Good evening, my dears. Settle down now. I've not forgotten my promise to tell you a bed time story about the great days long ago.
What was that my grandkit? You wish to hear a story about Babylon 5 in the dark days of the war?
Hmmm...There are many tales which survived.
Soft Whisker, stop teasing your brother. Sit down now like a well-mannered kitling and start your nightly wash. There's a good kit.
I will tell you a story my grandkit of three generations told me. She was the official historian during the end days of Babylon 5.
Her name is Long Tail.
Yes, kitlings, the same as now lives on Minbar as Companion to a daughter of the house of Mir.
Now hush, my dears. Wash yourselves. This is the story she told me... ################################################################
I am Long Tail. I am considered too young for this duty, not yet having my first batch of kitlings, but matters here are urgent - and so I was assigned to observe and record on Babylon 5.
They are still fighting the Shadows. A bitter war of many years. The Dark Ones have been generous with their bio-technology and many of their allies use it. Against others...and their own.
Power. The humans call it.
These same humans who took a stand against their own government and fought the ships that came to retake them.
Now Babylon 5 is independent. Captain Sheridan runs it. He is a just man. A career military officer and a veteran of the Earth-Minbari War. He is in his mid-forties. Tall. Brown haired with striking blue eyes and a strong face.
Strange now to see him walking through he halls with Ambassador Delenn of Minbar beside him. Before I came here, she used an ancient machine to transform herself into a strange human-Minbari mix. She has long brown hair now. (She used to be bald.) With a small and fine bone crest running along the crown of her head. Her eyes are hazel. She wears beautiful and colorful long gowns.
When I watch them together, I see the strong love there. I can tell by the looks they exchange. It is a good thing. And I hope it blossoms.
Susan Ivonova runs C & C with her usual strength and off balance humour. She is quite young. Raven hair, she always wears up. Deep brown eyes. I hear she is a Russian Jew.
Marcus Cole, one of the Rangers, watches her with black wistful eyes. He is in love with her. He adores from afar. I notice him often sitting somewhere, in his night colored uniform, following her every move.
I begin to wonder if he will ever speak.
Then there is the telepath, Lyta Alexander. She worked for Ambassador Kosh. He's dead now. That happened before I came. (I have yet to see her.) I hear from rumour the Shadows killed the very old Vorlon. There is some speculation whether or not the Vorlon Empire will send a replacement. I'm sure they will. They honor ancient agreements.
And Dr. Franklin, well, he has a mystery on his hands. A body was found down below. The entire chest looked as if it had been blown open from the inside. The look of horror on the beings face...it is something I can not describe.
Of course, this now means Michael Garibaldi, the head of Security, has a mystery too. (I like him. He has a comfortable lap, a round, fun loving face with dark eyes and a receding hairline.) Many beings in down below have vanished. Without a trace. And many more have been found with the same type of chest wound.
It is strange.
I went hunting today. Down below and the freight bays often provide me with fun sport and a good meal. I never know what type of rodent to expect. They have all been so different.
I found something very odd though. A leathery type creature scuttling along the floor. It paused sensing me and started toward me, but I am quick and fleet of foot and escaped into a convenient air vent. It followed.
I escaped, knowing these small cramped spaces well. I have hunted them since I arrived. They also provide me with an easy way to travel much of the five-mile station without fear of being stepped on. Not many notice my small creme colored body.
Curious, I turned back. What had become of my hunter? I hunkered down, my white belly brushing the cold metal. I crept back along my path.
I heard a faint scratching. And then a scream. Every hair on my body stood on end. I hissed. This thing is evil and hurts beings.
I jumped through an opening in the wall and found my hunter. It had clamped its tentacled self around the bloated face of a Pakmara. I don't like the carrion eaters, even if they are an intelligent species, but even in my feline heart I found pity for this one.
I hissed again. The hunter ignored me. It had found prey.
Claws out I swiped at it. Something came at me from behind and I dodged it by jumping straight up. I twisted and faced this new enemy.
It was tall. It screeched, opening its slavering mouth and extending a second mouth toward me. Its long tail swiped at me again.
Fortunate, I am small and fast. ################################################################
Down below is in a panic.
A swampy place has been discovered on one of the decks. One section is covered with green gooey eggs. Another part is like a spider's web. Security found bodies off all types of species cemented in it. No survivors though.
Some of security didn't make it out. Things came out of the walls and carried them away.
Mr. Garibaldi is scared. So is Captain Sheridan.
Everyone is clamouring for the Captain to do something.
They have tried to seal off down below, but the things keep getting through and abducting beings.
Sheridan finally quarantined the station.
It has been three days since the station entered quarantine. I am in the main reception area. There is no hustle and bustle at the entry points. Security is conspicuously absent. All the ships are obeying Sheridan's edict.
I hear a sound of an opening door. I slink under a dark blue chair. I don't want to be seen.
I wonder who...
My long tail sweeps in agitation. The one coming is old and has great power. I have sensed one of them before. I was but a kitling then. But it is a feeling I have never forgotten.
He is tall. About him is a black cloak. He has the hood up, so I can not see his face. There is an air of kindness hanging, like accustomed clothing.
Cautiously, I creep from my hiding place and sit in front of him. He stopped.
With an aged spotted hand he pulled the hood back. I saw his face then. Lined, ancient, with eyes of dancing blue.
"You shouldn't be here." Marcus's voice. I heard the swish of his denn' bok.
It is a Minbari fighting pike. Given to very few of the human Rangers. He has it extended. A long grey bar of metal glinting in the light.
"You don't need your weapon." The stranger said. There is strength there. This one is used to command and being obeyed.
Marcus's jet eyes darted around the empty room. I felt his fear. He's watching for those 'things'. There aren't any here. If there were, I wouldn't be here.
"I would speak to your Captain." The cloaked man moved forward gracefully.
The Ranger nodded. "This way."
We're now at C&C. Machines are busy clicking. There is no noise from the officers who man the various computers and stations. Ivonava is standing before the great window that stares out into the endless dark of space. Beside her is Sheridan, and beside him Delenn. I came ahead of the stranger and Marcus though the airvent.
There are others here too. This is one of the very few secure places on the station.
Marcus and the stranger walked across the tiled floor to stand with the others.
"How did you get through the quarantine?" Sheridan demanded.
I took a good listening spot atop the console in front of the great window. Ivonava saw me and frowned. I blinked yellow eyes at her and washed a spot on my fur. I picked up some lint.
I felt a gentle hand on my head. It is the stranger.
"I've come to help you." He stated simply.
"How can you help us?" Ivonava asked. Always the skeptic she is.
"I was part of the great war a thousand years ago." He stated softly. There is a heavy sadness in his tone. I wonder why?
I perked up my ears. I have heard the old tales of this war from many of our elders. There are things we have recorded that is not known anywhere else except the Matrix on Gallifrey.
His eyes swept across the group. He scratched under my chin. I let my eyelids droop.
"I am a Jedi Master."
Page 6 Delenn started. Marcus is suddenly all attention. I wondered why he didn't recognize that earlier. The Rangers are all taught about the Jedi. Sheridan and the others looked puzzled.
"I have much to tell you about the Shadow weapon now loose on your station." He stopped petting me. He pulled back his covered head revealing a deeply lined face and silver hair. "My name is Luke Skywalker." ################################################################
The Captain resettled everyone in his quarters on comfortable couches and chairs. He even brewed up coffee. (I heard Ivonova smuggled some plants in from Earth and stashed them in hydroponics.) I placed myself on the Jedi's lap. He doesn't seem to mind. His hand strokes my silky fur and I purred for him.
"You were in The Great War a thousand years ago?" Marcus asked.
Luke nodded. "To our shame."
Marcus frowned, his thick brows knotted together. From what Long Claw, my kit mate, has told me of Ranger training, I know the Jedi are always presented in a positive light.
"How is that possible?" Delenn inquired. Her face is puzzled. I know a Jedi has been a guest at her home off and on since her birth. But I don't know who.
Luke sighed. At this movement I sensed the great age in him. He is tired. It has taken much out of him to make this journey.
"The Shadows," he begun, and then his voice faded. There is conflict in him. A warring of the light and dark, I'm certain, like in his younger days.
"The Shadows," he began again, "attacked the Jedi School on Yavin." I saw the pain in his blue eyes. "They killed most of my students. Those who survived," I knew this part. My mother was the Chronicler at Yavin. "took our remaining Republic fighters and went to X'Ha'Dum."
He closed his eyes. "I wanted revenge."
His confession hung in the air.
A Jedi only wants justice. I knew this was a great shame to Luke Skywalker's reputation.
"We joined Valen at the height of the battle against the Shadows." His deep blue eyes were haunted. "There was no way for Valen to win. Babylon 4 was damaged. The Vorlon vessels were holding their own. Barely." He placed me on the carpeted floor and rose to pace behind the chair he'd been sitting in.
I was a bit miffed. I don't like to be deposited anywhere until I'm ready to get down. I flicked my tail and promptly took over his vacated chair. I decided I needed a quick wash to rid myself of human scent.
"We dropped out of hyperspace and started firing on Shadow vessels." Luke continued. "I took The Republic, our flag ship, to the faltering station and rescued survivors."
"This is not recorded in Minbari history." Delenn observed.
"No." Luke's voice was soft. "We...I...asked him not to."
"But the Rangers are taught about the Jedi," Marcus began.
"Just what the hell are the Jedi?" Sheridan demanded. He shifted forward on the couch, a scowl on his boyish face. At least he's sleeping now.
"That's what I'd like to know, too." Garibaldi added from his position across from Luke.
"We are legend." Luke said. Mostly true. To those who think they are.
"The Jedi," Delenn put in. "are the guardians of truth and justice. They have long protected the people of the galaxy."
"Why not recently?" Ivonava inquired.
"Most are dead." Luke supplied. "We never recovered from their attack a thousand years ago." He gave Delenn a sad smile. "What most have are half truths and myths."
"Valen set the self destruct on Babylon 4 and set it spiraling down on their capital city."
Page 8 He stopped his pacing and faced the group. "Unfortunately, the Shadows did not give up so easily." He placed his veined hands on top of the chair and leaned his weight against it. "They made a weapon. A deadly one."
He took a deep breath. "They turned these things loose on many worlds. They killed thousands." His tone was very sad. The Jedi Master came around the navy chair and picked me up and replaced me on his lap. Well! I wished he'd make up his mind!
"In the end, they discovered they couldn't control their own weapon." He ran his gnarled hand along my back. "The Shadows fell victim as well."
"How were they finally defeated?" Sheridan queried quietly.
"The Force." Luke met Sheridan's gaze. "I killed many of these things."
"Wait a minute," Ivonava moved her hand to accent her words. "What is this force, how can you have killed..."
"The Force," Luke interrupted, "is an energy field all beings have. It surrounds, binds and penetrates. Use it, and it can heal, kill, inform..."
"You make it sound like God." Ivonava's tone was curious.
Luke looks puzzled. He doesn't know about her God.
"That's beside the point." Sheridan placed his now empty cup on the end table. "IF you killed these things why are..."
"Some left?" Luke finished for him. "A few of the Shadows risked their lives to put some aboard a ship. My guess would be they sent them to a place where they could retrieve them if they so wished."
"And brought them here to Babyon 5." Garabaldi doesn't look happy. "You expect me to believe some mystical energy field is the solution to all our problems." The security chief shook his head. "You're crazy."
"You, Mr. Garibaldi, are much like Valen told me."
Luke nods. "He told me much of everyone here."
Page 9 Valen. AKA Jeffrey David Sinclair. The first commander of this station, and then ambassador to Minbar. He went on to become Ranger One. Then, at a hanging moment of history, he and several here rescued and then stole Babylon 4. He and a strange alien took it into the past. Sinclair transformed himself into a Minbari, thus fulfilling prophecy about a great, mystical leader. A Minbari not born of Minbari. He became Valen.
I always liked the Interrelation of Time. The Timelords talk about it when I visit, Four Footed One, on Gallifrey. I'm her Grandkit.
The theory, simply put, means, not only does the past and the present affect the future, but the future can also affect the past and the present.
Luke raised a hand to stall further questions. I know, he knows, what ultimately happened to Valen, but no one here needs to know that. Yet.
"Tell me where these things nest. I will rid the station of them."
"Now wait a minute," Garibaldi stalled, "I lost a lot of good people to these things,"
Luke nodded. " I know. I heard their death cries."
I felt Luke gathering the Force to him and subtly using it on the security chief. My fur felt like static electricity. Garibaldi will do what Luke wants. One way or another. ################################################################
"I still think you're crazy to go after them alone." Garibaldi's dark eyes showed great concern for the Jedi.
Luke rewarded the security chief's concern with a warm smile. "Don't let my age fool you. With the Force, there is nothing I can't do."
I saw the look of disbelief on Garibaldi's round face. He is one who trusts only himself. Well, that's not completely true. There are maybe two or three other people he trusts. Sinclair was one of them.
Luke moved past the chief and slipped through the now reopened sealed door. I slithered through behind him. I know he told security to reseal the door behind him.
Page 10 "You shouldn't be here Long Tail." His concerned eyes looked down at me.
Like I don't know I shouldn't. But who else is there to witness and record these events?
He laughed and whisked me up on his shoulder. Good. It'll make traveling faster and easier. I settled in, gently kneading and purring in his ear.
Luke was quiet the entire journey. He traversed the dimly lit and dingy corridors like they were dangerous forests full of Imperial Soldiers, like at Yavin 4. I've the heard the stories at many clan gatherings.
His pace slowed as he neared the nest. Clear resin lines the grey walls. Its hot. Damp. I started to pant. My tongue didn't do much to cool me. My long fur doesn't afford me the luxury.
With great care, the Jedi stepped into the place of death and horror. Human, Minbari, Narn, and faces of so many dead beings stared at us.
I flattened my ears and hissed. There are things in the walls.
Luke ignored them. He cleared the main nest and entered an area covered with slimy eggs.
As his gaze swept up so does mine. Above us, towering, is the queen. Her sharp muzzled face glaring down at us.
The things in the walls were unfurling themselves.
Luke concentrated on the queen.
Suddenly her head popped up and she howled. Her massive body quivered. The things rushed us.
In swift fluid motion the Jedi drew his light sabre and I jumped me to the floor. I hustled through the egg field to a vantagepoint of a partially open air duct.
The things surrounded him. His light sabre danced as it sliced through each monster. The decks began to smoke. These things must have acid blood. The haze continued to build as more of the creatures died.
The queen, now behind Luke, tugged at her gigantic egg sack. I thought perhaps she was trying to free herself. I know he can't allow that. Page 11 By Bast, there are so many of those things!
There was a ripping sound. The queen finally managed to free herself. I saw a dark blur leap high above the attackers and landed on two booted feet before her. Luke lunged forward.
The queen screamed. Her chest had a gapping wound as her blood singed the floor. She reached with spindly arms to grab the Jedi.
Luke was not there.
The Queen tossed her head and her tail beat at the floor.
The remaining things scattered trying to get out the maddened Queen's way. She squashed a few of them.
I wondered where Luke was?
The queen whirled. She grabbed the grate I took refuge behind and ripped it from the wall. I retreated very quickly. Her clawed arm can't reach me this far back. I hoped.
'Long Tail.' I heard in my mind. 'Run.' He threw an image of rending metal. Luke intended to rupture the wall and open the area to space.
I ran. ################################################################
When I finally got back to C & C, people were all talking at once, lights were blinking red. I sensed the panic. The station had warbled off its axis and Ivonava was trying to right it. The room rocked.
Sheridan raced in. "What the hell happened?"
"We had an explosion down below." She informed her CO. "Lock those stabilizers down!" She shouted.
Suddenly the station was fine. And right where it was suppose to be.
Both Sheridan and Ivonava looked stunned. I think they knew their technology couldn't have done its job so quickly.
A figure appeared, hovering above them.
It was Luke, as he looked in his younger days, a thousand years ago. His handsome face held a smile. Around his ebony clad body was an eerie glow. He'd gone to the Force.
"My God." Ivonava muttered in disbelief.
His glowing figure vanished. I think, just before he died, he used the Force to right the station. I know the very old Jedi Masters could do things like that.
Its now been three weeks since Luke Skywalker died. Repair crews have fixed the hole in the station's side and Security mopped up and burned what was left of the nest. Garabaldi, and many others, still can't believe just one man rid the station of those things.
But I think, with Luke. It was just some old unfinished business. My mother told me his sister, Leia, died hatching a queen. The last queen. The one he killed here...
And that, my grandkits, was the story Long Tail told me.
No. No more stories. To bed now. Tomorrow we travel to the great clan gathering and all of you should be well rested.
Come here, Soft Whisker, your ear is still dirty.
There's a good kitling.
Fourth story in the Felcat series. Felcat universe is an original and copyrighted creation belonging solely the author. Written permission must be obtained.