Thursday, 18 August 1994

Inauguration - Chapter Fifteen

Magus stood at the junction of two corridors, wondering which way he should head next. If it were not for the sensors he would have been able to sort this out by now. Then a fall figure appeared before him.
    “Ah, Magus. I knew you would be here. Do not worry about using your powers, you will need them to defend yourself. I intend to kill you and to add your powers to my own.” smiled Alen.
    “Easier said than done Alen. You want to match the skills of four centuries against two millennia?”
    The two began to circle each other warily. Arcane energy began to form around their hands. Alen raised his hands and struck the first blow, sending Magus reeling. Now he could use his powers again there was not the effect Alen had hoped for. The older wizard turned to him with a smile.

    “We didn’t teach you too well, did we Alen? Have you forgotten the staff is the vessel of your powers?”
    Magus blasted Alen backwards. Now it was the Seer’s turn to rise. He raised his staff to fire a blast at Magus. Suddenly he heard a snarling from either side of him. On each side stood a snarling wolf and a ferocious-looking panther. Alen looked momentarily stunned . It was long enough for Magus to act. Moving swiftly forwards he snatched Alen’s staff. The Seer moved to grab it back but was too late. Magus smashed the staff into a thousand pieces against the wall of the corridor.
    Time which had stood still since the millennium for Alen the Seer began to catch up with him. Deprived of his staff, the one thing which gave the Acolytes the protection enjoyed by the five Lords of the Istari Alen began to age. His hair grew long and grey. His skin wrinkled, his muscles wasted. His eyes grew dim as he aged four hundred years in four seconds. The flesh fell away from his bones which in their turn crumbled into dust before Magus. As the flow surrounding all that remained of Alen died away the panther and wolves returned to their usual forms…those of Magus’ companions.
    “I am extremely glad to see that those blasters did you no real harm. “ he smiled, kneeling down to greet each of them in turn.
    Teddy smiled back.
    “You taught us to play dead when we were little.” he replied.
    “Before we go any further Teddy, tell me, could you identify the circuits for all the sensors?”
    Teddy nodded. Soon the circuits had been identified. Magus broke into the circuits and began to absorb the energy from all the sensors circuits. In Ops Queeg turned to Boglob.
    “All the sensors have gone off line.” he cried.
    “That means that we cannot track Magus either.”
    As they spoke Magus was scanning for his old friend.
    “Wait here. I am going to join our esteemed President.”

    In the adjoining sector two Federation starships were nearing the jump-point to Babylon 5. Before they made the jump they were joined by another vessel, a Klingon Bird of Prey. They paused in space as they communicated with each other, and a minute later they went on their way.

    In the reactor room Watt was busily trying to operate the console. Time after time he used his super-speed powers to enter countless codes into the computer, and time after time nothing happened. He got the same message on the screen every time - ‘code invalid’. He could find no way of shutting the reactor down. As he did this Magus entered the reactor room. Watt did not look up.
    “It’s not working.” said Watt. “The code I got from Garibaldi’s console is invalid. They’ve changed the blasted thing!”
    “Let me try.”
    Watt gave way so Magus could try his hand at the console. He had the same luck as Watt
    “Is there another way of disabling the web?” asked Watt.
    “I don’t know.” said Magus. “I’ve never known anyone to try before. It may be possible to disable it by putting something through one of the strands.”
    “You man something that can’t conduct energy?” said Watt. “Like the human body for instance?”
    “Yes, but I can’t see anything that…”
    Before Magus could finish he marched out of the reactor room.
    “Where are you going?” he asked.
    “To one of the airlocks.” Watt replied. “To disable the web.”
    “You can’t be thinking of using your own body to break the chain?” said Magus. “You could be killed.”
    Watt turned to face Magus.
    “As an old friend of mine once said, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
    Watt continued on his way down the corridor.

    In Operations Queeg and Boglob were happy.
    “One of them is trying to cut power.” said Queeg. “The computer is working overtime trying to stop them, changing the code all the time.”
    Then the sensor panel lighted up.
    “What is it?”
    “Something’s coming through the jump-gate.” said Queeg.
    “Damn them!” Boglob cursed. “I told them what would happen if they sent any ships out here.”
    The jump-gate opened, and the two starships and the Bird of Prey could now be seen.
    “There is no need to worry.” said Queeg. “They can’t get through the web!”
    Then another light started flashing, this time on the console Captain Solkun was seated at.
    “Something’s coming out of airlock three.” he reported. “Something small.”
    Queeg and Boglob walked over to his station.
    “What is it?” said Queeg. “The sensors are hardly picking it up.”
    Solkun began to operate his console. A startled look appeared in his face seconds later.
    “The sensors show it to be a life-form, a man!”
    “That can’t be!” said Boglob. “No one can survive in space!”
    They watched as the lone figure of James Watt flew out of the airlock and towards the energy field that covered Babylon 5. The whole of Operations seemed to stand still as they watched. Time seemed to drag on as he got closer and closer. Then they looked on in horror as Watt flew into the field. They shielded their eyes as a huge energy burst exploded from the web. When the light died down they could see that Watt was now part of the energy field, his arms and legs spread out wide as his immortal body absorbed massive amounts of energy from the field. His body began to shake and he let out huge cries of pain. Then, to the amazement of almost everyone on the station the web began to disappear. Then there was another flash of blinding light as Watt used his powers to push back that energy that had gone into his body. Explosions began to sound as system after system began to overload the station, and the connection between the Yorktown, Aswan, Eldar and Ork vessels was slowly broken. The loss of power on the station released all of the locks in the detention cells, releasing the prisoners.
    Operations was plunged into total darkness, and those there had no idea what was going on. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity the Tholian web was no more. All that was left of if was a slight energy glow that surrounded Watt, his now-limp form floating just outside the station.
    In Operations the power was restored.
    “The web has gone!” said Queeg. “The plan has failed!”
    Before they could do anything the door to Operations burst open, and a combined Federation/Klingon security force burst in. As they did this Boglob reached into his pocket.
    “All is not lost Captain Queeg.” he said. “With two Federation starships in our grasp we will return a stronger force.”
    Boglob pressed a button on the device he took out of his pocket and a transporter beam was activated from the Ork and Eldar ships. Each Ork, Eldar and rebel Federation officer was beamed off the station onto their respective vessels. Before anyone knew what was going on those five ships immediately made the jump to warp speed and escaped through the jump-gate. In Operations, however, one rebel was left behind, surround by men who considered him their enemy. That man was Captain Tarak Queeg, former commanding officer of the U.S.S. Yorktown.
    “Curse you, Boglob, and you Nightland! I’ll see you rot in hell, if it’s the last thing I do!”
    Queeg looked uneasy as he suddenly realised that he was alone. He looked around as the door to Operations opened again, and in walked Magus and Captain Watt. Wall walked over to Queeg. Queeg smiled.
    “Jim! My old friend! You’ve got to help me out!”
    Queeg continued to smile at Watt. Watt looked angry. He went to walk away, and then suddenly turned around and struck Queeg on the jaw, knocking him off his feet. Queeg looked surprised and looked up at Watt as he rubbed his chin.
    “You’re no friend of mine!” Watt said.


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