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Ivanova replied, "Captain, they just finished going over the sample we took from the alien artifact. The carbon dating indicates that whatever that thing is ..." even the normally staid Ivanova couldn't keep the astonishment from her voice, "it's over a million years old."

That was that. Sheridan and Trent exchanged looks, and he knew that he had her completely hooked. Reeling her in he could do with one hand. He lowered his voice slightly, to imply a bit of privacy between the two of them even though the link was still on. "Still thinking it over, Doctor?"

This time Trent didn't hesitate. "Tell your people to stand by. We've got a deal."

He nodded and extended a hand. She shook it with that same firm grasp. Then he said into his link, "Commander ... good news. IPX is going to be lending us a hand."

And Ivanova, with her customary dourness, said, "Oh ... goody." It was as if she perceived an offer of help as something that would ultimately inconvenience her.

She didn't know the half of it.

The polite, inoffensive way to refer to the state of the cargo bay was that it was a hive of activity. The less polite, more offensive way-the one in which Ivanova was inclined at that moment to describe it-was that it was a nuthouse.

Dozens of technicians in IPX jumpsuits were carrying duffel bags, briefcases, satchels, and boxes. Entire loads of equipment were being wheeled in. And it wasn't as if this was all being accomplished in a brisk, orderly, and no-nonsense manner. No, everyone was shouting out instructions, calling out questions at the top of their lungs, wanting to know where this went or that should be stacked. Everyone was turning to everyone else and asking directions, and since no one knew their way around Babylon 5, it was the most massive case of
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