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face of Humanity's final defeat.

The armada was coming, and it was huge beyond imagining. The ships literally seemed without number, as infinite as the stars. They seemed to radiate evil, and they surrounded ...

... the mother ship, my God, look at it, Sheridan muttered with utter revulsion. It moved like a living, breathing mass, with extended tentacles and eyes, and it was impossible to know if it was really a ship or else a gigantic living being, or perhaps some of both. No, it wasn't simply a ship. It was a living incarnation of every nightmare that Humankind had ever experienced as a race. Every shadow that had ever danced in the corner of darkened rooms, causing children to cry out in terror, had been cast by this thing.

And it was seconds away from emerging through the artifact.

Sheridan couldn't help himself; he felt numbing terror at a primal level. Later, he wouldn't even remember speaking his next words-"Flight system ... retrace path, automatic navigation, top speed"-because by that time he was operating entirely on instinct and training.

He was unaware that he was being watched-until it was too late.

The artifact began to crackle with interdimensional energy, and a rippling jumpgate-styled path, leading into the void, opened up. Slowly, ponderously, yet seemingly with inexorable confidence, the mother ship began to move through the hole into our universe.

Delenn, aboard the Minbari cruiser, saw it first. She felt fear clutching at her heart as she spotted the monstrosity beginning to emerge. "In Valen's name ..." she whispered, and then activated the com system. "Delenn to Ivanova ... can you hear me?"

On the bridge of her White Star, Ivanova had certainly seen better days. She was battered and bruised, her jacket hanging open, and a
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