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Rangers Redux (fiction)

I'm ordinarily an obsessive-compulsive saver and operate off my own machine. When I post Redux while I'm working freelance, however, I'm usually posting on a computer at a public library stuff that I've scribbled on a sheet of paper that occasionally gets saved but mostly gets stuffed in pockets and washed. The past week had me doing a very important freelance job that I was basically focusing on, and saving Redux was the last thing on my mind... ah, well.

Here's some stuff to tide you over while I finish the bit with the summit. It's experimental and may or may not go into the final version. I only have a few minutes, so here ya go -

-- -- --

Interlude: SINDELL

I know the dear, terrible secret, and I fear that it will someday kill me. I am not of that new generation. I am Anla'shok, but yet I bleed.

I know the dear, terrible secret. I am one of only thirty who do. The Grey Council. The Council of the Anla'shok. The clan leaders of Mir, Chu'domo, Fara. We are the last; we are skin, drawn over bone and tissue. We are the last testament to the Minbar that was, just as those that train below my feet right now - the young fire, the quick-moving spring gale, the Human and Minbari joined in combat against the darkness - are the first testament to the Minbar that will come.

I draw my breath in the morning, looking over Tuzanor - my heart aches - my lungs ache - I move slowly - can I be called one of the Anla'shok, when the dark places are now not in crevice and crack, in Shadow and enemy shore, but in my own soul?

I know the dear, terrible secret...

Too many know.

I ache for Minbar.
not that i know of, but from now on, this thread's being backed up on my computer, just incase anything like this happens again, she won't lose any of her story.
Thank you, Channe, for that new tidbit. /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

Sidenote on backups: people often forget them. Myself included. I have sometimes lost hundreds of code lines. With web pages, your browser cache allows limited chances of restoration, but one should not rely on that. Restoring something in that way is inconvenient. Therefore everything I keep on servers, I also keep on my personal computer.
I am enjoying this Channe. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

When I wrote my "SOSB The War of the Feet" fic, I wrote it first on paper, then posted it at Kribu's old ezboard. After Sassy made my board for me, I posted it there. My board is not about to go anyplace soon, so the story is still there. And even if something happens to my board, I still have the story on paper. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
NOTE: Part of this scene contains dialogue worked in from the Sci-Fi Channel's B5LR ads. Don't know who wrote it, but I think it was JMS. If you want me to highlight those words in any way to differentiate them, let me know.

Thanks to GShans for the name of the planet. I've made the necessary changes here:

-- -- --


Ranger Sarah Cantrell, Tactical Specialist/Ei Nali (Liandra) Rating: 6A Date: 62165 Kurali 18-89

Maddox | Thank you for coming, Ranger Cantrell.

Cantrell | It's no problem, sir.

Maddox | We're sorry to bring you out again at such a late date. You'll recognize this; it's a transcript of your debriefing from the mission to the colony on Beta Durani 7. Please read through the highlighted portions and tell the Council if anything has changed.

Cantrell | No - no, everything seems to be in order.

Maddox | Is there anything you'd like to add? You maintain that the enemy vessels were about eighty percent stronger than the Valen?

Cantrell | Ninety-eight, sir.

Maddox | The discrepancy is noted in the official record. Everything else is in order. All information, to your knowledge, is completely true. Is that right, Ranger Cantrell?

Cantrell | Yes, sir.

Maddox | Is that hesitancy, Ranger Cantrell?

Cantrell | I'm sorry, sir.

Maddox | Is there any missing information?

Cantrell | This is complete.

Maddox | Thank you. Let's move on. Why did you join the Rangers?

Cantrell | I believe it was because - I basically live to serve, and I serve to live.

Maddox | I believe what we mean was - the specific reason you joined the Rangers.

Cantrell | I'm sorry, sir, but that's personal.

Maddox | Noted. You live to serve and you serve to live. It seems to me to be a nice Minbari sentiment, Ranger Cantrell, but you're human - it leaves out quite a few things and raises many more questions.

Cantrell | I have always wanted to serve others. I believe in the Interstellar Alliance and I follow Entil'zha. Are you questioning my loyalty, sir?

Maddox | No, we aren't. You're doing fine.

Cantrell | Thank you.

Maddox | Take a look at your statement from the Beta Durani deposition. Make sure you still agree with everything you set forth on paper that day.

Cantrell | Yes. I do.

Maddox | Let's move on. Tell us about your Captain.

Cantrell | Well, he is a leader. He's very bright. Intelligent. He sees things in a different way than others in the Anla'shok.

Maddox | Can you be more specific?

Cantrell | David's world is not set in stone. It's not flat or - or even round. Sometimes, I think he comes at things from four dimensions. He's fast, he's smart, and he's the best commanding officer I have ever had. No question.

Maddox | Are you emotionally involved with your Captain?

Cantrell | I don't think that's anybody's business, actually.

Maddox | It's our business.

Cantrell | I am not emotionally involved with David Martel.

Maddox | Would you die for him?

Cantrell | I would die for the One.

Maddox | Answer the question, Ranger Cantrell.

Cantrell | I don't think this has anything to do with the mission to the colony, sir.

Maddox | That's more than you are allowed to know. Answer the question, please

Cantrell | Yes, I would.

Maddox | I think we have everything we need, gentlemen. Thank you, Ranger Cantrell.
This arc is coming up to bite me where it counts. I am going to pay a high price for consistency. /forums/images/icons/wink.gif

That being said, give me a few days to work out the details, and we'll be back on track. Keep your eyes peeled when reading, because the next few entries are going to be important.

Unfortunately, real life calls; I'll get back to the Anla'shok when I return from work this evening.
"We live for the paycheck, we die from the workload."

We understand Channe ... been writing a fic myself that I email out to friends a chapter at a time ... often real life makes it so I'm getting a chapter out every few months if I'm lucky. /forums/images/icons/tongue.gif
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
We live for the paycheck, we die from the workload


Aint that the truth!
Ranger David Martel, Captain/Shok'na (Liandra) TRANSCRIPT

Maddox | Good morning, Captain.

Martel | Good morning.

Maddox | Captain - and so young! Tell me, Captain Martel. You were never in Earthforce, correct?

Martel | That's right.

Maddox | And what did you do before you joined the Rangers?

Martel | I was a quantium-40 miner.

Maddox | A quantium-40 miner.

Martel | You sound surprised.

Maddox | I expected you to come from a military background, Captain.

Martel | No. Many of my crew came from civilian life. What you do before you come to the Anla'shok is not what matters.

Maddox | And so a Q-40 miner became a captain.

Martel | Yes.

Maddox | Earthforce would probably look on your quick promotion as inadvisable. They would say you weren't possibly experienced enough to command a ship. I'd say that they have a point.

Martel | I'd say that they don't understand the Minbari mind.

Maddox | They might question if *you* understand the Minbari mind, Captain, after your behavior on the Enfalli. Why did you decide to stand down and not pursue the enemy?

Martel | I felt that it was unnecessary to jeopardize the crew of the Enfalli.

Maddox | Please elaborate.

Martel | The mission objective had been achieved. The Enfalli and the Aladahi had destroyed the raiders' supply line and disabled their main base on the main moon of Callas 4. To fight to the death over twenty-five rogue fighters that had no dispatcher or command structure, nowhere to go, and Anla'shok waiting for them at every possible port seemed, frankly, a very stupid idea and not worth the lives of my crewmates.

Maddox | You were caught with your britches down.

Martel | No, I really don't think that's the right metaphor.

Maddox | But you weren't expecting those fighters.

Martel | We had bad intelligence.

(...to be continued)
Where is she getting those interviews? I wonder is she truly writes them? Perhaps she had the characters write their own interviews? /forums/images/icons/wink.gif
I have tea with the characters every Monday at noon. Didn't you know that? /forums/images/icons/tongue.gif

Do you have flarn as well? /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

Seriously channe, I am enjoying this. Rock on. /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
Whew! Why was finishing this entry so hard? Once again, this has a teensy bit of JMS dialogue from the Rangers commercials in it.

-- -- --

Maddox | You were caught with your britches down.

Martel | No, I really don't think that's the right metaphor.

Maddox | But you weren't expecting those fighters.

Martel | We had bad intelligence.

Maddox | Bad intelligence.

Martel | Yes.

Maddox | The Enfalli is a Sharlin-type cruiser, isn't it?

Martel | Yes, it is.

Maddox | Wasn't it in use during the Earth-Minbari War?

Martel | Yes.

Maddox | Ships exactly like the Enfalli - maybe the Enfalli herself - pulverized entire outposts during the Earth-Minbari War. You expect this committee to believe your fish story about being outclassed by twenty small fighters?

Martel | Twenty-six small fighters. Have you ever been the target of an angry swarm of bees, Mr. Maddox?

Maddox | Can't say as I have.

Martel | It's impossible to win. No matter how coordinated you are, there's no way you can get rid of twenty-six angry bees without getting stung until you bleed. The raiders were not just angry and ready to sting. They were sentient. The bee, you see, doesn't know where to sting you. Raiders know. We lost weapons. We lost jump engines. We lost everything. We bled.

Maddox | And it was either die or retreat.

Martel | I'm prepared to die in combat. However, I am not prepared to waste my life when I can serve the One further by choosing to live instead of to die. I believe my crew would concur.

Maddox | What about your weapons officers - Yuri MacAllister and Sarah Cantrell? MacAllister was in the VR pod and Cantrell was running the secondary array from the bridge, correct? Could they have been the cause of the problem?

Martel | Yuri and Sarah are fine officers and performed to the best of their ability on this mission. There's no reason to bring them into this.

Maddox | It's a little late for that, Captain. Cantrell is a current member of the crew of the Liandra, yes?

Martel | My senior weapons officer.

Maddox | As are Malcolm Bridges and your first officer, Dulann, who were both on the Enfalli at the time of the incident in question - as were one healer's assistant, and two engine techs you requested to be assigned to your new command. Certain members of this committee have expressed concern that you might have ulterior motives in retaining former Enfalli crewmembers on the Liandra.

Martel | I resent that implication, sir.

{{static, 4 sec}}

Maddox | How do you feel about the charges of cowardice?

Martel | I would say that's a personal question.

Maddox | Humor me, if you would.

Martel | I'm here today because I have sworn to follow Entil'zha into the maw of hell and beyond. Death may be the price. If that's the sign of a coward, so be it.

Maddox | But doesn't it affect your ability as a Ranger?

Martel | We live for the One, we die for the One. Obviously, as a Ranger, I take that very seriously.

Maddox | All right, Captain. I know this has been rough, but -

Martel | - Not quite as rough as Beta Durani 7.

Maddox | - but we appreciate your cooperation.

(2-second pause; rustling)

Maddox | Thank you, Captain.

Martel | Yes, sir.
Cool, Channe. /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

Any way to ever - in the story - add a Centuari Ranger? I've been thinking of such a character for awhile - mainly someone who joined before the Centuari-Alliance War and who stayed with the Rangers since he/she had already devoted their life to that cause, no mater what their home government did. Of course they'd have mixed feelings and people probably wouldn't trust them ... probably have to have been a special Centauri to join the Rangers anyway. I thought that would bring some interesting tensiona nd character interaction as well as come connection to some of the big events in the B5 universe at the time - the hostility between the Republic and the Alliance.

The Centauri Ranger is a very interesting idea. Let's consider it here:

The Rangers exist in Seasons 1 and 2, although they're not really introduced until Sinclair's message to Garibaldi and Delenn. And they're ONLY for Humans and Minbari until Season 5. It was stated in TLADIS that Na'feel and Tirk are the first IA recruits outside of the accepted Human-Minbari norm to be posted to a ship.

So there couldn't possibly be a way for there to be a Centauri Ranger in the works already at the time of the story. It's possible, however, to introduce such a character down the line as a recent recruit if the story allows for it - which it might. Like all Babylon 5, Redux has its question - and I've already been hinting at it. If you guess the right question, you might see where a Centauri Ranger would fit in nicely.

We'll see, is all I can say right now. I have my hands full with Martel and crew right now. And you haven't even seen Tirk, Firell, Malcolm, or Tafeek yet. There's a lot of conflict yet to be expended among the main crew - trust me. Plus, this isn't going to be five seasons long, and I still have a story to tell.

My aim is to be true to the characters and to the story. That's my ultimate goal. If I do that, it becomes more than a fiction on a fan site...
It was part of Malcolm's job description to continually be conscious of himself and the world around him. He noticed every detail, every scuff-mark on the floor, every furtive glance, every single inflection of every voice. It was his task to keep situations in control. Control was required. Control was victory, was life for the Anla'shok. Without it, chaos. Without it, defeat.

But it was only at moments like this - paused at the door of the meditation room, staring down at the small figure kneeling in front of the Triary - that he felt what it was to be at the center of an uncontrollable fire, out of control, out of his mind.

It felt like a cancer, a fluid festering in his arteries that spread from the dark place in his heart to reach the tips of his fingers and the capillaries in his eyes. He felt short of breath. Every sound, magnified, crashed in his ears like a breaking wave or the rising roar of the Liandra's engines under stress.
It's a sin - a mortal sin - to interrupt this, he thought, bringing up a hand to wipe a faint sheen of sweat from his chin. There was no way he could ever come close to this. There was his sin, his one sin, his one Big Lie.

And he watched the Minbari woman at meditation for a minute and three-quarters, every sense screaming for control.

Such peace. Such peace. Such peace.
I can't watch this, I can't -

"Firell," he said, hoarsely and softly, almost hoping he wouldn't break the healer's concentration. With the unearthly grace that only Minbari had, she turned to face him, her fingers still templed together, barely touching. "Yes, Malcolm?"

"Captain says we're to come to the bridge. You turned off your link."
I didn't get the impression they were the only non-Human / non-Minbari rangers - just possibly the only Narn and Drazi Rangers - Martell only said (IIRC) that the Narn and Drazi were the last members to join the Alliance (which kinda confuses me since I thought all the major races joined about the same time at the birth of the ISA and later added a few more - like the Emfilli and the new race we saw in the movie). In season 5 they did open the Anla'shok up to all Alliance races and (once again I forget the episode title) in episode they were talking to Delenn about the difficulties of new races in the Rangers ranks. In that same episode we saw a Pak'ma'ra initiate in Ranger training - and usually falling asleep. They decided the Pak'ma'ra would be good as a most-secret courier and infultrator since everyone pretends to not to notice the Pak'ma'ra. /forums/images/icons/grin.gif Wouldn't mind seeing what happened to him too!

I do understand though with your hands full - I thought of that when I threw out the idea ... but I wanted to suggest it since it's been bubbling at the back of my mind for awhile ... maybe if I got around to writing a Rangers fan-fic myself (I have some ideas too - and as a writer you probably understand the nearly unstoppable urges to write out the story /forums/images/icons/grin.gif) I'll toy with it ...

Okay ... enough of my babbling for now ... thanks for the story! Keep coming! Don't get burnt out like JMS probably almost did! /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
Folks, we are witnessing the Next JMS in action here! /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

Keep it up channe. Who knows, maybe if they ever do decide to do a Ranger series, they will use you as one of their script writers. /forums/images/icons/laugh.gif