Crusade

Children's Crusade

(1212) Religious movement in Europe in which thousands, including many children and young people, set out to take the Holy Land from the Muslims by love instead of by force. The events of the Crusade are disputed. According to one version, only partially accurate, the first group of approximately 30,000 was led by a French shepherd boy, Stephen of Cloyes, who had a vision of Jesus and received a letter from him. Stephen led the Crusade to Paris and delivered the letter to King Philip II Augustus, who dispersed the Crusaders. A German boy led the second group across the Alps; a few survived to reach Rome, where Innocent III released them from their vows. Contemporary accounts describing horrible fates of the participants should be treated cautiously because they were written by those hostile to the movement. Though the movement ended without reaching the Holy Land, it excited religious fervour that helped initiate the Fifth Crusade (1217–21).

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The IAS Excalibur is a starship in the fictional Babylon 5 / Crusade universe. First seen in the Babylon 5 movie A Call to Arms, the ship is a Victory class destroyer. The ship combines human, Minbari, and Vorlon technology.

The Excalibur is one of two prototype ships built by the Interstellar Alliance. The other ship was the Victory. The two ships were intended to be the first in a fleet of Victory class heavy destroyer vessels.

Technical specifications

The Excalibur was enormous in size, almost 3000 metres (2990) in length and was one of the first ships built by Earth to use artificial gravity technology provided by the Minbari. The gravity field provides workable gravity just under that found on Earth. A human would weigh slightly less on the ship than they would on Earth.

Excalibur features energy and particle beam weapons. The forward guns operate at two main power levels. Level One provides beams with slightly more strength than a standard White Star. The Level Two energy weapon was copied from Vorlon technology and not fully understood. The discharge originates from three emitters mounted on large "fin" structures at the ship's stern; the beams converge just forward of the bow into a single ravening blast that can destroy nearly anything in its path. Firing this titanic weapon drains all the ship's power and the "Excalibur" is unable to maneuver, fire weapons or use long-range scanners for approximately one minute afterward.

History

The first commander of the Excalibur was President John Sheridan. Along with Captain Leonard Anderson, who commanded the Victory, the two ships were instrumental in discovering Drakh plans to destroy Earth with the Shadow Planet Killer left behind by the Shadows when they left the galaxy. Captain Elizabeth Lochley of Babylon 5 was able to convince Earth's government to mobilize a large fleet to protect Earth, Excalibur and Victory were able to join this fleet. Sheridan and Anderson were able to destroy the planet killer, however Victory was destroyed in the process. Destroying the planet killer distracted the fleet, and the Drakh were able to get close enough to seed Earth's atmosphere with a plague. On their withdrawal, the Drakh destroyed the construction dock - which prevented any further Victory type ships from being built in the near future.

The Interstellar Alliance turned the Excalibur into a research ship, loaning it to Earthforce in the process. Commissioned as EAS Excalibur, Captain Matthew Gideon took command of the ship, and with his crew set out to find a cure to the plague before the plague activated five years later. The beginning of this quest to discover a cure was shown on the Crusade television series. However, only 13 episodes were shown - creative differences between the series creator and the TNT network led to the show being cancelled. The Sci-Fi channel had expressed interest in continuing the show, but did not have the budget to do so.

At some point within the next five years, the Excalibur succeeded in finding a cure, and was able to destroy the plague. The ship's future has not been documented. It remains to be seen if the ship will make any future television or movie appearances.

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