boomed, "C&C to work crew. What're you doing out there?"
He recognized the voice immediately. It was that Ivanova woman. He hadn't been particularly wild about her. Bossy little thing. Thought she was God's gift to outer space. He didn't want trouble with her, but he didn't especially feel like knuckling under to her either. With a slight drawl-which was the tone he adopted when he was speaking with people he'd really rather not be speaking with-Kuehler replied, "Well, the others modified an energy cell, we're seeing if it works in the..."
"By whose authority?" she interrupted.
That threw him slightly. "Well ... yours, I thought." That was no lie. It had been his understanding that everything, every step of the way, was being cleared through Babylon 5's command center. In fact, he remembered thinking how anal retentive the command people had been, wanting to know every move that was made. The fact that such a major step was news to C&C surprised Kuehler. A faint warning bell rang in his head.
"Negative, we never authorized this," Ivanova barked. "Break off. Break off immediately."
There was genuine urgency in her voice ... and more. She sounded alarmed.
He didn't know Ivanova all that well, but he'd seen her in action enough to believe that she wasn't someone who spooked easily. And any situation which was sufficient to engender that sort of reaction had to be something which might pose tremendous jeopardy. "It's too late," he said, his voice now infused with genuine worry. "We have contact."
He tried to issue orders that would cause the forklifts to back off, but it was indeed too late. The energy cell came into contact with the artifact, just barely touching it...
... and Kuehler couldn't quite believe what he saw.
He was more than willing-eager,