The Babylon Project

Syria Planum Incident

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Mars Dig 02

Dr. Kirkish and her IPX crew excavate a Shadow Vessel on Syria Planum.

"Only a handful of people know what happened after that, including me. All the others are either dead or missing.
Once I leave here, sooner or later they'll find me and I'll disappear. Before that happens, someone has to know. Someone has to stop them before it's too late."

Dr. Mary Kirkish, March 18th, 2260

The Syria Planum Incident covers the events of March 2253 which begin with the excavation of a Shadow Vessel on Syria Planum by IPX and involved the crash landing of Jeffrey Sinclair and Michael Garibaldi near that site.

Before the IncidentEdit

Mars Dig 01

Dr. Kirkish oversees the excavation

Following years of rumours and false leads on alien artefacts out on Syria Planum, Mars an IPX team lead by Dr. Mary Kirkish were shocked when a sonic probe finally turned up something: a Shadow Vessel buried in the Martian soil, three hundred feet beneath the surface. As soon During the excavation, one of the workers touched the ship with his bare hands while clearing away some soil and is killed instantly as if the life was sucked right out of him. After several weeks of excavation the IPX crew was only able to uncover only half of the craft, but even that was enough to give Kirkish nightmares for the rest of her life.[1]


The DigEdit

A week after notifying Earth Central of the find, Kirkish and her IPX archological team were ordered to halt their excavation and to fall back to their secondary base and wait. They reluctantly complied under the threat of dissmissal and could only watch while unmarked shuttles started moving in and out of the area. Unknown to them, Psi Corps Department Sigma telepaths were hurriedly wiped the memory of the dig from the excavation crews and sent them away as if nothing had happened.[1]

Unknown to Kirkish's team, as soon as the craft had been exposed to daylight, an automatic beacon on board had sent out a coded transmission. Knowing that whoever the ship belonged to would be coming back to retrieve it, Department Sigma worked quickly over the next six days to establish a base of operations at the dig site and Earthforce New Technologies sent in specialists to study the find, including a Dr. Morden.[2] After setting up a comms jamming signal to blanket the area, they set about taking samples were taken from the ship and planted a homing beacon. At the same time a group of telepaths including Talia Winters were brought in as live subjects for a series of medical experiments at an on-site lab. At some point, one of Sigma's people, McDwyer touched the ship and is driven insane and escapes.[3]

Human-Alien Collusion Edit

Mars Dig 04

A second Shadow Vessel arrives at the Syria Planum dig site.

Jeffrey Sinclair was sent to Mars by Earthforce to investigate reports of human-alien collusion. After the initial attempts disappeared, Sinclair opted to circumvent normal Earthforce protocol and hired Michael Garibaldi, an ex-military civilian pilot to fly the reconnaissance missions with his private charter shuttle. After filing false flight plans, they set out with officers Sanchez and Foster.[4][5]

After nearly five days of fruitless searching, Garibaldi's shuttle inexplicably malfunctioned and crashed out on Syria Planum, killing Foster  on impact and leaving Sanchez with a broken leg. With the nearest settlement some 50 miles out and no way to send for help, Sinclair and Garibaldi were forced to leave Sanchez in the shuttle with five days worth of provisions and air while they head out on foot.[6]

The second Shadow Vessel arrivesEdit

Mars Dig 06

The two Shadow Vessels leave Mars and head for Z'ha'dum.

Still observing from the secondary base two miles from the dig, Dr. Kirkish looks on as a second Shadow Vessel arrived, having responding to the first's beacon, and set about digging it the rest of the way out with it's beam weapon.[1]

After spending a night in a cave talking shelter from a dust storm and surviving a cave-in, Sinclair and Garibaldi stumbled across the dig site just in time so witness the second Shadow Vessel begin to dig the first one out. The pair manage to infiltrate the base and witness the human test subjects. After Garibaldi set off an explosion at the lab, the pair hijack a crawler and make their escape, heading back to Sanchez at the crash site.[7]

Shortly afterward, the second vessel finished diging out the first and lowers itself into the pit. For 20 to 25 minutes nothing happens until suddenly the first ship comes alive with a mindscream that can be heard two miles away by Kirkish, who is still looking on. The two ships depart and head for Z'ha'dum with the homing beacon still aboard.[1][8] The beacon is eventually tracked to an uncharted planet out on the rim, designated by IPX as Alpha Omega III.[2]



Garibaldi's only proof of what they saw.

The former dig site is struck with all traces removed. Kirkish and her colleagues are warned of unfortunate consequences should they ever disclose what they've seen. The team is broken up and assigned to other worlds so they won't have a chance to even talk to each other.[1]

Sinclair and Garibaldi were half way back to Sanchez and the shuttle crash site when the comms jamming was taken down down. With the comm unit on the crawler working again they call in Earthforce for reinforcements. After picking up Sanchez, they meet an EF shuttle and head back to the excavation site. Upon arriving they found no trace or evidence of anything they witnessed and a further search by Earthforce turned up nothing. Garibaldi however does find a single scorched Psi Corps badge in the sand. Without any other evidence to back up their story, Michael kept the badge to himself and they both quietly drop the matter, hoping to find more evidence or other witnesses down the line.[7][1]

Talia Silent Enemies

Talia Winters after the Syria Planum incident.

Having survived the blast, Talia Winters was taken to the medical facilities at the Psi Corps Center on Syria Planum. After her mind was wiped she was transferred to the Bureau 13 sleeper program  where the Control personality would be implanted in her mind.[7][9]

At some point during the incident, Psi Cop Alfred Bester and his intern Ysidra Tapia were at a train platform elsewhere on Mars when they encountered Endra Nadja, one of the excavation workers. After seeing the Psi Cops she attacks and wounds Tapia. Bester then discovered Sigma's sloppy memory wipe as the subconscious source of Endra's attack and glimpses at a partial memory of her work at Syria Planum and the psi imprint of the Shadow Vessel.[3]


Ganymede 2

Another ship is found on Ganymede

The events at Syria Planum would have far reaching consequences. Foremost among them being the subsequent Icarus mission, sent to Alpha Omega III some three years later to investigate the destination of the mysterious ships.[2] The incident also leads to a lasting friendship between Jeffrey Sinclair and Michael Garibaldi that leads to Sinclair offering Garibaldi the job of Chief of Security on Babylon 5 in 2256.[10][11] Garibaldi does eventually tracks down another witness to the events and in 2260 has his contacts in the Anla'Shok smuggle Dr. Kirkish, now a fugitive, from Mars to Babylon 5 before sending her on into safety in Minbari space.

Her confirmation of his story and the news that another ship has been found, this time on Ganymede would lead Sheridan to engage and destroy the ship at Jupiter.[12] That attack, painted by ISN as an alien incursion into the Sol System, gave Earthgov a pretext to tighten security throughout the Alliance and declare martial law, precipitating the bombing of Mars, the succession of Orion VII, Proxima III and Babylon 5 and the outbreak of the Earth Alliance Civil War.[13][14]

Even this brief exposure to Shadow Technology allowed the Earthforce Bio-weapons Division to adapt the technology for their own uses. Foremost among them the building of partly organic based ships such as the temperamental, but lethal Shadow Hybrid that destroyed the EAS Cerberus in 2259 and the Advanced Omega class destroyer group that faced off against a fleet of White Stars in the last days of the Earth Alliance Civil War.[15][16][17][18][19] In addition, some unknown form of Shadow Tech was hidden deep within the systems of the new Warlock class destroyers.[20]

Even with the fall of the Clark regime and the disillusion of the Psi Corps following the Telepath War, it did little to stop the clandestine activities of those intent of using and developing technology with secret bases actively experimenting with left-over Shadow tech - including on live Human subjects - well into 2267.[21]

Known WitnessesEdit

Psi Corps


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