Garibaldi experiences an alien encounter chillingly similar to what he went through years ago on Mars, when he first met former Babylon 5 commander Jeffrey Sinclair.
[singlepic=65,200,,,left] Shadows Past and Present: Against the Odds
Issue 6 (July 1995)
Setting: Before “The Coming of Shadows”
Writer: Tim DeHaas Premise: J. Michael Straczynski Penciller: John Ridgway Inker: C-S. Hampton
Garibaldi and Keffer climb out of the crashed ship and leave quickly, in case their attacker comes looking for them. Garibaldi makes certain to set the ship to self-destruct. As they walk away, Garibaldi mentions that he’s seen a ship like the attacker’s before. Years ago, on Mars…
Two young officers, Foster and Sanchez, waited for Lt. Commander Sinclair and Garibaldi in the Mars spaceport. Garibaldi turned out to be unconscious in the passenger compartment of his ship; Sinclair woke him and tossed him to Foster and Sanchez to sober up. “Earthforce may have given me this make-work mission to keep me out of the way,” Sinclair said, “but by God, I will accomplish it.”
Much later, Garibaldi flew Sinclair and the two others over the surface of Mars, searching for something. Garibaldi notes that Sinclair wasn’t what he expected — after what he’d heard about Sinclair being a hero of the Battle of the Line, he hadn’t expected someone stiffer than a corpse. Sinclair refused to tell Garibaldi what they were looking for, and even filed fake flight plans so nobody else would know where they were.
On the fifth day of searching, the ship’s navigational systems and inertial dampers suddenly went offline. Garibaldi managed to crashland the ship, wrecking it, without killing everyone — but Sanchez’ leg was broken, and Foster didn’t survive. Sanchez clearly blamed Garibaldi.
Sinclair and Garibaldi went to get help, a fifty-mile trek across the surface. They weren’t far when Sanchez linked in to report that all the ship’s systems had suddenly started working again — evidence that Garibaldi wasn’t at fault after all. Sanchez picked up a dust storm on the ship’s scanners; Sinclair and Garibaldi sought cover.
Keffer and Garibaldi reach the top of a large rock formation overlooking the crash site. From that high vantage point, Keffer can see what looks like a small Centauri settlement in the distance. But Garibaldi’s attention is elsewhere: the Shadow ship has landed next to the crash site, and humanoid
figures have emerged, examining what little remains of the wreckage. “Did you see something like that on Mars?” Keffer asks, staring down at the Shadow ship. “That and more,” Garibaldi answers, face full of fear. He says there’s no hope of a rescue, because he didn’t tell anyone where he was going.
On the ground, the remains of the crashed ship suddenly vanish without a trace, as does the impact ditch. “They’re getting rid of the evidence,” Garibaldi says. “They don’t want anyone to know they were here.”
The figures seem to decide that someone survived the crash, and head purposefully toward the rock formation. “Let’s get the hell out of here!” says Garibaldi as he and Keffer scramble down the other side of the formation.
• Earthforce used to give Sinclair busywork missions to keep him out of the way, suggesting he was something of a troublemaker.
• Garibaldi has seen a Shadow ship, if only a small one, on Mars.
• Who are the beings on the Shadow ship?
• What was Sinclair supposed to be searching for?
• What else did Garibaldi see on Mars?
• What caused Garibaldi’s ship to malfunction years ago?
• Does whatever Garibaldi saw mean that the Shadows have been active for many years? (See also episode “In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum”)
• If Sinclair and Gariabldi found a Shadow ship on Mars, and especially if they were able to destroy it somehow, that might explain why the Shadows haven’t attacked any human ships in the series so far (as of “Knives.”)
• Of course, there’s no evidence that Garibaldi saw a functioning Shadow ship on Mars; maybe he and Sinclair found an ancient crash site, the occupants long since dead or vanished — which would have given Garibaldi the opportunity to explore inside. That may even have been what Sinclair was sent to look for.
• Keffer has also seen a Shadow ship before, in “A Distant Star,” though it was a large cruiser rather than the smaller variety in this story.
- Issues 6-9 of the B5 comic from DC will focus on how Sinclair and Garibaldi met and formed their friendship.
(This is based on a premise from me, so it’s canon.)