Crossroads

Characters: Dr. Kim Matsomoto, Ser Gylenn, Tomás Darquin

Gylenn walked out of the Engineering department, not sure why he went there, and proceeded to the Science Department head’s office. He knew that the Science Department was separate. Well, that wasn’t too clear really. Ship quals were over the boat. Not over the Department. He thought for a moment. Perhaps he had just made a major mistake and missed doing department quals. They wouldn’t be to hard to do though. After all ship quals were nothing.

Before he knew it he was at the Science Office’s doors and he was already reaching for the door chime, only to have the door open suddenly as a dark-haired woman rushed out like a hurricane. She stopped short of him, narrowly avoiding a collision.

“Aaa! What is it with this place?”

Gylenn gave her a lost, quizzical look. “Doctor Matsumoto?”

“Mostly,” she answered cryptically. She slipped around him, into the heart of the corridor. “I can’t talk right now. Urgent business. This will have to wait.”

She disappeared gone down the corridor, leaving Gylenn with little more than a doorway and a dazed expression.

The door slid open to let a dark-haired Ranger stick his head out the doorway to check the corridor, whistling an unfamiliar tune. Gylenn felt as if he was watching a strange songbird watch its nest.

When their eyes met, the human stepped into the corridor and brought his fingertips together in proper Minbari greeting. “Looking for the Science Department?”

“Not exactly. I was looking for Doctor Matsumoto, but she…had to leave?” Gylenn nodded in the direction of her rapid exit, allowing his dazed expression to return.

“It’s okay, nobody’s having a good week around here. Are you Ser Gylenn? My name’s Tomas Darquin. She buzzed me on the link and asked me to lend you a hand. Come on in.”

Following Darquin’s wave to the door, Gylenn stepped into the Science Lab. Except for the two of them, the only sign of life in the place were the subtle hums of active monitors and the piles of datapads threatening to overwhlem a defenseless workstation.

“That’s where I’ve been trying to organize things,” Darquin said. “The doctor told me that things have been really chaotic around here for a few weeks, so there’s a lot of raw data waiting to be analyzed, re-filed, and ready for the command staff.”

“Yes, I can see that.” Gylenn leaned over the counter to glimpse the data on each pad. “The war made it hard to keep all this in order, I’m sure. So you’re an assistant science officer too?”

“Only part-time. I’m a pilot with Storm Squadron. Here, take a look.” He waved at the datapads as he made room for another chair at the workstation.

“This…it’s data from one of the planets destroyed by the Vorlons.”

Darquin pulled the file up on the workstation’s monitor. “Okay. Galicia system. The Phoenix was right there in orbit when the break-up started. Lost a few people down there, too. Before my time.”

From his datapad, Gylenn circled a series of energy readings. “There’s strong evidence of soliton wave build-up.”

“Yeah, the kinetic waves just kept getting bigger. Feeding each other. No interference patterns any–Wait a minute, there’s a weird magnetic flux further down.”

“Monopoles, perhaps.”

“But there’d have to be tons of ’em out there.”

“Minbari engineers have been making single-pole electromagnetic fields for some time. For power systems like the ones here on this ship.”

Darquin sighed. “So the Vorlons must’ve made them in their sleep.”

Gylenn looked away from the datapad, suspecting he just heard annoyance in Darquin’s voice. “Have I upset you?”

“Nah. Just a little healthy ego-bruising. Earth started detecting monopoles only in the last century. We all thought Santa Claus started early that year.” He pursed his lips in thought. “You think the rest of this stuff is gonna be like this?”

“Very probably.”

“Great.”

“You are upset.”

“No, I’m not….well, okay. But not at you, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

“Good. I have a question. What was the song you were whistling earlier?”

“What? Oh. An old blues song. Like Minbari Tee’la.”

Gylenn looked at him for a moment, trying to remember something Clair had made him listen to…the Blitz Grieg Bob. He believed Clair called them Ramones. Or punk rock. He wasn’t certain on that. He liked what was called the Police and their song called the Roxanne much more. Clair had showed him a side of humans that he hadn’t seen before. Their music and some of it was rather pleasant if you let yourself get use to it. He was kind of puzzled about that effect on him. If Tee’la reminded his people of the past and inspired them with new ideas, what did human music inspire?

“I found a human band named Orbital and their song called ‘The Saint’ rather pleasant. Perhaps you will let me listen to this blues of yours?”

“Cultural exchange, huh?” A smile slowly spread across Darquin’s face. “Sure, it might be fun. Let’s see, I brought some albums with me….” Speaking half to himself, he reached past Gylenn for the data crystals piled on the counter beside them, then slipped one crystal into a dataport to check its contents. “Perfect. This’ll be great. We can just let this stuff play in the background while we’re going over the files.”

“Excellent. Now where do we begin?”

“Well, we got this data on the Vorlon weapon right here in front of us. Music-wise, let’s start here.” Darquin showed Gylenn the data crystal in his hand and, with dramatic flair, popped into another dataport. “Before Orbital kicked some major synth, there was this wandering guitar player named Robert Johnson who played lots of blues numbers. Like ‘Crossroads.’ That’s the song I was whistling.”

“Humans use that word to mean a moment of crisis, correct?”

Darquin nodded. “Or when one of us is caught between two big decisions. Sort of a moment of spiritual crisis. And that why we sing the blues. To remember those moments, and help ourselves get through ’em when they happen again.”

“The crew seems to be in need of that right now,” Gylenn said.

“Yeah. I got that feeling too.”