thing we want to do is enter hyperspace and drop out right in front of a star or a black hole. Which is why the Admiral was wondering if you had detailed maps of your galaxy that we could use."
"Only system maps, but I know a place where we can get a general galaxy map." Ron said.
"A refuge for dreams and hopes." Ron said. "Our last, and best, hope for peace. Babylon 5."
"Is Babylon 5 a planet?" Jaden asked, but Ron shook his head.
"No, a space station - a space colony really." He said, "The last of the Babylon project - Babylon's 1 through 3 were destroyed via sabotage, while 4 went MIA."
"Once we get your ship squared away then, we'll have to pay Babylon 5 a visit then." Jaden said. "I doubt they'll take to kindly to a whole fleet showing up on their doorstep, so the Admiral will probably have myself follow your vessel with one of ours. The rest will wait here."
"The Omega can't enter hyperspace right now: the tides would rip us in half." Ron said. "A starfury CAN go into hyperspace, though, if a jump point is opened for us. Besides, I want to keep your ships a secret from Clark: I do NOT trust him."
"If what you told me is true, its probably for the best." Jaden said nodding. "I'll send a message to the Admiral, he'll probably agree - but he'll want some of our personnel to go to Babylon 5 as well, get a lay for the land… I admit I too am curious as to what this station is like."
"you'll need to ditch the uniform." Ron said. "Hmm...I'll be back in a minute."
The captain returned with a bundle of clothing in Jaden's size. "You keep civies on your ship?" Jaden asked.
"I tend to like to be prepared for everything." Ron said. "Call it the Batman Complex."
"I'll explain later." Ron said, as he gave Jaden the clothes. "Anyways, once you finish repairs put e'm on."
"Alright." Jaden said nodding as he put the clothes in the bag he carried. "Well, if you excuse me I'll be repairing your Comm's and getting you some Artificial Gravity here." With that said, Jaden maneuvered through zero gravity as he made his way to engineering.
Ron pulled out another uniform, this one with a green position bar and lieutenant rank bars, as well as hair dye and contacts. He couldn't pay a visit as himself, could he? "So, boss, paying another visit to B5 as Lieutenant Vance Erikson?" Max asked.
"I can't go to B5 as me without the Omega in tow." He said as he brushed the brown dye into his hair, removing any trace of his gray hair before putting the contacts into his eyes, turning them a dark gray. With the uniform and a few minor touchups to remove any wrinkles, no one who didn't know him as Ronald Pinkerton would know it was him. "Prep the 'Wayne' starfury and a shuttle, Max. Push them out of the hangar if you have to."
Meanwhile, Jaden entered the engineering section, where Imperial Engineers were working alongside the Alliance engineers to get the Omega back to 100%. "Who's in charge here?" Jaden asked.
"Gregory Norman, Chief Engineering officer." A voice said, as Jaden turned to face a man wearing the Alliance engineer uiform. "The boss send you down here to help?"
"That's right - and instal an AG field Generator once you're ready." Jaden said. "My engineers will do all they can to help - as will I."
"Bout fucking time." Gregory said, "ZG comes in handy for the superheavy shit, but when the tools float around? Pain in the ass. So, the boss taking you to B5 later, right?"
"How'd you know?"
"He likes to brag about the station." Gregory said, "Second largest thing built by the Alliance. B4 was bigger, and it could MOVE, too. He wants B5 to do the job it was meant to do."
"Considering how much hype he's building up to it, it must be impressive." Jaden said. "But more about that later - where do you need me? Its your ship after all."
"Down that way." Gregory said, pointing down the hall. "Comm unit's damaged. Just replace the parts that are burnt out. If everything's black, just pull the damn thing." A box of parts was shoved Jaden's way. "The replacement parts for the individual job."
"Got it - I'll take care of it." Jaden said, as he took the box of parts as he proceeded to the comm area indicated. Upon arriving, he quickly got to work as he opened the box, and began replacing the parts, quickly and effectively. "Yeah, its pretty much toast in here… give me a minute, I'll have her back up before you can correctly pronounce a Chiss's full name."
"Mitt… mittraw… mitth… goddamnit..."
"That's what I thought." Jaden said with a chuckle "Not many can say it without botching it up..." he took out the last burnt part, and replaced it with a fresh one. "Done, and done. Comm's should be working now. I've also made it so your general comm range is 20% greater than before, and it should be easier to interface with the Comm's of imperial ships now as well."
"Pinkerton to all hands: I'd get your asses to a monitor if I were you." Ron said. "Comms are back up, and we're picking up a feed from ISN. Oh, fuck it. Piping over the PA."
"-In recent news, we just received a report from the Ministry of Peace that the prototype of the Omega-class, commanded by Ronald Pinkerton, a survivor of the Battle of the Line, has gone missing. Six hours ago, the ship's beacon simply stopped transmitting, and, as General Hague said to the press recently, the captain would not tolerate comms silence if he could help it. It is presumed the ship disappeared into hyperspace, with all hands lost. For InterStellar Network news, I'm Talia Rodgers."
There was a long pause across everyone of the alliance personnel of the Omega, as the new sunk in for all of them.
"Well it a good thing your Comm's are working now." Jaden said to Gregory. "You can inform your superiors your at least not dead, right?"
"With the President pulling the asshole thing?" Gregory asked. "The Cap's not telling shit until Clark's booted out of office: asshole probably had a hand in killing President Santiago. he was planning on letting him use the Omega as acting EarthForce One, but the man in charge said he'd take his own ship. It exploded over Io."
Jaden's eyes narrowed a bit "That does sound suspicious." He said. "It may be best for now that the public of your alliance believe your ship is gone… I believe the Admiral will be more than happy to allow you and your ship to remain with New Death Squadron for as long as you wish."
"C&C to Captain Takeo: your shuttle's ready for departure. Lieutenant Erikson's waiting for you."
"The boss is VERY good at the hiding identity thing." Gregory said. "Part of his so-called 'Batman Complex'. He's gotta have plans for plans for plans for plans. And plans for THOSE plans."
"That sounds like paranoia."
"The human race was nearly wiped out by the Minbari back in 2249: the man's got a right to be paranoid." Gregory.
"Never said there was anything wrong with it." Jaden said. "Just a year ago, our galaxy was flung into war with the Yuuzhan Vong… bastards killed trillions of people in just a few short years. We're still dealing with the fallout of the war, fixing Vongformed worlds and rebuilding what we lost… the Empire got off easy for the most part, but the same can't be said everywhere else… entire worlds had gotten destroyed, with everyone people slaughtered. It was worse than the Clone Wars and Galactic Civil War combined… and that's a very bad thing..."
"That's a lot worse than the Earth-Minbari war." Greg said. "Captain thinks something bad is coming, though: an entire race went extinct three months ago. The Markab just died out from a plague. Doc on B5 tried to save them. He failed." Greg kicked a panel back into place. "Man's waiting on ya. Go on: we'll finish up here."
"Right." Jaden said before turning back to the Imperial Engineers. "Boys! Listen to the man's orders! Treat his orders as if they came from me! Understood?"
"Sir, yes sir!" The engineers all shouted.
"Good." Jaden said nodding. "See you later, Mr. Norman." With that said, he proceeded to head towards the hangar of the Omega.
The deck was in ruins, but that was changing, albeit slowly. "Captain." The Imperial spun to find a man wearing a lieutenant's uniform, with brown hair and gray eyes. "I'm your fighter escort."
"Holy shit, you look different." Jaden said. "You don't even sound like yourself."
"That's the point." 'Vance Erikson' said with a smirk. "B5 awaits."
"Lead the way." Jaden said with his own smirk as they headed towards the shuttle.
The zero-g shuttle left the Omega, escorted by an Aurora-Class fury. "Omega, open a jump point. Time to go."
"Jump point is yours." A flash of light followed by the formation of a brown tunnel was their way into hyperspace, which the fury entered first. Jaden was reminded of the way they got here, but pressed forward, entering the void.
"Captain, GET OUT OF MY HEAD." Ron shouted. "Hyperspace enhances telepathic powers!"
"Oh! Shit! Sorry!" Jaden said, as he suppressed his force signal, "That caught me by surprise, we never have to deal with that when using our method of Hyperspace. "
"Check your powers first, next time." Ron said. "I will only let ONE person in my head, and the Corps took her away. Autonav will take us straight to B5, so you can relax if you want. Just don't draw any attention to us."
"Won't be a problem." Jaden said with a sigh. A thought then crossed his mind "You said this… PsiCorps took your daughter, right?" He asked, "Any idea where they took her, and any other Telepaths?"
"They've got bases all over Alliance space." Ron said. "But my daughter's a PsiCop: she's assigned to hunt down blips."
"By 'blips' I am assuming you mean Telepaths who don't work for the Alliance?" Jaden asked.
"No. Psi Corps doesn't tolerate telepaths that aren't with them." Ron said. "They force them in or kill them if they have choice. I know best. At least Bester suffered."
"How?" Jaden asked.
"I broke every bone below his hip, ten of his ribs, both his forearms and cracked his skull in eight places."
Jaden let out a low whistle "Damn, remind me never to piss you off… " he said, "Though what about your daughter though? What's her opinion of the Psi Corps in general?"
"I don't know." Ron said with a sigh. "I haven't seen her in 15 years. She only went with them to keep the PsiCops from killing me. It WAS five teeps versus one mundane. One EXTREMELY pissed off mundane that was willing to kill every PsiCop to protect his daughter's future, but one man regardless."
"Well, if we ever run into her… I'm more than happy to help out if she's willing to leave the Corps." Jaden said, "We could put her under Imperial Protection… I doubt your government will be willing to piss off a faction with a 19 Kilometer long dreadnought, and a 38 Kilometer long Battlemoon."
"I noticed." Ron said. "B5's a few hours away, so make sure you seem like you're locals."
"Just act casual - got it." Jaden said nodding.
Hours passed before the control panel in front of them began beeping. "Babylon 5 jumpgate in range: jump point forming." A portal opened, and Jaden snapped to attention. "Feast your eyes on Babylon 5, kid." The two craft exited hyperspace, and Jaden got his first sight of Babylon 5.
"Hu… interesting design." Jaden said nodding as they began their approach. "Somewhat reminds me of centerpoint station… I am guessing the rotating section is where the living quarters are at, generating artificial gravity?"
"That's right: Blue, Green, Red and Gray sectors are in the rotational section, along with a few areas of Brown and Yellow sectors." Ron said. "The rest of the latter two are in the rear section with the fusion reactor."
"Babylon Control to approaching craft: your arrival is not scheduled. Please identify yourselves."
"B5 Control, this is Lieutenant Erikson, EAS Wayne, escorting a crew for R&R." 'Lieutenant Erikson' said. "Request permission to dock."
There was a short pause before a reply came. "Permission granted Lieutenant, you are cleared for docking bay 3."
"Copy that B5 Control, proceeding to docking bay 3." he said.
The fury began to match rotation with the station, and Jaden was forced to follow suit with the shuttle. "One and a half million tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night." Ron said. "We used to have four ambassadors from the major alien governments here, but now we're down to three."
"What happened to number four?" Jaden asked.
"The Narn Regime was bombed back into the stone age by the Centauri, who used mass drivers and asteroids to flatten their homeworld." He said, "They reconquered the Narn, and only after they regained their independence from the crest-headed bastards. Sheridan was more then right to blow up one of their Primus-Class ships a couple weeks back."
"We'll have to keep our eye on the Centauri then." Jaden said nodding. "Though who is this… Sheridan?"
"John Sheridan, B5's commandant." Ron said. "He's also the only man to take out more then one Minbari ship during the war: some of them still call him Starkiller."
"He took out a Minbari war cruiser named the Drala Fi." He said with a small smirk. "Translated, it means Black Star."
"Hope we get to meet him sometime soon." Jaden said nodding. "Now's probably not a good time though - sounds like a hell of a commander."
Babylon 5 terminal - arrivals
"The next flight to Proxima 3 will be leaving at 1800 hours station time. All passengers, please have your belongings ready for transport."
Ron, or Erikson, shook his head. "And this is why I prefer a fury." He said. "No chance of losing your luggage when you pack it yourself."
"The station feels like death." Jaden muttered, feeling the rather somber mood in the station.
"A race DID go extinct here a couple months ago: the Markab." Ron said. "Nasty plague killed them off everywhere."
"Everywhere?" Jaden asked, "Couldn't there be some survivors? The Galaxy is a big place after all."
"Everywhere." Ron said. "The Markab went to all of their colonies, spreading the plague, which is 100% lethal AND contagious. If it wasn't restricted to their species and races with a similar blood type, B5 would be a floating tomb."
"Damn..." Jaden muttered. "Was the plague natural or artificial? Or were your people never able to figure it out?"
"Doc Franklin - B5's CMO - didn't give a fuck how it was made: only that he could cure it." Ron said. "He made the cure, but he was too late, according to reports: all the Markab on-station died shortly before he finished the cure. The League of Non-aligned Worlds gets the worst of this shit: first the Dilgar, then the drafa plague kills off the Markab."
"Its always a shame when a sentient race goes extinct..." Jaden said with a sigh. "But we have more important things to deal with though. You said B5 is where we could find detailed maps of your galaxy, correct? Where would we go to find them?"
"Follow me." Ron led Jaden past a number of aliens and humans before they were cornered, so to speak. "Lieutenant Erikson. We were wondering when you'd be back on B5."
Ron sighed before looking at a man wearing a brown version of Ron's uniform with thinning hair. "Mr. Garibaldi." He said. "A pleasure to see you again."
"Cap Sheridan's gonna want to talk to you, big guy." Garibaldi said. "I think we're going to need your help with somethin'."
"When I'm finished, Chief." Ron said.
"Friend of yours, Vance?" Jaden asked, looking between him and the man.
"Michael Garibaldi, Chief of Security here on B5." The man said, "And you are…?"
"Lieutenant Jaden Takeo, EAS Wayne." Jaden said nodding, going under the cover story Ron had given him. "Vance is just taking me here for some R&R - first time to B5 actually - its actually more fascinating than I was originally lead to believe."
"Yeah, we dealt with some weird crap over the last couple years." Michael said. "You know what, do your thing, then find me in the Zocalo: Code 7R."
"See you then, Chief." Vance said, as the CoS waved it off before walking away.
"He seems nice." Jaden said nodding. "So, where were we?"
"Maps are down here, for travelers." Ron said. "I'll grab what we need and then we can go meet Baldi."
"Baldi?" Jaden had to chuckle at that. "You SERIOUSLY call him Baldi?"
"If it works, it works." Ron said as he put a card into a slot before taking out a number of crystals and inserting them into slots.
"Make sure that the map is as detailed as possible." Jaden said, "Like I said, we need to know where every star, planetoid, black hole, or anything which causes a large gravity well effect. "
"These are as detailed as they get." Ron said. "They were updated last month." He pocketed the data crystals. "Now, let's get a drink: the Zocalo's in Red sector, and I think I need to get drunk."
"Sure - though I'll take anything without alcohol." Jaden said, "Trust me - you do not want me drunk."
"You trust this man, Captain?"
Babylon 5's commandant understood his XO's problems with letting 'Vance Erikson' into the fold. Sheridan knew Ron from just after the war, and knew his Batman complex, as he put it, would come in handy. Not only that, Pinkerton commanded an Omega-Class destroyer which just 'disappeared', and the man hated Clark.
"Yes, I do." Sheridan said nodding. "Hates Clark more than I do… but what about the man he was with though?"
"Said his name was Jaden Takeo, from the Wayne." Michael said. "He's young but… I don't know… there's just something about him that's… different."
"Well, Ron has to trust him if he brought him to B5." John said. "He knows that we're up to something, and he wants to help: said so in his last letter to me before the incident with the G'tok."
"And you'd be right, John." The command staff all looked at one of the ways into their secret briefing room, seeing the men in question. "I want to get that fucker impeached, plus I have something that might help in the long run."
John smirked a bit "Ron." He said nodding, before the two shook hands. "Good to see you again."
"Same." Ron said. "Sorry about the disguise: as the CO of the first Omega, I have to hide myself."
"Nice trick with the disappearing act." John said with a smirk, though Ron didn't return it.
"That was no trick: some asshole attacked my ship." Ron said. "I presume you know something."
Steven Franklin's eyes flitted to Ivanova. "Uh…"
"Your secrets are my secrets."
"That remains to be seen, Captain Pinkerton." Both of the outsiders saw a woman enter the chamber, wearing formal robe. Jaden almost mistook her for a human, but humans didn't have a bony crest running along the temples to the back of the head.
"Ambassador Delenn, I presume." Ron said. "I heard a great deal about your...transformation late last year. I must say, it suits you."
"Thank you, Captain." Delenn said nodding, before she turned towards Jaden. "And you are…?"
"Jaden Takeo, pleasure to meet you Ambassador." Jaden said, bowing in respect.
"The captain here is joining us to help our efforts to expose clark as the murderer he is, and to help us in our conflict with...an unsavory foe."
"Drop the bull, Sheridan." Ron said. "My ship was attacked by the sea urchin from hell, and I want answers."
Delenn sighed as she took a seat. "Do you know Minbari, Captain?" She asked.
"Then what does 'Z'ha'dum' mean to you?"
Ron hmmed for a moment. "Beginning of the end or first of the last." He said. "Why?"
"That world is the home of your attacker." She said. "We call them the Shadows, for we have no other name for them. A thousand years ago, the Minbari, Vorlons and an alliance of races fought the Shadows and their allies, driving them from their world. Now, they are returning. Your ship is but one of many of their victims."
"So, we're dealing with an ancient alien race from thousands of years ago that use technology unlike anything we've seen before?" Jaden asked with a sigh. "Well, at least they ain't invincible - we've already sunk two of e'm."
The eyes of the three widened as they looked at Jaden. "What? How?" Ivanova shouted.
"Commander, may I introduce Captain Jaden Takeo of the Galactic Imperial super star destroyer Intimidator, a 19-klick long dreadnought from hell." He said. "I'm not sure how, but the urchin assholes found a way into his...dimension, universe, whatever, and brought him, an asteroid base and a rather sizable fleet with it. When we made contact, the Shadow attacked us."
"We believe we are from a different galaxy from yours - as our star charts do not match with the stars of your galaxy." Jaden elaborated. "We came here so we could get some star maps so my fleet can get a lay of the land, and hopefully find somewhere we can stay until we can find a way back home."
The Babylon 5 staff and the Minbari ambassador were stunned into silence. "I know how you feel, people, but considering they have gravity technology that no other race has, I have to believe them." Ron said. "And I have contacts in EarthForce's Special Weapons Division: we have nothing like the shit they've got. They've got energy shields, for God's sake."
"Energy shields, Artificial Gravity, Blasters, Terraforming Tech, HoloNets, Tractor Beams, Bacta healing tanks, Droids..." Jaden said, listing off the technology they had. "The list goes on. In a galaxy with thousands of different alien races, human, humanoid and non-humanoid, there are all sorts of different forms of tech we come across."
"I...Well, damn." Sheridan said, before his link beeped. "Sheridan, go."
"Captain, a special investigator from EarthDome is going to be arriving on the station in a few hours. Something about Lt. Keffer's gun camera footage."
"The Commander and I will meet him when he gets on board." He said. "Sheridan out." He pressed the link to shut it off.
"Clarky's moving fast." Ron said. "Guess he doesn't want his new allies to-" All eyes were on Ron. "What, I'm the ONLY one to think that fucker's sided with the Shadows?"
"No, we've suspected that for a while, we just don't have proof." John said. "We're working on it, though."
"Once we find a place to lay low for a bit, the Admiral may be able to help with that." Jaden said, "We're likely going to be stuck here for a while… might as well help out where we can. We just need to find a planet or… someplace where we can keep our fleet supplied. Somewhere we can maintain a steady supply of Tibanna Gas and other materials."
""Wish we could help."
"Might be able to." Ron said. "We also might have a way to bring in reinforcements from their side. Before we left, I had the ship scan the Intimidator and the rest of the fleet. For some reason, we kept detecting quantium-40 in your waste storage tanks."
"Quantium-40? Never heard of it." Jaden said. "We use Hyperdrives to achieve FTL like I told ya, we don't use jump gates like you do… if its in our waste tanks, it may be Quantium-40 is the hypermatter fuel waste that we create after jumps to Hyperspace… we usually just dump the stuff when the tanks get filled."
The look on Ron's face was a cross between incredulous and insulted. In either case, it WAS funny to look at. "We use that shit to make our jumpgate technology!" Ron shouted. "And you just DUMP IT?! That shit's worth 2 million credits per 50 kilos! On a BAD day!"
Jaden blinked at that "Oh, uhh… whoops?" He said shrugging. "Like I said, we don't use Jump Gates… though the Admiral will be interested to hear this."
Ron's face comically met the table. Hard. "Well, the boys back home will LOVE that: cheap quantium-40 means more jumpgates when the Shadows and Clark are dealt with." John said.
"The Admiral will be glad to trade the… Quantium-40 to you guys, but first we of course need to get ourselves set up." Jaden said. "Its very likely we're gonna be stuck in your galaxy for a while, so we need to find a place to stay. Any planet with a breathable atmosphere would be good for us to set up a Prefabricated garrison base, and if need be terraform it to M-class levels. Preferably, we would like a world unknown to your galactic powers, so people like Mr. Clark cannot find us."
"I know of a number of worlds near Minbari space." Delenn said. "I will send you the data when we are free to do so."
"Right now, Jaden and I need to go, before someone in MinPax shows up that knows my little tricks." Ron said.
"MinPax?" Jaden asked.
"Ministry of Peace: bunch of idiots that claim to be working for the betterment of the Alliance." Ron said rolling his eyes. "In reality, Gestapo for the modern era, especially with Nightwatch."
"We'll have to keep an eye out for them then." Jaden said, glancing at Delenn "And thank you, Ambassador Delenn. If we're lucky, one of these worlds will be close to a Tibanna-rich gas giant, or a place with large stores of Hypermatter."
"I hope you are successful, Captain."
"You are NOT the only one."
Babylon 5 was teeming with homeless and unemployed people in Brown sector: in fact, due to its' seeming status as the underbelly of the station, the general area was coined 'Downbelow'. "Why the hell did you take us HERE?" Jaden asked.
"I have a nice little storage area here: set it up the last time I came to B5." Ron said. "Thought it'd come in handy when the shit hit the fan."
Jaden nodded as they walked past the numerous people that filled the Downbelow "I'm surprised a place as important as Babylon 5 seems to be has an area like this..." he muttered, "It almost feels like being in the lower city of Coruscant."
"Most come here hoping for a new life, but fail in their endeavors and don't get enough creds to get back to their homes." Ron said.
A man tapped Jaden's shoulder, carrying a case full of little packets of crystalline dust. "Hey, man, want to feel another life?"
"Piss off." Ron warned. "The kid doesn't do dust. Now, drop the case and walk away before I use my PPG to decorate the walls with your brains." The lurker winced, as Ron was NOT joking, before running off, dropping the case.
"I'm going to make a guess and say Dust is some type of narcotic?" Jaden asked, grabbing the case.
"It's a substance that increases telepathic abilities and induces them in mundanes." Ron said. "It doesn't end well: most users go insane from their first dose and their victims end up comatose."
"I didn't make the shit: I just know what it DOES." Ron said.
Jaden sighed "Remind me to toss this stuff out an airlock at our first chance." He said. "It really is like the lower city here… "
"Just throw it in my rented room." Ron said. "Illegal or not, it can come in handy if refined properly. Problem is, no one bothers: they just want to make a quick buck." Ron knocked on a door before putting in his identicard, opening the door, showing off a large number of PPG pistols and rifles, grenades, supplies of all kinds and a light PPG cannon that wouldn't look out of place on an attack fighter.
"That's a lot of shit."
Jaden picked up a small cylinder before pressing a button on it, turning it into a 8-foot quarterstaff. "Oh? What's this?" Jaden asked, as he gave it an experimental spin.
"It's a Minbari weapon." Ron said. "It's called a denn'bok. It's used by their warrior caste, and by their Anla'shok."
"Translated, it means 'Rangers'." he said, "I've heard that their numbers are going up nowadays: humans are joining their ranks."
"Very interesting..." Jaden said, "Similar to a Lightsaber..."
"A what?" Ron asked. Jaden smirked as he reached for a small pouch on his side, as he pulled out a cyclical device. He pressed a button, and Ron was welcomed by a Snap-Hiss sound before a long black blade of curved energy shot out of it. "Whoa!"
"Lightsabers are the weapons of choice for Force users, namely the Jedi and Sith." Jaden said. "Usually a Jedi or Sith make their own… my father obtained this one from a Sith named Darth Maul, use to belong to Mandalorian Death Watch leader Pre Vizsla. He called it the Darksaber. There are all sorts of variants and colors of lightsabers out there… they can also deflect energy weapons, and can cut through almost anything."
"Don't swing that thing around in here." Ron said. "The walls are PPG-proof, and I don't want to know what beryllium alloy does when a lightsaber blade makes contact: cut through or bend back."
"I don't think that's normal." Jaden said before he deactivated the Darksaber.
"I modified the room for that reason alone." Ron said.
"Not saying anything's wrong with it, but its worth testing… just not here of course." Jaden said.
Ron pulled out a trio of PPG cases designed to NOT look like PPG cases before handing Jaden a comm unit. "This thing's designed to use tachyon based comms." He said. "This way, you can watch ISN and such when you're bored out of your mind and contact us without the Omega being in system."
"Thanks." Jaden said as he pocketed the comm unit. "So, why are we here again? We got what we needed. I just need to get the map data to the fleet."
"I brought you here because you might need to come back, and for the biometric sensors to register you as a user." Ron said. "Me casa se su casa. My shit is your shit. As long as you don't try to kill me with my shit. Plus the EarthDome guy might ask questions if a crew here for R&R leaves only a few hours after arriving."
"Good point." Jaden said with a sigh. "So, what do we do for now though?"
"We pay a visit to one of the former ambassadors." Ron said. "I think Citizen G'Kar would like to meet you."
"Former Narn ambassador to B5." He said. "He's been looking for friends to help free Narn since the bombing."
"If we're going to be helping anyone, I'll need to run it through Admiral Khrom first." Jaden said. "Though what can you tell me about this Ambassador, and his people?"
"The Narn were conquered by the Centauri about a century ago, but they threw the crested bastards off their world." Ron said. "They sold us weapons during the Earth-Minbari War, although they didn't make enough of a difference. They are proud, honorable and they HATE Centauri. G'Kar hates them as much as any Narn: they killed his father by tying him to a tree and letting him hang there. He just wanted to make sure his people were safe. He's immune to arrest on B5 because Sheridan granted him sanctuary."
Jaden thought about it for a moment. While he of course wanted to avoid their fleet getting too involved with galactic affairs of this galaxy, they needed allies if they were going to survive here. Helping the Narn against the Centauri would be a major leap in that goal if they could get on the good side of the Narn. "Well then… I suppose we should pay Ambassador G'Kar a visit then." he said.
Babylon 5 C&C
Susan 'God' Ivanova scowled. A Psi Corps shuttle was inbound to the station, and while every fabre of her being was yelling 'kill it with fire', she was forced to let the damn thing dock. The 'incident' with Talia was enough blackmail to shut up the egomanics, but she was not sure. "Ma'am, the shuttle is asking for contact." One of the operators said. "Should I put them through?"
"Not like we have a choice..." Susan muttered, "Patch e'm though."
The face of a woman wearing the black PsiCop uniform (although, much to Ivanova's surprise, she looked uncomfortable and annoyed wearing it) appeared on the monitor in front of her. "B5 Control, this is Electra Simmons, Psi Corps Security Services."
"You're a Psicop."
"The informal title." Electra said. "Regardless, I'd like permission to dock."
"There's no reason for a PsiCop to be here are the moment, Miss simmons." Susan said.
"I'm on leave, Commander, and I chose to come to B5 for that reason." Electra said."Unlike Mr. Bester, whom I hate as much or more then you do, I have no ulterior motives beyond relaxation."
Susan sighed, but she didn't have a reason to deny her entrance. "Permission to dock granted, Miss Simmons." She said, "Please proceed to docking bay five."
"Thank you, Babylon Control." The woman disappeared from the screen before Ivanova's link beeped.
"Commander, meet me in the briefing room in fifteen minutes. We have a new development."
Psi Corps shuttle D7-6H
"Well, it gave them the excuse for me to dock." The telepath muttered as she rubbed her forehead, downing a number of painkillers for a migrane she had. In the past year, she had been getting more and more headaches thanks to some man named Morden's presence. He was no teep, but being near him HURT. 'Wishing my powers never manifested.' she thought. 'At least the memory of Papa breaking Bester is something to enjoy.' Electra Simmons was not the woman's birth name, but one given to her by Psi Corps after she was brought in as a child. Her actual name was Erica Pinkerton.
She guided the shuttle forward, as she docked with the station safely enough. After collecting her belongings, she disembarked. "I need a drink..." she muttered, as she made her way towards the closest bar to the docking bay.
Meanwhile - Blue Sector Bar
"Rather crowded for a meeting area." Jaden said, as he and Ron sat in the bar, awaiting the meeting with G'Kar.
"This place isn't frequented by the Centauri that often." Ron said. "Should've seen it a year ago: according to Baldi, the place was packed with Gropos. Too bad most of them kicked the bucket 24 hours later."
Jaden sighed as he took a sip from his drink - 'Root Beer' Ron called it. "Well, at least they have something non-alcoholic here..." he said. "So how long will we have to wait?"
"Long enough." Ron said. "It was a bitch to get in contact with G'kar without dropping my actual name. Speaking of which, I need to relieve myself of something. KNEW I should've went back in Brown sector." Ron ran off from the bar, looking like an unkillable monster was on his ass.
Jaden shrugged as he continued to wait at the Bar counter. After a few minutes of waiting, he heard a voice behind him "Is this seat taken?" Jaden glanced behind him as he saw a woman about his age, with blonde hair with red highlights, violet eyes and an athletic build wearing a version of the EA uniform that Jaden was unfamiliar with, but the EA patch was right there.
'Why does she seem so familiar?' He thought before he shrugged "Its open." He said, as she took a seat next to her. "So, you new here to B5 too?"
"I just got here." She said. "With everything happening, I thought it best to get away from Earth for a while. President Clark is being an idiot with his policies, and since B5's sort of neutral, I figured that I'd stay here for a while. while things cool off with my...family back home."
"I understand." Jaden said nodding. "I've had to get away from my family at times… I love e'm, but they can get into a few… arguments… probably won't be seeing them for a while though..."
"I know how you feel." The woman said. "I haven't seen my father in years."
"Your father?" Jaden asked. "What about-"
"My mother died in childbirth. Leave it at that." She said. "I haven't seen my father since I was six, and I doubt I'll see him again."
"Bah, don't say that." Jaden said reassuringly. "The future is never set in stone, and you never know what could happen. I hope one of these days to go home again, even if the odds are slim that I will."
The woman smiled a bit, while she doubted she'd see her father again, the idea that she might see him again was a nice thought. "Maybe..." She said. "Name's Erica, you?"
"Jaden - nice to meet ya Erica." Jaden said.
She smiled, then frowned as Jaden felt psionic energy through the Force reel back into her. 'She lied. She's a telepath.' A sharp sound of power entering a weapon was heard before Jaden saw ron putting a PPG to 'Erica's' back. "The Psi Corps LOVES to taunt me." Ron growled. "First, you take my girl, then you send someone with her name here?"
"Whoa, whoa whoa!" Jaden said raising his hand, "Ron, let's calm down here. She's not here for a fight or you. She's here for some R&R." As he spoke, he didn't realize Erica's eyes widen a bit when Jaden mentioned his name.
"She's Psi Corps, kid: a P-10 or higher." Ron said. "That means she's a PsiCop."
"Not by choice...Papa."
When Erica said that, Ron froze. Erica turned around, and the two looked at one another… Ron then realized she looked so much like his late wife… her eyes, her face, her hair… she had grown up so much, but Ron immediately knew who this was sitting before him.
"Yeah, it's me." Erica said, as she began to smile more. "Psi corps couldn't erase everything from a P-12, but I made them think otherwise. Helps that I'm one of the more powerful teeps humanity's ever produced, besides Ironheart."
Ron said nothing at first… before he proceeded to embrace his daughter, surprising Erica for a moment. However she quickly returned the embrace, both trying - but failing - to hold back their tears. "Papa..." she whispered happily.
"Told ya you'd find him." Jaden said with a happy smirk. "The future is never set in stone."
"We're getting off-station." Ron said, as he looked at Erica. "NOW."
Erica blinked "What? But I just-"
"You're a P-12 AND you're not under their control anymore: What do you think they'll do, send one cop, maybe two?" Ron asked. "No, they'll send the fucking Bloodhounds. We're leaving the station and getting back to the Omega."
"It'll have to take them time before they realize Erica's not under their control anymore." Jaden said. "Its not like they're watching her 24/7 - we still need to meet with..." He paused for a moment before he sighed. "I spoke too soon - one moment please." He reached out with his hand, and suddenly a human wearing normal clothes suddenly went flying towards them, startling several people around them as Jaden proceeded to keep the man hovering in place.
"I suppose they don't teach you PsiCops how to hide your own signatures?" Jaden asked, glaring at the man. "I don't like it when people try to scan my mind without my permission."
"And the Corps doesn't like it when people abduct our family." The man growled, "The Corps is mother, the Corps is-" Ron and Erica both punched the man in the face, shutting him up AND knocking him out.
"I am SICK of hearing that FUCKING phrase." Erica growled.
"Eri, watch your language."
"Well, hopefully we'll have enough time to meet with the Narn Ambassador before more PsiCops show up." Jaden said, before flinging the unconscious PsiCop back to where he was like a rag doll. "By the way, if he's what qualifies for a P-9, I am sorely disappointed… he had as much sensitivity as a Padawan."
"No, he was a P-6." Erica said. "They serve as advanced scouts when super-powered teeps and teeks break ranks."
"Fucking Bloodhounds." The crowd began looking at the trio, before Ron began pushing them out the door. "We need to leave."
Jaden sighed "Guess we can meet the ambassador a different time..." he muttered before he followed Ron and Erica out of the bar.
The destroyer was semi-operational once more, complete with rotational section spinning away. "It's going to take a few months before we've got full weapons capability back." Gregory told Max. "Forward batteries are still fucked, and I'm not sure about the new AG field genny."
"We're working as fast as we can to help." The Imperial Engineer said. "But your tech is new to us, so we need to figure out how it all works still. In the meantime I can say for certain than the AG Field Generator will function properly once we turn her on. "
"Do what you have to." Max said. "We're half a parsec from Minbari space: I don't want to have to explain why a ship 19 klicks long is hanging around an alliance destroyer, especially with a human-dominate crew."
"Not our fault." The engineer said.
"I'm not the one who has to deal with a diplomatic incident if we get found out: Captain Sheridan does, and if he has to deal with it, our captain's NOT going to be pleased." Max said with a sigh.
"Once we get maps of your galaxy, we'll be out of here in no time." The imperial engineer said. "We could send a few units of Viper probe droids and do some independent mapping of the area around us, so we could at least get out of here."
"You said that without maps, you can't use hyperspace." Max said "Yours, at least. Our jump engines still need work before we can drag you into hyperspace with us."
"Well, we don't NEED maps, it's just advisable that we do." The Engineer said. "We could make a blind jump, but without knowing where we'd end up... Well like I said before, we don't want to pop out of hyperspace in front of a black hole or an occupied star system."
"Sir, incoming message from the boss: he's coming back." The Comm officer said, before he blinked. "With a guest."
"Believe it or not...his daughter."
Meanwhile - Shuttle
"Ho-ly crap you weren't kidding..." Erica muttered as their shuttle made its approach to the Omega, as she got her first glimpse of the Intimidator and her fleet for the first time in all of their glory.
"I don't kid around when it comes to my ship." Jaden said with a small smirk. "Back in the Empire's height there were dozens of these things… 'course idiots in charge saw most of them getting destroyed in the most idiotic ways possible. Well that stops now."
"Omega control to shuttle: landing permission granted. Welcome back, gentlemen."
"Fury 01 copies, contro-" One of the Aurora's thrusters exploded, sending the fighter into a death spiral. "Goddamn it! Get the SAR birds ready: I have to bail out!" The cockpit module ejected from the fury before it hit the Omega's heavily armored 'face', but Ron was NOT spared from injury as the escape pod hit the Omega with enough to knock him out.
"Papa!" Erica shouted in worry.
"Why the HELL did that just happen?" Jaden asked one of the Omega's personnel in the shuttle.
"We don't touch that fighter at all." He said. "He takes that fighter out on off-the-books flights all the time, and he doesn't have us do maintenance on it for secret reasons."
"He is BEYOND paranoid." Erica shouted. "What happened to my father to turn him into someone like that?"
Jaden sighed "Well, I'd assume having your daughter taken away from you by a group of government assholes to train her into a PsiCop would have quite the effect on him." He said. "He keeps mentioning how he has a Batman complex… not sure who this 'Batman' is, but if he's anything like Ron, he's just as paranoid as your father is."
"Batman's a comic book character." Erica said with a sigh. "In that 'verse, he scares the shit out of criminals and deals with VERY odd ones. He also keeps contingency plans for contingency plans for contingency plans just in case his allies go crazy. He knows how to take them down by himself, just in case."
"It's what he does."
Later - Onboard the Omega
After the SAR Shuttle retrieved Ron, they had him brought to the Medical bay of the Omega to get him checked out.
"He's gonna be alright, right?" Jaden asked the chief medical officer of the Omega.
"He's got a mild concussion and a bruised spine." The medic said with a sigh." He'll be up and about in a few days if he sticks to his bed and stays on the regen-packs. doubt it, seeing as he refuses to stay in bed. Batman complex bastard."
"If need be, we'll bring him on one of our ships and stick him in a Bacta Tank." Jaden said. "Bacta is the best healing substance in the galaxy and easy to make - can heal almost anything from a few days to a few hours depending on the severity of the wound."
"Yeah, he won't do that, but I'd like to have one of those things transferred here." The medic said. "God knows we're going to need one, if the boss has any say in it."
"We'll send ya one once we get your ship squared away." Jaden said. "Now that we have the maps from B5 we can accurately plot hyperspace jumps here. I sent word to the Admiral, and he's going to be sending probe droids to several star systems that look promising. We could have the Omega dock in the ventral hangar of the Intimidator when we head out if its Jump system isn't repaired by then."
"The jump drive works, Captain." Max said, as he walked into the med bay. "The reactor, on the other hand, can barely support the ship right now. We're going to need a lot of work to get this ship ready for the coming shit storm." The fusion reactors WERE damaged by the Shadow attack, along with everything else. It was going to be a major undertaking to repair the ship without an EarthForce repair drydock.
"Like I said, we'll help where we can." Jaden said. "We'll have the Omega put in tow once we make the jump to hyperspace. For now though, we just wait for Ron to recover, and do what repairs we can."
Several Days Later
Unidentified Star System
The Intimidator dropped out of hyperspace, as it was soon followed by the other vessels of the fleet before the Eye of Palpatine II - which had since been renamed the 'Eye of Thrawn' due to popular vote - appeared shortly behind them. THe fleet appearing before a single star system which appeared to have several planets orbiting a single star.
"Long-range Scans show the star is in its prime." The sensor operator said. "We are not detecting any ion trails or any other starship activity - I believe we're the first ones to ever set foot here sir."
"The system appears to consist of six planets." Another operator said. "The first is too close to the sun to support life, however two more are within the star's circumstellar habitable zone - both terrestrial worlds. There is a large asteroid field between the third planet and the remaining three worlds - all appear to be gas giants."
"Send out a unit of probe droids to each planet." Admiral Khrom ordered. "Ascertain each planet's condition, and ensure we're the only ones who have ever been here. I want the Star Destroyers Hunter, Stalwart, Protector and Vanguard to begin patroling the system as well.."
The orders were sent out immediately, as the four Victory II-class Star Destroyers maneuvered out of the fleet as they headed towards the system, as multiple Viper-series Probe Droids were launched from the Intimidator. "So far it looks good." Jaden said as he walked onto the bridge. "According to the maps and data we got, this system has only been scouted a handful of times by the Minbari… they've recorded large stores of Pre- Quantium-40 elements on the second planet from the sun… or as we call it, Hypermatter. Once we get settled in, we should start building some automated mining facilities there."
The Admiral nodded "Agreed," he said. "If we're lucky, those Gas Giants will have at least some Tibanna gas pockets… we need to keep our weapons ready after all… how is Captain Pinkerton and the Omega's crew?"
"Repairs to the ship are going well - our Droids are helping speed up the repair process." Jaden said. "Ron's wounds are healed up now thanks to Bacta, but he's still unconscious for now. Should be waking up sometime soon… but for now, we need to focus on what we need to do. Have you seen the reports I sent?"
"I have." Khrom said nodding. "The area of space we're in is near the borders of four of this galaxy's main powers… the Earth Alliance, the Minbari Federation, the Centauri Republic, and what use to be the Narn Regime. The area's filled with raiders attacking undefended settlements, and stragglers from the Narn military either running or trying to fight the Centauri… and then there are these 'Shadows' you mentioned..."
"We're going to be busy..." Jaden said. "We need more than just a star system, with what resources we have now, it will take us some time to really get set up here… I believe our best bet will be to offer protection for colonies that need it most, and accept refugees from destroyed colonies if they wish to stay… I believe helping the Narn out will go a long way towards getting a strong ally here. And since our reactors make the stuff they use to make Jumpgates… "
"I doubt the Centauri would much like that..." Khrom warned.
"Our technology is far beyond what most of these people have in this galaxy." Jaden said, "This gives us an advantage. And with our base unknown to the rest of the galaxy here, it will be our… Sanctuary. Any ships under the threat of being captured will erase all mention of this place, as well as any damaging technical data. And if need be, to preserve our technological advantage all Captains are permitted to use their self-destruct features to avoid their ships from falling into enemy hands."
The Admiral nodded at that "Agreed..." he said, "Sanctuary… I like the sound of that… "
"Then that's what we're calling it." Jaden said nodding. "The Sanctuary System… has a nice ring to it..."
Later - EAS Omega Medbay
Ron groaned "My back feels like I went toe-to-toe with Bane." He mutterd.
Ron's mention of the 250 year old comic book that 'broke the bat' made the doc chuckle. "If you call ejecting from an ill-mantained fury as such." He said. "Boss, you're going to need to sign out when you take a bird on flight."
Ron gave him a glare. "No need for secrets anymore, so there's no point." He said before he sighed. "How's the ship?"
The doctor sighed as he put away a clipboard. "Morale's high, considering." He said. "The mechanical state of the ship, on the other hand, is outside my department. Your daughter is wanting to speak with you, by the way: you never told me she was a teep. You always told me she was dead."
The glare Ron was giving the doc made him walk away without a word. NO ONE mentioned her around him unless they wanted to spend a few months in medlab.
"You haven't changed, Papa." Ron's gaze turned to his daughter, who stepped to his right, outside his line of sight as he glared the doc to death.
"You know me: I never go halfway." Ron said, before he smiled "At least you ditched the Corps uniform." The black leather outfit with the Psi shield was now gone, replaced by a standard Alliance uniform without rank insignia. She still wore the gloves, however: telepaths were at their strongest when in skin-to-skin contact.
"It chafed under my arms and I got a rash on my back every time I put it on." She said as she sat down beside the bed. "You hate the Corps."
That was not a question. "They take children away from their parents, or force adults to take the sleepers, which drive them slowly towards suicide." Ron said.
Erica sighed but nodded. "At least I got away." She said, before she grinned slightly. "And you did more then bloody bester's nose. And his ribs, and just about anywhere you could reach."
"If murder were legal, most of the Corps' high ranking assholes would be six feet under, buried under concrete and lead." Ron said with a growl. "I didn't do this because Clark was being an asshole. I did this to free every telepath from Psi corps. After this is over, I WILL be launching one hell of a campaign against those fuckers, the law be damned."
"Hope you don't mind me joining in that." Jaden said, as he walked into the medbay. "Good to see you back on your feet, Ron. How ya feeling?"
"Liable to murder." Ron said. "I've been pissed off about Psi Corps since before Eri was born. Them taking my girl? that made them NOT look at my ship for Psi corps reviews. But if these assholes are working with the Shadows, Psi Corps must do one thing."
"Die." Ron said, "In a fire."
"I see..." Jaden said nodding, "From what you've told me 'bout them so far, I agree with ya… "
Ron sighed "Well, how are things going for your people?" He asked, "Those maps work out for ya?"
"Yes, we've arrived at a star system not affiliated with any of the major powers." He said, "Its got a substantial amount of Hypermatter reserves at one of the planets. Third planet from the sun is M-class, and we've begun setting up a Prefabricated garrison base… but that's not why I'm here. I'm here… for you." He pointed at Erica, causing her to blink.
"Me?" She asked.
"Yup - your Force Sensitive, Erica." Jaden said, "In fact, I believe anyone with your 'Psi' abilities are really just force sensitives. You've been experiencing headaches? Hearing, seeing and sensing things you normally shouldn't be? Strange dreams?"
"To a degree." Erica said. "I usually put it out of my mind. I'm actually one of the only teeps that can block out though noise."
"Thought noize?" Jaden asked.
"We can't just turn our powers on or off like a switch: they're always on." She said. "I'm just one of the few that can redirect my probes inward."
"It's a trick I actually taught her when she was 3." Ron said. "LONG story that I will NOT be repeating."
Jaden got the feeling that if he asked, Ron would not be nice about letting it go. "Well… it seems your Psi Corp has zero idea of how to deal with force sensitives then." He said, "Every Jedi I know could at least control their powers after a few months of training… if you wish, I can provide that training, Erica."
"You want to train me to use… the force?" Erica asked, as Jaden nodded.
"Yes." He said, "Unlike the Jedi, I look at the force more… practically, realistically rather than some mystical entity. If you wish, I can teach you not only how to fully control your powers… but to show you what you can really do with those powers. Its entirely your choice whether or not you want to do this."
Erica was silent for about a minute before she finally spoke. "I...will have to think about it." She said, "Right now, I just want to spend time with my father. I haven't spent any time with him since I was a child, and the first thing he does when I meet him is put a gun to my back."
"I thought you were just another PsiCop." Ron said raising his hands in defense. "Don't blame me for being paranoid when it comes to unfriendly telepaths."
"The last thing you wanted was for the Corps to learn about the Imperials." Erica said. "I get that, but seriously, no guns next time."
"I understand Erica." Jaden said nodding, "Just let me know when you got an answer… anyways, now that we're getting ourselves set up here, I'm putting a few more engineers onto helping repair the Omega, they should help speed things up a bit. "
"Good." Ron said. "I want this ship ready to defend Babylon 5 at a moment's notice. Clark WILL attack B5 the moment Sheridan gets tired of playing ball, and I want to double B5's defensive firepower. Speaking of which, most of our fighters are screwed. We're going to need replacements, and SA-26s are kinda rare out here, if you get my meaning."
Jaden smirked "Actually, the Admiral wants to share a little… gift to your crew." He said. "While we still use them, TIE/LN Starfighters are pretty much outdated by our TIE Interceptors, TIE Defenders and such… we have a large surplus of these old TIE's, and we're more than willing to hand some of them over to you. I fact, I've got a little something just for you that you might like… "
He pulled out a small holographic projector, revealing two Starfighters. "Among our ships, we have a few of these… the larger one is the TIE Advanced x1, the predecessor to the TIE Interceptor, Avenger and such. Its got its own Hyperdrive so it can enter hyperspace without the need of a capital ship, dual laser cannons, cluster missile launchers, reinforced durasteel alloy, and powered by its twin ion engines. Its decades old but it still represents the peak of Imperial fighter technology."
"The second ship is the TIE Advance v1." Jaden said, gesturing to the smaller one with more curved wings. "It was developed some five or so years before the Battle of Yavin 4 on Lothal. While its smaller and lacks a Hyperdrive, it makes up for being as fast and agile as an Interceptor, and it was often used as personal fighters for aces and inquisitors back in the day."
"The V1 seems too fragile for the shit I'd pull in it." Ron said. "The X1 is much beefier, from the look of it. And from the look of things, I'd say it mounts those fancy deflector shields that the Intimidator and the rest of your ships of the line have. I'd trade off a bit of maneuverability for durability and shielding. I'll take the X1, and I'll give her a flight as soon as I'm out of this bed. You CAN, however, give that V1 to my daughter." Erica stiffened before her father continued. "I saw the flight uni. You were Black Omega."
"You got it." Jaden said nodding, "We'll have the TIE's sent over to your ship once I inform the Admiral. We'll give you and your pilots a crash course on operating the TIE's as well - from what I've seen, they are a LOT different than your StarFury's."
"Do what you have to." Ron said. "I'll be busy in bed for the next few days catching up with my daughter AND my paperwork."
"Paperwork?" Erica asked with raised eyebrow. "Really?"
"Just because I'm joining a rebellion doesn't mean I'm not EarthForce." Ron said. "Shit needs doing. And that means I'm going to have to get this shit done before I get to fly my new fighter."
"She'll be ready when you're ready." Jaden said, "Well, I'll see you later - me and the Admiral have a lot of work to do you can guess. We've already got plans to take out a few Raider bands near this sector that have been causing trouble for Narn, Centauri and Alliance traders and colonies… speaking of the Narn, we still need to meet with that Ambassador you mentioned… "
"G'kar." Ron said. "I sent a message detailing that we had to leave the station, but I told him to expect you the next time you were there. The next time might not be for a while, though."
"Define a 'while'." He asked.
"Couple of months." Ron said with a shrug. "Depends on when Psi Corps makes its' next presence on B5 known." Ron's link beeped. "Worst moments." He pressed the button. "Pinkerton. What?"
"Sir, you're not going to believe this. A Vorlon ship just came out of hyperspace."
At that same moment, Jaden's own commlink beeped to life "Jaden, I need you back over here ASAP!" Khrom said, "An ship just arrived at the system. It matches the files the Omega sent for a vessel belonging to the… Vorlons, I believe they're called."
"Why the hell are they here?!" Jaden shouted. "We just got here!" He looked at Ron. "Any idea why or how these Vorlons are here? I thought they stay out of galactic affairs in your galaxy for the most part?"
"They make me look like a P-1 when it comes to telepathy." Erica said shrugging.
"They have agents all over the place, and they probably sensed your accidental psychic discharge in hyperspace." Ron said. "They're as cryptic as a chinese puzzlebox, so don't expect any straight answers when you call them."
Jaden groaned "Great… your universe has Jedi… " he muttered. "Well, guess we need to get ready for first contact here..."
Meanwhile - Aboard the Intimidator
"What's the status of the Vorlon ship?" Khrom asked as he stood on the bridge of the SSD, as an image of the Vorlon vessel in question - a Vorlon Cruiser according to the files the Omega had on Vorlons.
"The vessel is made from organic materials, similar to Yuuzhan Vong vessels but not exactly." The sensor operator said. "From what I know on Vong signitures, its weapons aren't armed… wait, message coming in."
"On screen." Khrom said, before A simple text message appeared on one of the screen: 'You do not belong. Who are you?'
"Straight to the point I see..." Khrom muttered. "Open hailing frequencies - all channels." The Comm officer nodded as the Comm was opened. "This is Admiral Viktor Khrom of the Galactic Empire Super Star Destroyer Intimidator." He said, "To whom am I speaking to?"
Another message, text only. 'Kosh.' At that moment, Jaden finally arrived at the bridge. "The Vorlon ambassador from Babylon 5?" He asked.
"Kosh might be a title for diplomatic Vorlons." Khrom said. "Is there anything we can do for you?"
The text this time was more cryptic. 'A pebble cannot change a river's course. Turn back.'
"Oh, these guys think we're a pebble?" Jaden said, almost sounding insulted. "Oh that's fucking hilarious."
"'Turning back' isn't necessarily an option for us… Kosh." Khrom said. "We were sent to your galaxy by accident, and we have no methods of returning at this time. We're stuck here weather you like it or not."
'You have been warned. The wheel turns without you.' It was clear the Vorlons did NOT want them around. Did they consider the Imperials to be a threat or something? "Admiral, the Vorlon ship is turning." The sensor operator said. "Looks like she's opening a jump point."
"They just came here to screw with us?" Khrom muttered. "That doesn't make any sense."
"According to Ron, NOTHING the Vorlons do makes sense." Jaden said, as the Vorlon ship entered hyperspace, leaving them behind. "So, the Vorlons don't want us around. Now what?"
"We'll do exactly what we were doing before they showed up." Khrom said. "So long as the Vorlon's don't make a move on us, we won't make a move on them. But I'm making sure all ships are to be very cautious should we encounter them again… I don't trust these guys."
"That makes two of us." Jaden said.
117Jorn: And that puts us at… wow, 18,138 Words… when we write, we write I suppose.
Ron the True Fan: Wasn't I the first one to say that during a chapter of STF?
117Jorn: Yeah… that should probably become our new Motto, we somehow keep chugging out chapters and fics of massive lengths without really trying.
Ron the True Fan: It's what we do. And now we get to see what happens when our last, best hope for peace meets the might of the Empire.
117Jorn: And the B5 Universe will never be the same again… Hail to the Empire! :D Until next time…
Both: JA Ne!