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the unknown.

In the control room, Morishi was looking at the artifact with quiet amazement. Despite the destruction that had been the result of its activation, despite all the insanity that had been released as a consequence, nonetheless Morishi found himself admiring the sheer perfection and beauty of its destructive capability. Much as scientists of an earlier era would have gazed in awe at a high-level tornado, ripping apart a countryside, but nonetheless providing an elegant study in pure destructive power.

"Look at it... it's beautiful," he whispered.

Sounding very distant, Trent said, "Yes ... it is."

Morishi passed a hand over his face, trying to compose himself, to bring himself back into the moment. He glanced at the instrumentation nearby and said, "Scanners indicate they're moving fighters in all around it. We have to do something."

Trent said, "Yes, we do."

It was at that moment they both realized that they didn't have the same thing in mind when it came to a matter of "doing something."

Thirty seconds later, one of them lay dead.

Long before other Starfuries leapt from the confines of Babylon 5, Delta Squadron was already advancing on the artifact. Taking point was the experienced Marlette in his customary Delta 7. Marlette said in no-nonsense terms, "All right people, form up."

The Starfuries rose toward the mysterious object which had turned Babylon 5 into a war zone. "Weapons hot," Marlette announced. "We have to take that thing out, but we can't get too close or it'll kill the engines."

"How close can we get?" asked Thomas, who was piloting Delta 9. Thomas had been around longer than Marlette, but had a tendency to let his disdain for authority show through just a bit. He also got into more brawls than was wise for a man who
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