Cleared For Departure

Characters: Margaret Morgan, Yoshino Marina

The fragment of a Psi-Corps shuttle that rested on the Phoenix’s cargo deck had barely stopped smoking when the Ranger vessel was declared ready to move. Crew were taking up positions in the small, somewhat unfamiliar space of the secondary bridge. Yoshino looked up from her Ops station to where Morgan sat in the command chair.

“Shok-na’li,” she said, “I have a message coming in from the planet. It is Gahara of the Uvew House of Guardians.”

“Gahara?” Then Morgan gestured for Yoshino to put it through.

“Anla’shok Morgan, thank you for answering,” the Huka said. There was no visual, but the alien’s voice came through clearly. “Are you well? How has your ship fared? We had heard so little, we feared greatly for you.”

“I am well enough. The ship… It could have been worse,” she said diplomatically. “How can I assist?”

“We wanted to know if you have any information about who attacked us, why they did, and …” here she hesitated, for a fraction of a second, “if you think they will attack again.”

Morgan glanced at Yoshino, not wanting to answer this. “No, we do not know who, exactly – we are going to pursue. They seemed to be targeting… Vorlon technology.”

“Vorlon technology?” echoed the Huka. “But we have nothing so advanced as that. Unless the Speakers did, and were hiding it from the rest of us. And the Speakers did not do such things….” Her voice trailed off for a moment. Then she said, “You will be pursuing them?”

She rubbed her temples – already, she didn’t like this command thing. “Your Speakers were not hiding it. They… were the Vorlon tech, more than likely. And yes, very shortly.”

There was a long pause as Gahara considered. Finally she said, “If that is so, then … it is not likely these aliens will come back.”

“I am sorry, my friend. And I am sorry if we were the ones that attracted these aliens’ attention.”

“There is no use in blaming yourself, Anla’shok. Who among those of us who live and die can really know the truth of such things? If you had not been here, these aliens might have come anyway — and then things would have been far worse for us. As it is, there is yet some hope for the Speakers.”

“That is good. Is there anything else we, before we break orbit?”

After another moment of quiet, Gahara said, “I do not think so. Will you return, or at least send word back to us?”

“I will be sure to send word, at least, my friend. Stay safe, if you can.”

“And I would say the same to you and all the Anla’shok. Farewell.”

Da boch chi, Gahara.”

There was a faintly audible click as the connection was closed. Yoshino said, “All stations report nominal, Shok’na-li. We can move at any time.”

From the navigator’s station, Rafell added, “I have plotted a course to follow the tracking data on the retreating alien ship.”

“Do so, then, diolch.”

The Minbari nodded, his hands working the controls in front of him. The Phoenix turned as a point in space in front of it flared and blossomed into a swirling tunnel of blue. It leapt forward into the jump point, hung stationary for less than an eyeblink, then vanished.

Copyright (c) 2005 Jamie Lawson and Leslie McBride. All rights reserved.


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