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experienced anything quite like it. Certainly he'd witnessed enough space battles, and it wasn't as if those had been accompanied by sound effects and dramatic music. But he'd always been on the bridge of a vessel, or in the cockpit of a fighter. Never had he been so alone, so isolated.

He watched in grim amazement as the beams from a Min-bari cruiser struck the artifact, but were dissipated harmlessly by the energy field. And he watched with satisfaction as energy crackled around the repeated points of assault, all at the front just as he had instructed. As more and more shots blasted the front of the artifact, then theoretically energy would be pulled from the back.


For all he knew, Sheridan would reach the back and find that it remained just as fully energized as the front. Or that there would be no room for him to slip through, despite his relative diminutiveness.

Sheridan brought his comlink on line. The systems within Babylon 5 were still down, but the ship-to-station and ship-to-ship were still functioning. He started to hear chatter between Ivanova and the Starfuries. He said nothing, however, but maintained radio silence. Otherwise he risked letting the artifact, and those aboard it-whoever or whatever they might be-know that he was on his way. Besides, it seemed unlikely that he could tell Ivanova or Delenn anything they didn't already know.

He saw one of the White Stars hit by a burst from the swarming alien ships. The ship banked hard to starboard, still firing at several incoming ships. One of the alien vessels was hit directly and blown to pieces, but the rest were only struck glancing blows and didn't even slow down. Considering that from a tactical position it seemed to be leading the charge, Sheridan ventured the sneaking suspicion
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