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Beyond the Light
Episode II
(S:AAB/Babylon 5/X-files/Transformers)
by Weiwen

It was Earth. You couldn't mistake the smell.

Every planet that they had landed on, every single planet which they
had fought on, crashed on, almost died on... every single one of them
had had a SMELL. Whiff of ammonia here, sulphur there, and God knows
what other things had been out there. Every one of them different and
unique.

This one smelled like Earth. No, scratch that. This *was* Earth. For
one thing, the Moon - THE Moon - was directly above her, shining
gloriously. The same moon she had often watched from her room as a
child, before... Tears sprang into her eyes as a wave of homesickness
swept through her. It was just one in a series of a million emotions
that had been playing havoc in her mind for the last five minutes.

You see, Captain Shane Vansen was supposed to be dead.

Pity, thought Shane, that she'd never really asked Wang about the
afterlife. She always dreamed that there'd be a tunnel, a light... and
her parents at the end, waiting for her with open arms, telling her
how much they had missed her, and how glad they were that they were
finally together.

Maybe that would come along, soon. But for the moment, she, 'Phousse
and the cockpit of an ISSPAC were in the middle of what looked
suspiciously like a small clearing in the middle of a corn field. A
really big cornfield... all she could see were the tall stalks of corn
that surrounded them on all sides, swaying and rustling in the night
wind.

Shane was lying on the damp grass, had been doing so for the past five
minutes, breathing in the clear Earth air, listening to the rustling
of the fields, while her mind tried to grapple with the screwball that
the Universe had thrown to her. Five minutes ago, she had been trapped
in the cockpit of an ISSPAC, with little air, no maneuverability and
nothing to stop them plummeting down to god-knows what planet it was
beneath them. She had watched as the last of the 58th tried to snatch
the rescued colonists to safety, said her last good-byes to West,
knowing full well that those words would be her last. She had kept her
eyes opened, watched as she and Damphousse hit the atmosphere, felt
the cockpit temperature shoot up almost immediately. She had moaned in
fear, knowing that they were burning up...

Then there had been a sudden flash of light, like a flare going off,
except a thousand times brighter... she had been blinded, had started
screaming, to Hawkes, to her parents, to God...

And then everything had stopped. The stomach-wrenching fall, the
unbearable heat, even the sound of her screaming... as if the Universe
was holding it's breath, quiet and afraid of what might happen next.

Shane had opened her eyes, and could not believe it. She knew she had
to be dead, and yet she wasn't. Wasn't anywhere near dead... she
remembered dimly having popped the hatched, and had tumbled out of her
seat, her body shaking with adrenaline. She missed her footing while
getting out, and had fallen unceremoniuosly onto her back. Resting on
the grass, she wondered if it was a dream, a last minute hallucination
her mind was conjuring up to prevent her from going mad... that in
reality she was burning up and plummeting to her death in a tiny
cockpit over a god-forsaken world, and her mind just couldn't handle
it.

Cockpit. Burning. Heaven. Earth. Moon. Tunnel. No tunnel. Cornfield?
Shane groaned and covered her eyes with her palms. Five minutes later
and she still was no closer to the truth. And wondered if she'd go mad
with possibilities before the truth made itself known...

A voice came out of nowhere to interrupt her thoughts.

"Get up, Lady. Slowly"

There was now a man standing over her, and he was holding a gun, and
all Shane could think of was "This is embarrassing." So preoccupied
was she that she didn't even hear this guy sneak up on her, over the
rustling of the corn...

A second unfamiliar voice called out somewhere behind Shane. "There's
another one here! Young black female... looks like she's
unconscious..."

Shane tilted her head up and around, saw a petite red-head female
standing by the cockpit, examining 'Phousse. "Damn," she thought, "two
of them, and I didn't hear either of them..." The thought that they
could be angels popped into her mind.

The man was repeating his words, and Shane moved to comply, slowly,
taking in every inch of her captor.He didn't look like any angel she'd
ever seen - he was wearing a trenchcoat, a suit underneath. Dark hair,
sad droopy eyes, thin, frowning lips on a strong-jawed face...

Shane's eyes widened in recognition, then cycled through fear and
loathing. "Alvin..." she hissed softly.

The man raised an eyebrow in surprise, not quite catching her words,
but recognizing the tone. "What...?"

"Damn Silicate..." Shane was spitting out the words, but something in
the back of her mind tickled her. His eyes were normal - no
crosshairs... and he was quiet, too quiet...

The red-head was done with 'Phousse, and was walking over to her
partner. Shane moved slightly, turning, so that she could see the
second intruder out the corner of her eyes. Not very tall. Dressed
like the male, except slightly better. Red hair, green eyes, a rather
attractive face.  The two exchanged glances and the look on the
woman's face was clear in its meaning; she probably thought Shane was
delusional, spouting gibberish. The man didn't seem bothered.

"Well lady, would you like to explain what you're doing in the middle
of a cornfield, with that...thing there, and an unconscious
passenger?"

Shane did the only thing she could do when captured by persons
unknown.

"My name Shane Autumn Vansen, Captain. My USMC serial number is
560-51-03318."

The red-head arched an eyebrow. "A Marine?"

The male kept his gun on her, but reached with his other hand to pull
out a slim black wallet from his inner coat pocket. He flipped it open
with practiced ease and revealed a very official-looking ID.

It was Shane's turn to raise an eyebrow. Then she laughed at the
absurdity of it all, and couldn't stop laughing. By right, she should
be dead, burnt and smashed into charred pulp. Instead, she was
standing in the middle of a cornfield on Earth ( or Heaven ), with two

Silicates/Angels/comedians pretending to be... get this!... F.B.I.

The red-head obviously didn't see the humor in the situation. "Look
lady, your friend there isn't in great shape. You either tell us what
you're doing here, miles away from the nearest military base, or we'll
place you under arrest with accordance with federal law..."

Shane raised a hand to stop her, while trying to stifle her laughter.
"Look, let's not screw around... the damn FBI was dissolved in the
early 2010s, so if you two want to play cops and robbers, you could at
least pick something more recent!"

"What did you say?" The man's tone was suddenly full of excitement.

"I said that the FBI haven't been around since 2010..."

The red-head was rolling her eyes in obvious disbelief. The man, on
the other hand,  was almost jumping in excitement. He holstered his
gun, then moved towards her. "Lady, do you know what year this is?"

The tone in his voice made Shane took a step back, as an eerie thought
began forming at the back of her mind.

"Lady... what year is it? What year do you THINK it is?" The man was
now grabbing her by the shoulders, as if trying to shake the answer
out of her.

Shane shook off his hands, and blurted out the answer..."2064!"

"My God..." The man stopped in his tracks, and stood there, just
watching her. The eerie thought that was in Vansen's mind now decided
to drop into her stomach with a splash. Something was wrong, very
wrong...

The red-head, however, was unimpressed with what had just transpired.

She walked up to her partner, and whispered fiercely in his ear.
"C'mon, Mulder, she's just laying you on. Why don't we just toss them
into the car, and..."

The man named Mulder pointedly ignored her. Instead, he looked
straight into Vansen's eyes, and said, very slowly.

"Look, Captain Shane Autumn Vansen...my name is Fox Mulder, and this
is my partner Dana Scully. Believe me, we really ARE from the FBI... I
don't know how, or why, but the year is 1998... you have traveled
almost 65 years into the past..."

Copyright Weiwen 1998

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