A disclaimer- Babylon 5 and all names and events associated with it do not belong to me, and I seek no profit from this story

The Dilgar War



Steel slid apart from the doorway opening the way to the corridor beyond. The broad figure stepped through to the snapped salutes of guards which he acknowledged as honour demanded, then continued on his way down between the grey walls and plain recycled air.

On his journey he had time to reflect on the nature of life and duty, and he came to a simple conclusion; war was the natural state of the galaxy. At one time or another someone somewhere was trying to kill someone else. It was the way of things, the violence of life and the one constant across any civilization, the need to kill others. He found it comforting that he was not alone in his wish to annihilate his enemies.

While small wars were constant sometimes there would be a war of huge proportions, one which affected everyone and changed the very nature of the galaxy and its civilizations, two weeks ago one such war had started and today this great warrior would learn the secrets of victory. He stepped through another door into a chamber and was greeted by two more guards.

"I have come to speak with the prisoner." He intoned with sharp and precise tones.

"Sir, we were not informed of your arrival." The leading guard says. "The prisoner may only be seen if…"

"I have no need to explain myself to lower ranked warriors." He interrupted with a sneer. "Open the door, then switch off all monitoring equipment and leave."

The guards looked at each other and shared an awkward moment of indecision, but then with a quick nod and salute decided the orders were clear and legitimate and deactivated the security systems and headed for the door.

"When should we return sir?" the leader asked before finally departing.

"I shall call upon you, until then I am not to be disturbed."

With a last nod of acknowledgement the guards left, and the officer was sealed alone in the chamber, his gaze fixed on the strong door ahead. Bizarrely the air seemed to grow colder, if he concentrated he could swear he saw his exhaled breath mist before his eyes for a brief moment, but with a snort dismissed such irrelevancies, he was here with a mission and the goal of which sat beyond the door. With quick deliberate strides he stepped up to the portal and opened it.

"Do the Minbari not knock anymore?" a female voice said from within the room in perfect warrior caste dialect.

"I do not need to announce myself to anyone." The strongly build warrior stated. "You have stayed at our expense for a long time, now you will give something back."

"I see the legendary hospitality of the warrior caste is as vibrant as ever." The female said. "You want to know about humans."

The warrior shifted his stance. "How did you know that?" he growled.

"I have my means." She purred. "The humans have attacked you, killed the great leader Dukhat, and now you are at war."

The woman stepped out into the open, her quarters were spacious extending for seven separate rooms in this secret facility hidden amongst the outer colonies of Minbar. She occupied a blurry twilight between being considered a guest and a prisoner, while not restricted by her hosts she could never show her face in public ever again and as such remained in her quarters under guard.

"Alyt Neroon, I thought I recognised the voice." She smiled, it did not look in the least warm.

"You fought the humans before, and I want to know your insights." Neroon said calmly.

"I was under the impression that the warrior caste was dismissive of humans, that Victory was merely two or three months away?" she continued to smile at Neroon.

"They are unimpressive." Neroon agreed. "Their ships are slow, they cannot hit us even up close and our weapons cleave their ships like a sword cuts water."

"How very grand for you." The woman said with amusement. She took a bottle from a low table and poured herself a drink, the whiff of alcohol coming from the concoction revolted Neroon, deep down he felt it was supposed to, that she was mocking him.

"Let me tell you a secret," she said as she sprawled on a long couch. "This war will last longer than three months, the humans are unlike any enemy you have fought before, even in the face of hopelessness they will not give up. Come," she gestured at a chair, "sit."

Neroon moved slowly to the chair, taking in the room around him as he settled down. It was plain, the same colour as the hallways out side with little in the way of decoration or personality. Books, scrolls and data crystals were stacked or gathered liberally throughout the quarters and wall mounted display screens were surrounded by hand written notes, the scribblings of the occupant. The only thing which really drew his attention was a picture hanging on the wall opposite the display screens, an orbital image of a green and blue planet. The woman noticed his gaze.

"Omelos." She named the world wistfully. "My home, long since gone but still close to my heart."

"You have a heart?" Neroon said coldly.

She shot him a hard stare. "Do not insult me warrior." She snarled. "I loved my world and my people, that love was so great it outweighed all other concerns, even genocide was nothing next to ensuring my people survived! When your back is to the wall you fight with any means at your disposal, as you will see when you press the humans."

"We will burn there worlds and annihilate their fleets." Neroon gave a predators stare to the woman. "When we are done the name Human will be known only to scholars of history."

"Like the name Dilgar?" she asked. With a sigh she took a sip of the drink, leaving the room in silence until she lowered the glass and regarded the warrior again "If you are so confident of victory why are you here?"

"I am a true warrior." Neroon said. "And a true warrior knows his enemy, whoever that may be. We have some intelligence from the Centauri, if that is not a contradiction in terms, but in my experience to truly know an opponent one must fight them."

"So this is why you are here? I was right." She grinned. "The great hope of the Star riders clan wants my help." She snickered.

"Great hope?" Neroon frowned. "What are you talking about?"

"I know ambition when I see it." She replied. "You wish to learn human tactics and strategies from me, then deliver great victories with that knowledge, to increase your glory and prestige in the warrior caste and rise up through the ranks." She leaned back and giggled a little. "Setai Neroon does have quite a ring to it."

"I want to know how they fight." He ignored her last comments. "I want to know how they defeated your people with inferior weapons, the tactics they used and the vigour with which they fought."

"All of that is irrelevant." She said bluntly. "How they fight is not nearly as important as why they fight. They did not beat us though superior weapons or tactics, although they exhibited great cunning, they were effective fighters because they were fighting for a noble cause."

"What cause was that?"

"To defeat evil." She answered. "to stop the genocide and save the league, to drive back the Dilgar and end our murderous ways." She scoffed and took another drink. "And now they fight for their own survival. They will make you bleed."

"If I wanted your opinion I would give it to you." Neroon snapped. "What I want are facts. I do not know exactly what arrangement you have with the clan elders which keeps you here, but I can have you on a ship for league space in half an hour if you do not cooperate."

"Such fragile pride." She sighed. "I will help you with your quest for power Alyt Neroon, and I ask you to remember my help because there is a price, a favour for the future." She smiled widely. "Besides, its been a while since I told my story to another, I rather look forward to it."

Neroon remained in his chair, it seemed he would have to endure her posing and hot air to get the information he needed, it was however a small sacrifice. "Very well, where shall we start?"

"Right at the beginning." She answered. "You want to know how the humans won the Dilgar war, then you must understand everything about that time. Can I offer you a drink?"

He sneered at the offer, to which she smiled mischievously.

Replacing the glass Jha'dur, Deathwalker, last survivor of the Dilgar race began to weave her tale…

It all really started twenty five years ago on Omelos, everything was different then, even me…

Omelos, homeworld of the Dilgar Imperium.

Jha'dur examined the small furry creatures, they looked most unremarkable to her but the Vree trader said they were among the most resilient and adaptive creatures in the galaxy. She regarded them running around the glass case and was decidedly unimpressed, but ultimately the tests would show the truth, and these 'rats' as the trader called them would prove an unusual new subject.

She switched on the monitoring equipment, the Omelos academy of sciences was extremely well provided for and as the academy's best student of Xenobiology Jha'dur had free reign to use whatever resources she needed. As the screens blinked into life she went to the dryo freezer and remover her latest serum, a new formula designed to reduce the effects of ageing on her people. It was something she had always desired ever since she had been a tiny girl watching her mother slip away to a genetic disease which sped up the ageing process. For five years the young Jha'dur had watched this ghastly spectacle while the doctors dithered and complained but ultimately proved powerless to halt the inevitable. It was by her mothers tomb that she had resolved to find the formula to prevent old age claiming any more of her family, and from that day on she and her brother had dedicated themselves to the study of science and the need to serve the Dilgar race.

She observed the yellowish liquid in the tube for a moment, it had taken four months to produce this amount from hundreds of different plant species, she couldn't help but wonder if she would be personally responsible for elevating the Dilgar race to virtual immortality, was it her destiny to defeat death? A brief smile flickered on her lips, she would never know if she just stood here and daydreamed, so with precise actions she took the tube, placed it in the delivery receptacle, and emptied its contents into the glass case containing the rats.

For moments there was no reaction th e creatures merely wrinkled their noses at the new smell and continued scuffling. She broke a smile, if the product wasn't toxic it appeared that the first hurdle to research was complete and she could advertise for Dilgar subjects to test upon. Then it all went wrong. The small creatures began squeaking loudly and running frantically around their glass prison, faster and faster until they fell to the floor breathing erratically. Jha'dur frowned in distaste and looked at the biosensors readings, it revealed the serum had caused massive brain seizures in the tiny rodents, and one by one they expired.

She cursed to herself, then made a full report on her findings ending with the acknowledgement that it needed work. She then sent a message to the biohazard team to come and remove the experiment at their earliest opportunity and went back to studying what had gone wrong. She didn't have long to deliberate, with a sharp bang her door flew open to reveal Sha'dur, her brother and fellow scientist stumbling into the room scanning around for her.

"Jha'dur!" he shouted. "Sister!"

"Over here." She raised her hand above the clutter of scientific equipment. "I had just finished something, our dinner meeting isn't for another half hour."

"Sister, you must look at this!" he waved a piece of thin plastic over his head, the sort which is used by the academy's multiple computers to print out data. "Please tell me I am losing my wits!"

She took the offered piece of paper from her twin, they were the closest of siblings and had been since their day of birth. Through childhood they were inseparable, both the bane of their teachers with their trouble making and the schools prize pupils after excelling in the sciences, for Jha'dur it was biology and Sha'dur it had been astronomy, always with his head in the stars their mother had said with a smile.

She reviewed the data, recognizing it as astronomical data relating to their sun, some of the figures seemed unusually high. "What is this?"

"An analysis I was conducting of our sun, there had been reports of oddly coloured sunsets in the news and I was wondering why, I thought it might be solar flare activity, or perhaps magnetic disturbances, but those figures show something very different." He said breathlessly having run across the complex in less than a minute, the print was still warm.

"The magnetic field." She spotted the particular source of the problem. "Its unbalanced."

"More than that, its become static, it isn't allowing radiation and particles to pass through at a normal rate, that's what caused the spectral anomalies." Sha'dur pointed to some figures. "its acting like a giant trap of gas and radiation."

"How can these be?" she shook her heard. "This is completely unheard of!"

"I know, but I checked the figures eight times, somehow our sun is undergoing a change, but that hasn't the worst." He produced a data crystal and jammed it into a wall monitor. "This is a simulation based on the figures, it shows how this change in the magnetic field affects the sun in the long term."

As Jha'dur watched she noticed the sun growing brighter around its equator, the scrolling text indicated this was the continued build up of superheated gasses. Then with sudden fury the gasses grew to such a level that they burst free in a titanic explosion which the text refused to quantify. But even without hard data she could see it was almost like a miniature supernova and the effects on Omelos would be catastrophic.

"By the gods mercy." She breathed. "How long until this happens?"

"About fifteen years." Her brother replied.

"Fifteen Years!" she shrieked. "Fifteen centuries would be too short a time! But Fifteen years!"

"I know, but that's what it is!" he said desperately. "We have fifteen years before all life in this entire system is eradicated!"

She collapsed in the chair totally aghast, all her work at trying to save lives and prolong now didn't mean a damn. In a cruel twist of galactic fate her people were going to be snuffed out within the absurdly short time of less than a generation. It was too much to accept or believe.

"We must take this to the science council at once." She whispered, unable to speak louder through shock.

"I've sent a message demanding an emergency meeting," Sha'dur said. "Please sister, come with me, you know I am hopeless at presentations."

"Yes, of course I will be there." She grabbed his arm firmly. "You're sure you took the right measurements?"

"Of course I'm sure!" he said with a slight wail, sometimes she forgot how young they both still were, the news had seemingly aged her decades in an instant.

"I did not mean offence." She comforted, "But this is the greatest and most life changing discovery ever, our entire races future depends on how we react to this news. It must be accurate, it must be right."

"It is sister, it is. Gods help us it truly is."

"Then summon your courage brother, we must make them see what the future holds for us all, we are the last generation of Dilgar to live here on Omelos, just consider that for a moment. All our history and ancestry, all the millennia of life and civilisation, all of it will disappear but it does not mean the Dilgar race will. A lot can happen in fifteen years if we prepare, perhaps we can reverse this, or at least move away to our colonies."

"But what can we do in just a decade and a half?"

Jha'dur fixed him with a confident stare.

"We can do whatever it takes to ensure our legacy, and our people, survive."

She took the data crystal and placed it in her lab coat. "Come on, lets find the science council, every second now is too precious to waste."

Without even changing out of her lab clothes Jha'dur led the way out of the building and towards the elegantly built Imperial council for the sciences, in her pocket lay the future destiny of the Dilgar race and the galaxy surrounding it.

The council of scientists were in name and qualifications both a highly distinguished group, they represented the peak achievements of cutting edge science across the Imperium, and were the peers of the scientific academy, Jha'durs superiors for want of a better term. They had assembled in their meeting halls, fifty of them in a high tier of seats circled several feet above the small open floor used for giving presentations to the council and the academy. That space was currently occupied by both Jha'dur and Sha'dur, whom now activated the holographic imager and presented his data. The presentation was short but concise, and not once did the council interrupt. When it was over silence hung for three whole minutes until the young Dilgar could not stand it any longer.

"So what will you do?" Sha'dur demanded, a flagrant breach of the strict protocol governing council presentations where only the high scientists asked questions.

"This data you have provided." A deep voice said. "It is impossible."

Sha'dur let his mouth hang open in disbelief for a moment. "I assure you the data is completely accurate."

"It is not, such stellar activity is completely against all known laws of physics, you are obviously wrong."

"Fine, check for yourselves!" he almost shouted back he was so frustrated and angry.

"We do not have the resources for a fools errand." The council leader stated bluntly.

"The fate of the entire world is in the making here!" he yelled at the top of his lungs. "You can't just turn your back on that!"

Jha'dur stepped in, calming her brother. Then she turned to the council.

"You are fools if you dismiss my brothers research based purely on his age, he has never been wrong before and this data is accurate."

"And when did you receive your accolades in Astrophysics Madame Jha'dur?" the council leader mocked. "As I understand it your aim is to find the miraculous recipe for immortality." There were a few scoffs and chuckles. "It is only your work in other fields of medicine which allows us to tolerate your dalliances, attaching yourself to such preposterous claims as these here might force us to reconsider your tenure."

"Do not try and silence us with threats." She snapped "this is real and it will not go away just because you all dismiss it!"

"It is not the only thing we are dismissing." The leader said. "Get out of here, I want a full summary of you other works by tomorrow so we can decide whether or not you are worth keeping here at the academy without these frivolous doomsday fantasies!"

"It is not fantasy!" Jha'dur underlined. "Fifteen years from now our world dies, now we have time to do something about it but only if we act immediately!"

"We are acting immediately." The council leader replied. "And our action is to evict you from our academy, this is an institution for serious science, now get out before I have you forcibly removed!"

Jha'dur gave him a venomous stare, she was apoplectic with rage at the haughty attitude of the science council. They were so arrogant, so set in their own beliefs of how the universe worked they refused to even consider the possibility that something may be wrong in thei perfect little view of physics.

"So be it." She snarled. "You can burn with our world, and as the radiation sears the flesh from your bones you can die with the exquisite knowledge that it was all your fault." She took the data crystal and stormed out of the chamber, her brother rapidly running up beside her.

"The fools!" she yelled, drawing a number of glances from passers by in the halls of the science building. "The triple damned fools! They will burn in hell for this, all of them!"

"Sister, please!" Sha'dur steered her into a corner, he had never once seen her grow so angry, even in the trying times after their mothers death she had never once lost her temper, she had remained as calm and cool as any scientist could hope to be, an emotionless statue that resembled his sister. "There is another way, there must be."

"Like what?" she spat, staring viciously at her last blood relative, "Without the support of the science council we have no credibility, we will be laughed out of every meeting! We will be discredited and even imprisoned for fraudulent claims and spreading panic! Our people will die and there is nothing we can do!" she was almost screaming in desperation, it seemed that the future of her race was grasped in her hands but nobody cared, nobody would make even the tiniest effort to save themselves, their families, to save the whole species. They just didn't care, and they would die for it. It was unbearable.

"We must go to the media, we must force them to accept it!" Sha'dur said. "If we tell enough people they must…" he tailed off as he noticed a rather large man striding up beside them, he wore the shaded blue of the Dilgar navy and held himself with a rigid and disciplined stance, a sign that the uniform had been well earned. He stood beside them, receiving a harsh look from Jha'dur.

"What do you want?" she snarled. "Come to arrest us for breeching the peace?"

"I was in the council room, I heard your speech." He said by way of reply.

"Ahh, I see. And now you want to ensure our silence." She laughed. "You'll have to kill us first, and right now I have no fear of death, we will all burn soon anyway, so kill me. Make me a martyr to the Imperium." She stretched her arms out wide. "Death is on its way, why should I wait for it?"

the officer did not change his dour expression. "I'm not here to kill you, we need to talk. Quietly." He looked around, Jha'durs loud outburst had drawn a lot of attention from the students and interns who frequented the academy. "I represent the Admiralty, and any threat to the Dilgar, however spurious, requires investigation." He stepped aside and pointed to the door way. "So, lets walk, unless you want to be ignored and ridiculed?"

Jha'dur immediately quietened, she regarded the officer with a clinical eye, looking in his face for signs of the truth, whether their walk would mean the government would listen or whether it would end with her brother and herself turning up in a river dead. The officer returned her gaze unflinchingly, not betraying a single inkling of his intentions, his face was as hard and unmoving as stone.

Sh'dur moved first, with a quick raising of an eyebrow to his sister encouraging her to come along he headed for the door. She gave another close look to the officer, and saw a hint of a smile on his face.

"I think you'll agree Madame Jha'dur, that we have np time to waste, Omelos cannot afford it."

With that final statement Jha'dur knew she was out of options, here at least was an official who would listen, even if he was to silence them when he had heard their story word of it at least would reach his superiors. She nodded in acquiescence, then followed her brother out of the building.

The treacherous sun gently warmed the area of greenery outside the Academy, it was a beautiful sight, peaceful and tranquil to no doubt encourage the various scientists working nearby to greater achievements. A gurgling brook ran parallel to the old pale buildings containing the various labs, with a few tall trees dotting the lush fields and bright gatherings of flowering plants in the late morning brightness.

The three of them walked along the banks of the brook, its totally clear waters dancing like liquid crystal with speckles of bright light glaring on the surface. The light of the sun, Jha'dur noted absently, the same light which was going to touch these waters in truth someday fifteen years from now. Her stomach was completely empty feeling, like there was a hole in the centre of her body expanded by this terrible knowledge nobody else seemed to want. She must have looked paler than usual because other academics that strolled by gave her lingering stares, not that it mattered. Her fiery anger was lost now to inevitability, a deep sadness as she took in the beauty around her and recognised it was all lost.

"Lets take a seat here." The officer gestured at some low rocks beneath a vast and ancient tree, one that had seen centuries of growth, so long lived but with so little time left. Every thought she had ultimately came back down to this concept that they were living on borrowed time, a whole race who's time was out.

They settled down in the shade, looking out across the waters to where a group of young naval officers were having a small picnic with some wide eyed girls from the academies ranks. The military held a special place in Dilgar society, they were almost universally respected, even revered, and it was never hard for an officer to get a date with some naïve young student or professional.

"My name is Commander Len'char," their companion said. "I'm sorry for not introducing myself earlier but it was important we went somewhere out of the way before continuing our discussion."

Jha'dur continued to watch the party over the brook, two of the officers had found branches and were having a mock sword fight to the apparent delight of the rest of the group. None of them were older than she was, yet she didn't have that sort of playful joy within her, even before todays shocking news she would not have sat and giggled as two military officers fooled around, it just wasn't who she was.

"Do you believe our evidence?" Sha'dur asked plainly, he had a way of going straight for the jugular, something she had admired and tried to emulate.

"More than that, I know its true." Len'char said. "I work for Naval intelligence, we've known about the anomalies in our sun for some time now."

Jha'dur moved fast, grabbing her brother before he had the chance to jump up in rage. "Sit!" She hissed firmly. "Let him speak."

"We know." He repeated. "We expected sooner or later someone outside the official astronomical observatories the government operates would find out, but frankly we thought it would be years yet. I'm very impressed."

"Impressed!" Sha'dur riled. "You knew the world was ending and you did not speak up to the Science council!"

"They are a civilian body and do not need to know, let them carry forward in their beliefs and ignorance." Len'char scoffed.

"An ignorance which cost us our livelihoods!" Sha'dur growled. "Something you could have prevented."

"The government will be happy to offer you a new opportunity, we have a wide range of scientific facilities dealing with astronomy and biology, large enough to keep you both productively employed."

"Military science?" Sha'dur almost laughed. "mapping hyperspace to create more invasion routes? Using my sisters gifts to create biological weapons? This is your offer?"

"It is." The officer said stonily. "we will give you as much freedom and resources as you need, I know you both have your own personal projects," he glanced at Jha'dur who met his gaze head on. He knew about her tests for an anti ageing serum and was offering her nearly unlimited resources to continue her research. "I guarantee you that you may continue them, as well as woriking for us in certain fields."

"And you want us to keep silent." She said. "If you knew and have told no one, and if you have been monitoring the academy you clearly do not want the people to know."

"Exactly." He said. "Your work will be secret, known only to the highest echelons of the military and government, you will not speak of it to anyone, you will not associate outside of your new facility, you will obey military regulations, and in return you can do whatever research you like, and more importantly you can play your part in saving our people."

"But we can't tell them?" Sha'dur asked again. "Why not? They have a right to know whats coming and prepare for it!"

The intelligence officer did not answer straight away, instead he followed Jha'durs gaze to the opposite bank and the party there.

"Suppose you went over there and told those people that the world was ending and they believed you, what would happen?" he asked.

"I guess they'd try and leave the planet, after going home and picking up their possessions." Sha'dur answered.

"And go where?"

"One of the colonies."

"Would they show up to work the following day then?"

"Well no, of course not." Sha'dur frowned. "They'd start a new life somewhere safe."

"Sounds ok doesn't it?" Len'char nodded. "But times that by Eight Billion and what happens? What happens when everyone on the planet tries to flee, when the spaceports turn into riot scenes and when you could be murdered for your place on a ship offworld?"

"Yes, but with fifteen years you could get some sort of order to the evacuation."

"Irrelevant, since when did panic and mass hysteria listen to logic?" the officer pointed out. "And if everyone runs what happens to the economy? You wouldn't need to wait fifteen years for Dilgar civilisation to die, it'd be over in fifteen minutes."

"That's a very pessimistic view." Jha'dur observed.

"But none the less true." Len'char remarked. "The information you have poses a more immediate danger to our civilization that that does up there." He pointed to the sun. "Which is why it is imperative to keep it secret."

"And what about them?" Sha'dur raised his chin at the party. "What happens to them?"

"When the time is right we evacuate, but only when the time is right. We need to make preparation both physically and mentally, the exodus of an entire planet is no easy task."

"Perhaps we can ask the Centuari for help?" Sha'dur suggested. "We have good relations with them."

"Good relations?" the officer smiled. "The Centauri use us and we use them, if they can't get anything out of us they won't help. If word gets out we're evacuating our businesses on the galactic stock exchanges will plummet, our economy collapses and we're dead. The alien races will circle us like vultures, buying up our failing businesses and our technology before its too late, and anything they can't buy they will take by force." He spat out the last few words. "If we show weakness and ask for help we will be turned upon and destroyed."

"Maybe." Sha'dur agreed. "The aliens have long coveted our advanced weapons and our resources, our colonies will be tempting targets once we cannot defend them, and with those gone there is no escape for our people."

"You've been watching too much propaganda." Jha'dur reprimanded. "We are not under constant alien threat, the government just wants you to think we are."

"Would you like to know why?" Len'char said. "Because sooner or later our needs will conflict with those of our neighbours, specifically the League worlds. We need our people to hate them and be fearful of them so that when the time comes there will be no opposition to the action we must take."

"What action?" questioned Sha'dur.

"Our colonies." Jha'dur answered first. "They aren't big enough are they?"

"No, even if we split the population evenly with two billion on each world, even with fifteen years we couldn't develop that sort of infrastructure. Two thirds would starve to death within a few weeks, maybe all of them if fighting for the limited food breaks out." The military representative confirmed.

"Oh gods." Sha'dur collapsed back. "Its over, how many could we save?"

"It isn't over yet, the government has not been idle, we have a way to save all our people." Len'char said confidently.

"By moving them to planets that can already support those numbers, with an infrastructure of that magnitude in place." Jha'dur nodded.

"Where?" asked her brother.

"The Narn?" she thought out loud. "No, no. The League of Non aligned worlds."

"Exactly, you are as smart as they said." The officer grinned.

"I thought we weren't asking aliens for help?" Sha'dur wrinkled his nose in disgust.

"We're not asking anything." The military man stated. "We need developed worlds for or people to settle on, so we will take them. We're going to invade the league and occupy their planets for colonisation."

Sha'dur said nothing. This was a day of being left speechless by events. Jha'dur however had always worked through things faster.

"I doubt they'll let you land on their worlds." She said.

"We've already begun a military build up, in eight to ten years we'll have enough ships to overwhelm any opposition, but we predict speed will be key in this offensive, we will need to remove populations from planets quickly to give our people time to colonise without fighting."

She didn't an explanation as to what 'clearing a planet' meant in this context. In the casual sunlight beneath the shade of a tree they were discussing genocide on an untold scale. It seemed so bizarre if she'd have looked at it objectively she may have laughed, or even cried. She hadn't shed tears in a long time, and she had resolved never to do so again.

"You have methods for this?" she asked.

"We have ideas, hopefully something you can help with." Len'char said. "Between your other research. It is for the good of your people, always remember that."

Sha'dur finally found his voice again. "So that's it? The plan is to conquer our neighbours and seize their planets for ourselves?"

"It's the only way to save our people in such a short time." The man answered. "We have no other options, we must do this our our race dies. I would like to enlist your help, we could use your skills in the coming events, join us."

"And if not?" Sha'dur quizzed.

"Then nothing. We proceed as planned and nobody will believe you and your doomsday stories. You will be homeless, unemployable and ultimately powerless." He shrugged. "This isn't a threat, we don't want you to suffer, but we're offering help to you, and a chance for you to help your people, isn't that the whole point of you being here, to better our race?"

It was. Jha'dur had always wanted the Dilgar to achieve a place of greatness at the head of the galactic community. All her work had been aimed at making her people the best, even her childhood dream of granting immortality through science had its foundation in trying to serve the Dilgar people, not for her own personal glory. Now that need of her people was greater than ever, and she could have a role in helping them if she wished it, she just had to say yes.

"My vehicle is waiting." Len'char stood and looked to an expensive black transport truck waiting at the edge of the academy grounds. "If you accept my offer, come with me and we'll begin immediately. If not then I wish you well."

He began to walk away, once more entering the sunlight, even such an accepted thing taken purely for granted would someday never happen again.

"Well?" Sha'dur asked as the intelligence officer left. "Do we trust him?"

"We only have one choice." His sister said. "Either we go with him or we fail ourselves. He's given us a chance to make a difference, to do a greater service to our people than we could have dreamed. Do you see what we have now? Hope."

"Hope, what hope, we have to defeat a dozen separate alien empires first! How can we do that?"

"We are Dilgar." She said proudly. "War is our nature, we will win in the end, but the quicker the better, we can do that, you can chart new hyperspace routes to move our fleets quickly into battle."

"And you sister, what about your contribution?" he said with a hint of accusation. "He was talking about mass murder, genocide. Could you do that?"

"Yes." She said without hesitation or emotion. "If that's the price of keeping our race alive then I will personally kill every other sentient in the galaxy." She regarded her brother with a cold stare. "You know what is at stake, you know what we are risking. Whatever happens we must work for the survival of our people in their hour of need."

"History will call us demons."

"No it won't," Jha'dur smiled. "Because history is written by the victors, and we will be the victors brother, and when we are done and our people safe, there won't be anyone left to contradict us."

She looked at the party over the brook again, the young officers were done with their mock fight and had started eating with their adoring companions. She wondered absently if those soldiers would survive the coming war, if they would earn glory or run like cowards. Would they have children before then with these girls they were with, and would they also be expected to fight in the most desperate times? Either way they faced death, in war at least they had a chance of survival, but to simply sit peacefully and wait for the inevitable would doom them all.

She stood and began walking to the vehicle, her mind totally made up and her resolve iron. She smiled inwardly as her brother sighed and jogged to catch up, once more they were inseparable. She paused at the door to the truck, looking down at the green grass surrounding her shoes, looking as it slowly unbent after being stepped on and scenting the aroma of the freshly cut lawns outside the academy in the sun kissed morning. It was something worth fighting for, worth dying for, even worth being damned for. She got in the vehicle and settled back, the old Jha'dur and the life she had led was gone, left out in the hazy sun to be revisited only in dreams. She came to terms with her new life, it was going to take a long time to fully accept what she was to become, but accept it she would.

She did not protest or resist as the door slammed closed, the deafening sound echoed in the confines of the passenger compartment and the dark windows murdered the sunlight streaming in, the last rays being cut off as the door sealed shut and the darkness swept forward to engulf Jha'dur in the blackness and the cold.

Deathwalker smiled at Neroon, who seemed more impassive than usual. She put the glass down and fixed his gaze.

"It was the defining day of my race, and only a handful of us knew about it." She remarked. "you imagine it would be earthshaking, that the whole world just stops and looks up in awe at the approach of destiny, but it didn't life for the Dilgar went on much as it always had, or at least that's how it seemed. In fact the government had by then grown into a puppet of the Warmasters, they fed the people doses of propaganda to prepare them for war, they encouraged Xenophobia and feelings of nationalism turning the young people of the planet into perfectly tuned warriors, and then they recruited them in mass conscriptions which were of course warmly welcomed by the indoctrinated people." She smiled and nodded. "It was a masterful manipulation of the media, it worked beautifully, within ten years we had a massive fleet and a huge highly trained and well motivated military who hated anyone who was not Dilgar, the seeds had been sown, and all we had to do was reap the harvest."

"Yes, how very pleasant for you." Neroon said with a bored tone. "So how did the humans stop you?"

"Have you not heard me?" she snapped. "To beat the humans you must understand why they fight, its deeper than just listing how each battle went! You want to know then shut up and pay attention."

Neroon looked like he was ready to strangle her, but it passed and his impassive stare returned. Jha'dur knew she was safe, the elders of the Star Riders clan thought they could gain something from her so she was left alone and unharmed, indeed she was happy to share some of her lesser works with them, simple bio weapons and cybernetics for massive deployment against civilian populations, but her life's work was still only hers, and her plans for it and the final vengeance of the Dilgar were still held close to her chest, even the Minbari didn't know. Still, this ambitious warrior was a keen distraction, and while he feigned disinterest he was in fact paying careful attention, she smiled to know she still had some ability to hold power over another, even if only in a small way.

"So, now you know how it all started, lets move a decade forward and see exactly what happened next."

"And that was?"

She smiled. "The start of Armageddon."