So, having watched the episode The Long Dark recently, I found myself reminded of two things. One was the film Forbidden Planet, what with an invisible creature killing off poor smucks. The other being Andromeda, namely the similarities that exist between the Soldier of Darkness and the Spirit of the Abyss (incorporeal beings, humanoid figures, great power, 'dark forces,' etc.). Anyway, decided to drabble this up.
Soldiers of Darkness
If John Sheridan had to describe Dylan Hunt in one word, it would be "tall."
Other words could be used of course, but that was the name of the game – one word descriptions. Other such descriptions including "tedious" (for politics), terrible (war), and "asinine" (more politics). So, as Dylan Hunt, captain of the EAS Andromeda took a seat in his office, he was thus reminded of one word descriptions that could be ascribed to the intricate workings of Earthforce. Most of them negative.
"So," Hunt said. "A Soldier of Darkness."
"That's what the aliens called it."
"An enemy. A dead one as of one week ago."
Hunt smirked. "Well, here's to dead enemies then."
There was nothing to drink for a toast. In what precious time he had left in this universe, Sheridan wanted to spend as little of it in this office as possible. Ideally as little time cooped up on this station as possible as well, but less than a year into his assignment, he could deal with that infraction against the natural order of things later. Drinks would make it longer to get that work done. Would lead to interruptions. Interruptions like an Earthforce captain emerging from the jumpgate on the basis of "just passing by."
"You know, before you say anything, I'm not here to replace you," Hunt said.
"Shame," Sheridan mused.
Hunt ignored the jibe. "But word travels fast, even without Gold channels."
"I can imagine quite a bit," Hunt said. He got up from his chair and walked over to the window, looking out over the interior of the station. "Others, though…"
"Others think I'm crazy?"
"Others think that Amis Saar is a loon who should have died on Zeioph at best. At worst…" Hunt sighed. "Well, I'd rather not indulge in worst case scenarios."
"And what do you think?"
"Hunt looked at him. "I think that there's too many people in the Clark Administration who want to you in command of Babylon 5 for the sole reason that it pokes the Minbari Federation in the eye."
Sheridan remained silent. For a moment, so did Hunt. Captain Dylan Hunt, the Hero of Hephaistos, the one whose crew included smugglers, super-humans, and even non-humans, including to record. The one who could break Sheridan's neck with one hand if he so desired.
"Why are you here?" Sheridan asked.
Hunt sighed. "Officially I'm here to retrieve all the information you have on the…being," he said. "That'll include personal testimony from yourself, Security Chief Garibaldi, Doctor Franklin, and anyone else who came into contact with the…entity."
Sheridan wondered about Mariah Cirrus for a moment. A moment later, he recalled that she was on her way back to Earth. A moment after that, wondered if she'd even be allowed to step foot on the planet before being taken in for questioning.
"What about unofficially?" Sheridan asked.
Hunt gestured to Sheridan's seat. With some hesitation, he took it. This wasn't the Dylan Hunt he'd heard of, he reflected. The Dylan Hunt he knew had defeated Nietzschean insurgents at Hephaistos, possibly saving all of Earth Alliance as a result. Dylan Hunt had ever been the paragon of Earthforce, leading from the bridge as well as the ground, beloved by fleet officers and marines alike. Dylan Hunt, he reflected, was the type of person to despise cloak and dagger nonsense, not work with it.
But that was then. This was now. And, as he watched as Hunt took out a data crystal and plug it into a terminal, he realized that he was looking at events of over a decade past. The Fall of Brandenburg Tor.
"My God," Sheridan whispered.
"God was asleep that day," Hunt mused. Both captains watched as the magog swarmed over the colony. The magog weren't an issue nowadays, ever since the Treaty of Antares. A relief to every species in known space. "But I've reason to suspect the devil was there."
Sheridan looked at Hunt. The look in Hunt's eyes suspected he was only half joking. Even less so as the image zoomed in on a strange figure. A floating, humanoid, most certainly not magog figure.
"What is that?" Sheridan asked.
"An abyss," Hunt said. "Or at least, according to one of those close to me."
"Does this source have that on authority?"
"More than even I know," Hunt mused. The image played out, as the humanoid moved its arm in slow motion. Almost as if it was directing the magog.
"This is classified data," Hunt said. "Brandenburg Tor fell to the magog, and that's the end of it, as far as Earth Alliance is concerned. And once I get back to Earth and present my findings to an inquiry, I suspect that's about as much they'll want to hear of it as well."
Sheridan lay back in his seat, hand on his chin. "So why should I care?"
Hunt shut down the recording and got to his feet. "I have my job to do, just like you have to do yours. But, for what it's worth, I felt it might be good to know that there's at least one person in Earthforce who won't list you, Amis Saar, or anyone on this station as being crazy."
He held out a hand. A large, firm, half-welcoming hand.
After a moment, Sheridan shook it.