In this final episode of the Babylon Project Podcast, we discussed the second three of six short stories from the Babylon 5 universe: “Hidden Agendas”; “True Seeker”; and “The Nautilus Coil”. As with the previous episode, this one was particularly special because we were joined by our Producer, Troy Rutter to help us wrap things up.
First, we discussed “Hidden Agendas”. Written by J. Michael Straczynski, it was published in the official Babylon 5 Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 22 (in May 2000). The story takes place on 21-22 January 2262, very shortly after Captain Lockley assumes command of B5 and just a few days after Byron arrives on the station. As a reminder, during Episode 4 (“Rising Star”) in Season 5, Susan Ivanova’s absence from the series was explained by stating she was given command of one of the first Warlock class destroyers. This story builds on that.
Susan Ivanova, in command of EAS Titans, arrives at Babylon 5 with this new Warlock class destroyer to meet with President Sheridan. She’s there to quietly ask for help to determine if there might be dormant Shadow technology integrated into her ship. After more traditional searches turn up nothing, Sheridan (with a part of Kosh inside of him) is able to board and take Ulkesh’s ship and use it to determine there is in fact Shadow technology onboard, at which point he permanently deactivates the technology. This secretly leaves the fleet with at least one new Warlock class destroyer that isn’t able to be influenced by the Shadows.
Your hosts all agreed the story was worth a thumbs-up from each.
Next, we reviewed “True Seeker”, written by Fiona Avery.
Occurring in 2269, this story happens just two years after the series Crusade ends. It was published in B5 Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 23 (in July 2000), two months after Hidden Agendas. Alisa Beldon, the main character in this story, was also a character in the original B5 series, Season 1, Episode 17 (Legacies). She was a P10 telepath that Talia Winters tired to recruit into the Psi Corps while Susan Ivanova was working to prevent it. Delenn steps in and offers her the opportunity to go to Minbar and train to become a True Seeker.
Alisa finds Jerrica Thomas, a Narn girl living on Earth after being evacuated from her home during the Narn-Centauri War. Alisa vows to help Jerrica find her true heritage and takes her to Na’Toth to keep safe while she seeks Jerrica’s birth records. She discovers Jerrica was actually named G’Ryka and is the daughter of G’Kar! While there, G’Kar returns to Narn after an extended absence to resolve a dispute about who should fill his long-vacant seat in the First Circle of the Kia’Ri. With Jerrica (G’Ryka) present, G’Kar endorses and insists that his daughter take his seat, then departs to continue his journey.
Your hosts were split on this story. Jim and JP gave it a thumbs-up, while Raul and Troy gave it a thumbs-down.
“The Nautilus Coil” was the third and final story we reviewed. Written by Gregory Keyes, the events in this story occurred in 2265, in between the end of the original B5 series and the start of Crusade. This was the same year the movie “Legend of the Rangers” took place in. This story also appeared in the B5 Magazine, in Volume 2, Issue 24 (in August 2000).
Lyta Alexander calls Michael Garibaldi to her base on Ganymede to share a secret she’s found. As you’ll recall, these two characters aren’t exactly friends. They don’t trust each other but maintain what could be described as a cool-but-correct relationship over the years. Michael wants Lyta to remove the block Mr. Bester put on him so many years ago, preventing him from taking revenge on Bester. In exchange for his help, she agrees to remove the block.
The secret Lyta reveals to Michael is a secret archive under the ice that reveals the location of a planet in Vorlon space where the telepaths were created/invented. Their goal: find that secret before the Psi Cops do. They fly to the planet and find a lake with its beaches covered in the scattered of humans and other species. They meet a very old Keven Vacit (from the Psi Corps Trilogy) who came to the planet and was preserved by the Vorlons over many years. He explains how the telepaths were created, and explains that the skeletons are the remains of those who the Vorlons attempted to make telepaths, but didn’t work. They were killed so as not to allow them to fall into the Shadow’s hands. He also reveals that he knew the Shadows were coming and was there to attempt to enhance his own abilities to ensure Psi Corps was ready to aid in the fight. In the end, Vacit explains Psi Corps is still growing and expanding, much like the growing and expanding coils of the Nautilus. The story ends when he flies Lyta and Michael to Mars.
Your hosts gave this story four thumbs-up, ending our readings of the B5 short stories on a positive note.
As we wrap the Babylon Project Podcast up, we’d like to share an interesting stat with you. It all began when Jim and Raul hijacked an episode of the SciFi Diner Podcast many years ago to talk about B5. From there the Babylon Project Podcast was born. We set out in an attempt to cover every episode of the original five-season series, the follow-on series Crusade, five B5 movies, nine stand-alone novels, the nine novels that made up three trilogies, six short stories covered in two special episodes, giving us 148 episodes of heartfelt conversations about a series we truly love. Whether you joined us for one, all 148, or some number in between, we’re thankful we may have been able to add some interesting and useful commentary to your own B5 experience.
Make sure you listen to the very end for some funny moments over the last 8 years.
Keep an ear open! Even though the Babylon Project Podcast is complete, we’re beginning a new endeavor, covering a piece of the Sci-Fi world that to our knowledge has never been covered before! We genuinely hope you’ll join us.
You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes. You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you.