“What the… where am I?” Marcus asked out aloud, the last thing he remembered was ordering the computer to transfer emergency power to the engines before he began meditating to slow down his breathing, whatever had happened, his body was still tingling from. He swung his body around from the laying down position he was currently in to sit up on what was obviously some sort of bed, looking around this definitely didn’t look like Babylon Five or any other ship he could think of, it definitely wasn’t Minbari or Earth alliance, and the soft greys and whites didn’t seem to fit with what he knew about Narn or Centauri ships.
“You are on board the Aventine, in the medical bay to be precise.”
Marcus span around at the voice that had just spoken, finding himself face to face with a young human in a strange uniform of some sort, the base of the uniform was pitch black, almost skin tight somehow, with a dark grey band across the top flowing past the shoulders. Underneath that was a turquoise blue collar, a gold and silver badge on the left of his chest finished the uniform off. “The Aventine?” Marcus responded thankfully. “I see, is this your ship?” He asked,
“I am the emergency medical hologram aboard the USS Aventine, you are in the ships medical bay.” The Doctor explained patiently.
Marcus frowned to himself as he looked around the medical bay, memorising every detail he could to save the data later on for the Anla’Shok. “You’re a hologram?” He asked in disbelief, holding back the urge to poke at the realistic looking being in front of him.
“Indeed,” The Doctor sighed. “You appear to be in normal health, I could take some scans to make sure if you’d prefer, as to why you were beamed here…”
“Perhaps I can answer that,” Ezri said as she walked in the door of the medical bay with G’Fokk following her. The sight must have looked pretty strange, as Ezri was only five feet tall, where as G’Fokk towered over her as he walked behind her respectfully. “Hello, I’m Captain Dax of the Aventine.”
“Marcus Cole,” Marcus smiled as he looked over at the woman who had introduced herself as the Captain. “Sorry, dreadfully rude of me, I seem to be at a bit of a loss here to explain how I arrived on your ship.” He explained, his eyes looking over at the large alien behind the Captain, he certainly wasn’t of any race he’d ever seen or encountered, and as he’d had access to the Minbari species database for his Anla’Shok training, which encompassed pretty much all of the known races.
“This is G’Fokk, my tactical officer,” Ezri smiled reassuringly over. “I’m just here to ask you some questions.”
“I’ve got one or two of my own as well,” Marcus said with a soft smile as he looked at the strange uniforms these three people were wearing. “Sorry,” He said with a grin, turning to G’fokk. “I’ve never seen an alien anything like him before, it is a him right?” Marcus asked curiously, still looking at the huge alien.
“I am a Klingon,” G’Fokk responded with half a snarl.
“We were in the area when our sensors picked up your ship,” Ezri explained. “Life support was on minimum and your engines were nearly burnt out, I couldn’t just let you die out there.”
“Naturally,” Marcus smiled thankfully. “Can I ask what you were doing out here?” He asked cautiously, not wanting to offend anyone with his questions. “I was travelling pretty far off the hyperspace beacon trail, even for Explorer class ships.”
“Is that what you call this?” Ezri asked pleasantly. “Hyperspace?”
“He appears to be in perfect health Captain,” The Doctor said from behind Marcus, calling his attention back to him where he could see the man was running some sort of device over his body that was humming lightly. “I’m detecting no toxins and only minor levels of pollutants in his system, evidence of several minor fractured bones, mostly healed, some over a year old.”
“Well I feel fine,” Marcus smiled as he stepped away from the device the doctor was pointing at him. “Bit of a tingle but otherwise good to go.”
“As I said, he is in reasonable health Captain,” The Doctor commented as he folded away the medical tricorder and placed it back on the workbench behind him. “The transporter would have cleared out any known pathogens, the tricorder picked up nothing unusual in his body.”
“Good to know,” Ezri nodded with a smile. “It was just a precaution you understand.”
“Of course,” Marcus nodded happily, still looking around the futuristic medical bay they were in.
“Computer, deactivate emergency medical hologram.” Ezri announced calmly, causing The Doctor to shimmer in space before vanishing from view. “We’ve only recently arrived in this area of… sorry, hyperspace did you call it?” She continued when Marcus nodded at her.
“Love to chat and all, but were you heading to Babylon Five?” Marcus asked, figuring if they were travelling to Babylon Five then it would be much more comfortable for him to ride with them rather than using the small transport vessel he’d been using so far.
“Babylon Five?” Ezri repeated questioningly.
“A space station.” Marcus explained, thinking these people were definitely from outside the unaligned races if they hadn’t heard of Babylon Five before. “Heading there myself, got a bit of emergency really, need to get some information to the people there..”
“Like Deep Space Nine then,” Ezri commented to herself as she waited for the man to continue. “This emergency, is there anything we can do to help?”
“I was on my way to ask for help actually, not for me, for the colony I was stationed with on Zagros Seven,” Marcus explained. “We’re boxed in, the Centauri are shooting anyone trying to leave, civilians, rangers, it doesn’t matter.”
“Is this colony is Centauri space?” Ezri asked carefully, not ideally wanting to intervene in a political dispute when, hopefully, they would only be in this space a short period of time.
“Not at all,” Marcus shook his head. “The colony is actually in a nearby sector in Drazi controlled space, the Centauri have no claim to it. We’re a small colony; it’s a quiet world, no real importance to either the Drazi or the Centauri.”
“So why are they blockading it?” Ezri asked curiously.
“Because of us,” Marcus said simply. “It’s the only reason that makes sense, we must be the targets.”
“And you are?” Ezri asked, trying to remember all of this information to write down in her log later on.
“Noone of any importance, really,” Marcus hedged around the question. “We just want to be left alone, but the Centauri refuse to let us leave the planet, shooting down anyone that tries to break the blockade.”
“The acts of cowards,” G’Fokk glared over. “Attacking unarmed people is not the honourable way to do combat.”
“Exactly,” Marcus beamed, happy that one of this strange crew seemed to agree with him. “We’re boxed in on all sides, there’s only a few dozen of us left, and those left are close to starving because of the limited resources the Centauri have left us with.”
“We should help Captain,” G’Fokk declared proudly. “The acts of cowards such as these Centauri…” He spat the name out as if it was a curse before continuing. “We should protect these people.”
“And you have done nothing to antagonise the Centauri?” Ezri asked, wanting to get all of the information before committing herself and her ship to anything.
“Nothing, really,” Marcus answered honestly. “Look, if you can’t help can you at least let me contact Babylon Five, I have contacts there who will be able to help us.”
“I’m not saying that,” Ezri said as she felt G’Fokk bristle at her back. “Let’s just say I do help, what sort of blockade are we talking about here?”
“One ship to man the blockage, eighteen, maybe twenty two satellites armed with plasma cannons on an orbital path,” Marcus explained. “All we have to do is punch a hole through the satellites, take out three or four, then hold off the ship until the people escape.”
“One thing at a time,” Ezri said with a frown. “Plasma cannons?”
“Standard for a blockade mine,” Marcus explained. “If you can help, please, we’re getting desperate, even more a starving by the day.”
“Ok,” Ezri nodded after a moment’s thought. “If you can use our communications array to contact Babylon Five somehow, would they be able to render assistance as well?”
“I know they will.” Marcus said firmly, happy that the Captain of this strange ship was willing to help them.
“Then if you’ll follow me, I’ll see what we can do.” Ezri said, turning to leave the medical bay and motioning for Marcus to follow her before tapping on her Commbadge. “Ezri to Seven.”
“Seven here Captain.”
“Have you finished the astrometrics scans?” Ezri asked, turning to check Marcus and G’Fokk were following behind her.
“Short distance scans are complete, subspace interference from the distortions is preventing us from any long range resolution.” Seven explained over the commlink.
“Understand,” Ezri nodded to herself in acceptance. “Can you meet us in astrometrics; we have someone here to would like to make use of our communications array.”
“Of course Captain.” Seven said before the commbadge beeped to signify the connection had been terminated.
“One of our crew is meeting us there,” Ezri explained as she slowed down to walk alongside Marcus through the quiet corridors of the Aventine. “She’ll be able to help you get a signal through to Babylon Five hopefully.”
“Wonderful,” Marcus smiled at her. “This is quite a unique ship,” Marcus said after a moment’s pause, choosing his words carefully. “Never seen anything quite like it.”
“We’re pretty new to the area,” Ezri explained, not wanting to discuss anything until she knew exactly what she was dealing with here. The Doctor and the scans they had performed said that the man was human, but that didn’t tell them much about his motives, ethics or any other problems they could come across.
“Let me be the first to officially welcome you then,” Marcus grinned at over at her as they walked, stopping outside a set of doors. “Is this it?” He asked, waiting for something to happen.
“No, astrometrics is twelve levels down,” Ezri explained as she moved in front of the doors, causing them to open to reveal the turbolift inside. “We’ll take the turbolift down to deck seven.”
“Fine by me,” Marcus said with a nod, following her inside the lift with G’Fokk following him. He had to restrain himself from showing surprise as the captain stated their destination, the transport hummed lightly and some lights flashed down the corners of the lift, but that was the only indication they were moving at all, there was no gravitational force or sense of movement whatsoever.
“We’re here,” Ezri said after a few moments as the doors slid open again.
“That was it?” Marcus asked with a laugh. “A few seconds to drop twelve levels?” He smiled as he moved out of the lift following the Captain. “Even Minbari transport tubes aren’t that smooth to ride in.”
“The turbolifts are covered by the inertial dampening system,” Ezri explained as she started walking down another one of the halls. “They can move through the levels at high speed without anyone feeling the velocities involved.”
“Naturally,” Marcus said wryly as they came around a corner to see someone waiting for them, a blonde with obvious cybernetic implants over her eye.
“Seven,” Ezri smiled as she noticed her. “This is Marcus.”
“The inhabitant of the shuttle we rescued,” Seven stated with a nod.
“Pleased to meet you,” Marcus smiled as he offered his hand. “Was in a bit of a rush, had to push the engines a bit further than was safe really.” He explained when Seven simply looked at his hand.
“Diverting energy from your life support was reckless,” Seven said with a frown. “What is the point of arriving somewhere faster if you do not make the journey alive?”
“It was a calculated risk,” Marcus said with a shrug.
“Marcus comes from a colony that is under attack,” Ezri explained. “He’s requested our help in liberating his people from a blockade that has been put in place around their planet.”
“Captain, we are in no shape to mount a planet scale rescue,” Seven informed her.
“What’s our status?” Ezri asked as she motioned for them all to continue walking towards astrometrics.
“Shields and weapons have been repaired,” Seven explained. “Ablative armour is down to sixty two percent and torpedo launchers are still offline.”
“Phaser banks and transphasic shielding?” Ezri asked hopefully.
“Both fully functional,” Seven nodded as she stopped outside the doors to the astrometrics array to allow Ezri to walk in first. “We are only one ship however; we cannot liberate an entire planet.”
“Only one colony really,” Marcus explained helpfully. “We’re only small, a few dozen of us really, not that much.”
“Marcus seems to think if he can contact a space station nearby, then they will be able to offer assistance as well.” Ezri explained as she led the way into the astrometrics room.
“I have detected no space stations within seventeen lightyears of our current position.” Seven stated firmly.
“Babylon Five is in the Euphrates sector,” Marcus said helpfully. “There’s a jump point nearby, should be able to get a signal through on the jump beacon.” He explained as the doors closed behind them and he got a good look at the room the captain had been calling ‘astrometrics.’
“Beacon?” G’Fokk inquired, narrowing his eyes as he tried to understand the term and context it was being used in.
“The hyperspace beacon for the jumpgate.” Marcus nodded again, then paused as he didn’t see any recognition from either of the three people looking at him. “You don’t know about the beacons or jumpgates?”
“I am unfamiliar with this technology,” G’Fokk frowned at him.
“We don’t use jumpgates, as you call them, for travel,” Ezri explained. “If you could provide us with the frequency the beacon emits, we should be able to find it that way though.”
“Dreadfully sorry, I thought since you were in hyperspace you either had your own jump engine or used a jumpgate to get here.” Marcus explained, trying to figure out in his mind how these obviously advanced people had managed to get into hyperspace without the use of either a jump engine or a jumpgate. There were rumours of other species out there that used some sort of space folding technology to travel into hyperspace, but those rumours had yet to be confirmed or denied by the Anla’Shok or the Minbari castes.
“It seems what we’re seeing as space outside is actually some form of faster than light travel,” Ezri explained as Seven moved to one of the astrometrics stations and pulled up the sensor information to be displayed on the large viewscreen that dominated the room.
“As I suspected,” Seven said with a nod of satisfaction. “I have detected several signals operating through this hyperspace as you call it. Along with various ships moving on constant courses throughout the nearby area.”
“Can you put them on screen?” Ezri asked, smiling when the viewscreen lit up with the information she had requested. The central point of the screen showing their location with a red dot, then several other yellow dots appeared that were slowly moving around the screen, and finally fourteen blue dots appeared in what seemed to be random locations around the screen.
“The vessels you see all seem to be moving from one of these signalling devices to another,” Seven explained as she indicated the yellow markers. “They rarely deviate from their course and vanish from our sensors when reaching their destination.”
“This is amazing,” Marcus breathed out as he walked up the steps that were beside the viewscreen to stand on the stage-like area that stood in front of the large screen. “With sensor quality like this you could map entire star systems in days.”
“What do you mean they vanish?” Ezri asked, looking towards Seven for an answer.
“Precisely that Captain,” Seven said simply. “Sensors pick up an unstable burst of energy at the time the ships vanish.”
“Jump points,” Marcus explained. “You’re picking up the hyperspace beacon trail,” He said, pointing to one of the blue dots. “Ships use them to jump between normal space and hyperspace, see, when you arrive at the beacon; you transmit a pulse letting the beacon know to activate the jump point. Then you just steer through back into normal space.”
“And these beacons can transmit a message through to Babylon Five?” Ezri asked, looking up at where Marcus was still looking at the astrometrics viewscreen in awe.
“Easily,” Marcus smiled down at her. “It’s what they were designed for.” He said before turning back to the view screen. “Now, if this is us…” He muttered, pointing at the red dot. “And I was travelling for five hours from the Zagros system…” He muttered again, tracing his finger to the top left of where they were until he came across a blue dot. “This is the Zagros jump point then, which means…” He trailed off again, tracing his finger back through the red dot where they were and down to the bottom right of the screen, about three feet from where the blue dot was. “This should be the Babylon Five jump point.”
“Can you isolate that one?” Ezri asked, looking at Seven who was already working on one of the consoles.
“On screen,” Seven said after a moment as the main viewscreen changed to display the blue dot that seemed to be pulsing slightly. “The beacon is sending out a continual pulse of data on the tachyon band.”
“Can we send communications through?” Ezri asked.
“I believe so,” Seven nodded after a moment’s thought. “They are similar in design to the array used by the Hirogen in the Delta Quadrant, a sustained tachyon burst with a carrier signal should make it through the beacon to be received in normal space.”
“Do it,” Ezri said with a nod, turning back to Marcus. “Is there anyone specific we should be addressing?”
“Ambassador Delenn.” Marcus said instantly.