A Hard Lesson

World: Babylon 5/Stargate Xover

Forseti, the Asgard in charge of the Bilskirnir-class Glitnir was astounded by the discoveries he was making in this new place.

He had been experimenting with Alternate Universes using a device the Alterans had created called a Quantum Mirror. This, however, had been a Quantum Drive. He had been waiting to see if there was an entropic cascade failure but there seemed to be none. This meant that either his people did not exist in this alternate or they were already dead.

His explorations were interrupted by something he had not been anticipating whatsoever: A strange ship had come out of what appeared to be another layer of hyperspace and had attacked.

If he hadn't of been so distracted, he would have been prepared. As it was, the offending ship had opportunity to fire and one of his people had been killed.

While this class of ship could, theoretically, be crewed by himself alone, he had four of his brethren on board assisting him.

And, although his fellow Asgard had been killed, the Asgard had been recovered quickly enough to be put into stasis in such a way that a new clone could be produced.

His ship's defenses now at full level, he almost casually broke into the computer records of this new ship before he destroyed it. Another ship that was similar had quickly departed into that previously unexplored layer of hyperspace.

He quickly perused the information from this previously unknown species before sitting back to contemplate the ramifications.

Quickly deciding on a course of action, Forseti analyzed the information and calculated exactly when the fleeing ship would reach its base and alert its fellows as to the incident.

If the Asgard had retained the emotional reactions of the race, any observer would have seen Forseti cackling with glee, a vicious smirk upon his face. As it was, only another Asgard would have recognized the emotional reactions that he was expressing.

Completing his ship's repairs, Forseti waited until the alarm showed the fleeing ship having had enough time to report and then he pushed the controls which would cause the ship to go to the home planet.

The Asgard who was responsible for the Justice delivered by and to his people felt his actions were, themselves, just.

The Sharlin-Class Trigati arrived in the home system of the Minbari Federation. He immediately sent a message to the Valen'tha regarding the unknown ship that it and its fellow cruiser had engaged.

The Nine immediately convened to discuss this unknown ship.

Suddenly, there was an alert and the very ship they were discussing was sighted in their home system. Several War Cruisers and War Frigates moved to intercept the invader. When repeated demands to halt and identify themselves were ignored, the leader of the group ordered the invader destroyed.

For four minutes, the various ships threw everything they had at the invader. When the weapons-fire ceased and the last explosions cleared, the ships involved as well as other ships witnessing this were horrified to see that the ship had received absolutely no damage.

Forseti was almost amused. He had, as chance would have it, a ZPM on board for this trip. It had been found during their explorations and he had been planning on returning it to the Asgard council. However, its existence on board meant that his shields could be sufficiently powered to withstand just about anything.

And so, when his ship was attacked, his shields just shrugged off the beams which hit his ship.

And when they stopped firing, Forseti decided to teach them a lesson. He did not want to just kill the crews of the ships he faced, and so he did something which only the Asgard could do: He beamed every alien on board of three ships to the surface of the planet at some distance from any of their cities.

None of the ships could have been aware of what he did because immediately he then sent his most powerful weapons into these three ships. The watching Minbari watched in terror as their ships were utterly destroyed.

The Nine, on board the Valen'tha, had no answers as to what to do. Suddenly, a communications specialist informed them, "Incoming transmission from the Invader!"

"Attention Minbari, this is the Asgard Mothership Glitnir, Forseti currently commanding. You have attacked this vessel without provocation. One of the leaders of our people was killed. As a result, it is decided that your entire species is guilty. I will travel to our home galaxy and return with the bulk of our fleet. Make your peace with whatever Gods you worship. In one week's time, your entire species shall cease to exist."

Having heard the report from the Trigati, the Nine sent out a reply.

"The attack on your ship was a misunderstanding! We thought you an ally to our enemies the humans as you were in the space where we expected to find them. This was a misunderstanding!"

"From what I have gleaned from the records of the ship I destroyed as well as a Human ship we encountered, the Humans killed your leader by mistake and you have sworn to kill them all in revenge. Is this not the accepted practice in this galaxy?"

The Nine were horrified but one of the ships answered, "Our war with the Humans is a holy war! They killed the best of us! We have been in space for a thousand years and they had no right!"

The reply chilled the entire watching fleet. "We have been in space for a hundreds of thousands of your years – I am thirty thousand years old myself. You have killed the best of us. You had no right. Therefore you will be destroyed."

With that, the Minbari truly understood. They had killed someone they would consider a First One. They were one of the oldest of the Newer Races, but that did not mean they were not a Newer Race. They had no chance over an enraged First One.

The Valen'tha sent the message, "Please! We would negotiate for recompense."

"According to the records I have seized, you have given the Humans no chance to negotiate, although their error was the same as yours. Therefore we shall give you no chance to negotiate. Make your peace. You have one week."

The ship they had been talking to then turned on its engines and it immediately disappeared from their space.

Forseti had no intention of committing genocide. He wanted to make a point. But he would return to the system three days later as "an advanced scout" and let them try to negotiate.

This would give them enough time to recall all of their ships and to call off their genocide against the local Earth. If they did not, he would have to come up with an alternate plan.

While he was waiting, he found a system which did not have the gates to hyperspace that he had located in the Minbari home system. He was fascinated to explore the very nature of the place he had found himself in.

Within a day, however, a strange ship had appeared. His scans showed that it had an organic base – from his scans, the ship was alive.

He was soon contacted.

It seemed he had been found by the local equivalent of the Ascended Sentients. Instead of becoming energy and moving to a higher plane, they became energy beings first – and then moved to a higher plane as a separate process. He was quite fascinated.

It took a day or so, but the negotiations were very fruitful. While the semi-ascended Vorlons were a bit upset that he was interfering with their charges, they did recognize that he was attempting to teach them a valuable lesson.

And so, for an exchange of information, including what the Vorlons had on cloning and genetic manipulation, they came to an agreement: The Vorlons would allow him to complete the lesson but expected him to just leave after, even if they did not learn.

Apparently, they had some prior knowledge of how things were supposed to be. And while this track was lost, the Vorlons felt that they could salvage somewhat of their current plan.

And so it was that one day before the Deadline, the Glitnir returned to the Minbari system but further out. The scanners the Minbari used found him and very soon a number of ships had arrived.

One of these was the Valen'tha. Surprisingly, another ship was present: The Earth Force Cruiser Hyperion. Also surprising, it was this ship that hailed him.

"This is the Earthforce Alliance Ship Hyperion, calling the Asgard Ship Glitnir.

Curious, Forseti answered, "This is the Asgard Mothership Glitnir. What do you want?"

"I, Captain John Sheridan, request Parley."

Forseti was taken by surprise again. This Human was most despised by the Minbari according to their records. "Very well. Would you like to include any Minbari witnesses?"

"I ask that the Captain of the War Cruiser Trigadi also be present."

Forseti considered that. Finally he messaged back, "Accepted. Prepare to be brought to my ship. Where is this Trigadi?"

A Minbari ship, very near the Earthforce Hyperion, messaged in, "This is Seneval, Commanding the Trigadi."

"Very well. Prepare to be brought to my ship."

Having located the two with sensors, Forseti flipped the switch and suddenly the two ships' captains were standing on his command deck. "Hello John Sheridan. Hello Warleader Sineval. You have asked for parley. What do you want?"

Sheridan was goggle-eyed. "Hey! I recognize you!"

"Where?" Forseti asked curiously.

"Pictures of your people have been part of Earth Culture for 300 years. We have records of people claiming to be experimented upon my aliens looking very similar to you." The Minbari looked between the two, surprised.

Forseti sighed. "Unfortunately, it is likely that there was one of my people who did these things. An Asgard called Loki had lost much of his morals in his research. When we found this, we deliberately took him back and ensured he did this no more. One would think an intelligent being, one of our most intelligent, would recognize the horrible nature of doing such things to those that did not volunteer. This was two of your centuries ago."

Sheridan nodded. "That matches up to the stories." He then sighed. "I am here on behalf of the Minbari to ask you to eschew the Genocide that you have planned."

Forseti looked over at the watching Minbari. "Why should I do this? Is this not what they were doing to your people?"

Sheridan nodded, though only one who recognized the Humans' emotions would see the small satisfaction this one demonstrated. "While that was true up until a few days ago, they have given up their Holy War, recognizing that the incident which precipitated it was a terrible misunderstanding. Having given us this consideration, it demonstrates that they recognize their own error was just as unfortunate and they hope to come up with a compromise."

"What compromise?"

"What do you want?" Sheridan asked.

The Asgard looked over to the Minbari who was watching. "What are your people offering?"

The Minbari gave him a respectful bow of his head. "Honored Asgard, the Nine who lead our people have authorized me to leave what demands you have to your discretion. We recognize our error and are willing to pay whatever is necessary."

If the Asgard could have, he would have rolled his eyes. "That does not answer the question."

Before the Minbari could answer, Sheridan interrupted. "I would ask for a cancellation of debts to be the price."

Forseti looked at Sheridan. "Explain."

Sheridan looked at the Asgard. "You admitted to me that, in the past, one of your people kidnapped many of ours and experimented on them, contravening the basic morality of your people."

"That is true. He was punished."

Sheridan gave a small grin. "But that does not recompense our people for the pain and suffering they endured. This illegal experimentation produced a debt."

Forseti pause. "Interesting. Continue."

"Now, we owe a debt to the Minbari for unintentionally killing their leader, Duhkat. And the Minbari owe you a debt for their killing of one of yours. My I propose that the debt Humans owe the Minbari, and the debt the Minbari owe the Asgard, and the debt the Asgard owe the Humans all be considered paid in recognition that no debt was truly the action or intent of the majority of any of the races involved."

Forseti considered that. "Very interesting." He stood there and considered that. The Human had brought up something he had not considered: There was a debt owed the Humans because of Loki's depredations.

The only problem he had was that he had not really been intending to wipe out the Minbari and so, perhaps, Loki's debt could not be called paid. Then again, this was likely the local version of the Asgard who had likely passed away. Could that debt be considered owed by his own people?

Finally Forseti answered, "This is acceptable – as long as another matter can be resolved at the same time."

Sheridan was curious, "What matter?"

"While your people evolved on your Earth, some of your people also carry the genes of a race called the Alterans. Do you know of the Alterans?"

The Minbari, who was a scholor before the war, said, "We have heard of the Alterans! They were a race that was old before we came to space."

Forseti replied, "Yes. They were there when we evolved into a space-faring race. They assisted us. And while not all of the Humans carry this genetic material, several do. You do," he said to Sheridan. Forseti had determined this when he scanned Sheridan to ensure no pathogens had come with him. "Some of your people's ancestors were an ancient race who traveled the stars on legs of fire before many other races even looked up to see what was beyond their skies. We own that debt as well."

He moved to his computer and put a crystal in a receptor. He transferred some information and then repeated this to another crystal.

He brought these two over to the visitors. "Contained within this crystal, which will work in the storage systems you use, is the information on how to create shields which will prevent energy attacks from working. Also, John Sheridan of Earth, your crystal includes information on creating gravity on a ship. It will take much study by your people, but you will eventually have artificial gravity. I took from other Cruiser that attacked us the information on the Minbari crystal technology."

He looked at the two, one after the other. "With this information, all debts between our peoples are now paid. Agreed?"

Sheridan held the crystal tightly in his hand. This was far more than he was expecting. He was not going to screw this up. "Agreed."

Senoval also held his crystal tightly. If the old stories were right and the Dark ones were returning, shields would be a great boon. "Agreed."

Forseti nodded. "I recommend your people work closely together. It is time to create peace – because there is war coming. There is always war coming. Your ancestors, John Sheridan, were excellent at creating cooperation. I hope your people retain this ability. It will be needed."

Sheridan nodded. "I hope so to. I will inform my leaders of your message when I return to Earth."

Forseti nodded. "Goodbye, Sheridan of Earth and Senoval of Minbar. Do not expect to see the Asgard again. But if you do, know that we are not hostile." With that, he used his transports to return them to their ships.

The Hyperion and the Minbari ships present watched as the Glitnir rippled out as though a mirage in a desert. They had activated the drive to return them to their own quantum reality.