Well it's been three months and while I've worked on a lot of other stuff I really wanted to see if I could get back into this one and so here we go with the first chapter of Book Two of Consequences of Actions.
Dedications: As always to Skeet for his help with this fic, Tyr and Spartan of whom seem to have taken my ideas for this xover and run with them (damned fast too) Lightning Count for both aforementioned story AND for assisting me with the ST series we're writing and of course Ed and RenS as well.Book Two
"I've flamingoed up, it's like a Cock up just much, much bigger."
"They have gone through Sir."
"Several hours ago, Sir. The Prometheus led a force through."
"Who was aboard?"
"O'Neill, Carter and the Jaffa, several Free Jaffa ships have gone through with them."
"What of the alien ships?"
"The Centauri ship is structurally intact as is the Minbari ship. The exterior weapons and equipment have been destroyed as has much of the interior of the Centauri ship. The Minbari ship is in good condition, and many more of their crew survived the encounter."
"Very Well, send the Minos, destroy the Jaffa ships guarding those vessels and remove them to the Beta site, make sure you get the ship Jackson is aboard. He has been a thorn for too long."
The tactical displays were lit up across the board as more information about the latest Minbari attacks started to come in and the tactical experts tallied friendly and enemy losses as the reports came in. One of the massive screens lit up as telemetry of dozens of capital ships and hundreds of escorts and fighters were plotted. The massive fleets breaking up into smaller task forces, the plotting tables in the very middle of the station in operation as the assigned staff began to sift through the reports.
One of the two dozen EarthForce officers approached her commander, the flimsy in her hand ready for the General's perusal. "Sir, the ninth and twelfth fleets are entering Wolfhound Sector, reports are sketchy, but the Minbari don't seem to be there."
The General looked over the reports in his hands. "Nothing at all? The new scanners should be picking them up."
"Yes Sir, SWACS ships have linked their systems to increase range and sensitivity but there are no Minbari ships in the Wolf system or anywhere for a sector around them."
"What about the surviving ships?"
"A detachment from the twelfth fleet is escorting the survivors to the Sol system, a little less than half the defensive groups got out, Sir."
"Damn, alright once they are back in system have them repaired and refit, they'll be transferred to Ross for shakedown with the fourteenth fleet."
"What's the latest from Proxima and Beta Durani?"
"It's strange Sir, but all the Minbari ships have bugged out. We haven't detected any activity at all."
"Is that confirmed?"
"Yes Sir. All enemy ship formations in the surrounding sectors have pulled out Sir. But it seems enemy losses were heavier then expected when they attacked the shipyards at Durani. Also Proxima has reported total destruction of Minbari assault fleet for very minimal losses to their ships."
He looked over another report from the older colony, "The scanners were that useful?"
"Yes Sir, the fleet pulled the Minbari into a crossfire. The new railguns and laser concentrators crippled the enemy ships, allowing the battle squadrons to destroy the surviving ships."
"Proxima lost six ships and eight squadrons of fighters Sir. Minbari ship losses at close to fifty Sir."
"After the loss of Wolfhound and damage to Beta Durani this is almost a godsend."
The General lifted himself from his seat and moved towards the Intelligence section of his command. The head of the station's intel gathering noticed this and stood up to address his commander.
"The reverse engineering on the Achilles based tech is almost done, the first generation of gravity generation and full rebuild of the scanners, ECM and point defences are under construction and should be ready for incorporation into a testbed Hyperion within the next few weeks. Proxima is just awaiting evaluations from the other ships in the field before starting reconstruction on the Nova X."
"Good, we need them out and fast. Make sure that ALL shipyards get the critical information ASAP, use any ships you need as couriers."
"What about the docks at Io station?"
"Investigations are still ongoing, but it looks to be the work of the so called 'Followers of the One.'"
"Yes Sir. That's the sixth military target they've hit."
The General pinched the bridge of his nose, "Alright, as of now the counter terrorist ops command are given full authority to hunt these people down and shut them down whatever way they have to."
"Are you sure that's wise, Sir?"
"Not really but we have to stop them before they do too much more damage."
"Yes, Sir." The junior officer spoke in a low voice, "Sir there's a message for you from the Works. Their prototype is within range of Beta Durani and awaiting orders."
"That was fast."
"Yes Sir, some reverse engineered Minbari technology has allowed us to travel slightly faster through hyperspace than before."
"Order the Zeus to continue patrol, do not contact Beta Durani unless necessary."
"That's all Captain."
Earth Station One
Later that day.
"Sir, we're picking up something on the long range scanners."
With the Colonel and Major off ship the ship's command had fallen to the third officer and as such he had been called to the bridge from his position elsewhere. He crossed the bridge and looked at the screen.
"Can you tell what it is?"
"Negative Sir, it seems to have a form of stealth in use."
"I'm not sure Sir. I don't think so it's much too powerful for them to be Minbari considering what we know of their ships."
"Then some other race?"
"Looks like it Sir. Without the Asgard scanners we wouldn't have even seen them."
"Where are they?"
"Just outside the heliopause of the Solar System, it's just sitting there."
"Get me the Colonel immediately."
"Achilles this is Davis." The man's voice came over the radio.
"Major, we are picking up some unknown ship we thought the Colonel should know about it."
"Colonel Taylor is in a meeting with the president, any idea about the ship?"
"No Sir. It's well outside of the system, we can see it and if necessary target it but we can't get much more than a silhouette."
"Continue watching the contact, if it come closer then break dock and investigate, if it leaves keep it on screen for as long as possible."
"Aye Sir, do we tell the Alliance?"
"Do so, tell them everything we get from the scans."
"Sir we are receiving a signal from the Achilles," The Comm officer said. Her job was the constant monitoring of orbital and lunar orbit communications. She turned her attention to the officer of the Watch.
A tall and thin young officer strode up to the communications officer, "I thought she was attached to the 4th fleet at Ross."
"No, Sir, it's the other Achilles."
"The other… Oh the newcomer vessel."
"Put it through." He ordered
"Earthdome this is the USAF Achilles, come in."
"We read you Achilles, go ahead," he said.
"Be advised we are reading an unknown, non-human vessel close to the edge of the solar system."
The two EarthForce personnel looked at each other, "Please confirm."
"Confirmed, unknown alien ship in near system space. Ship is stealthed and does not conform to any known ships in our database."
"Can you get a decent picture of it at all?"
"Negative, the ship is too far out and is stealthed to a degree above that of the Minbari ships."
The OOTW cut the signal to the ship and looked to the other officer, "Call the General, we might have a first one in the area."
Keying the circuit back on the officer spoke to the Achilles, "Achilles request you keep an eye on the unknown ship, if you manage to get anything let us know."
"Got that Earthdome, request permission to launch fighter flight for recon."
"Go ahead Achilles, we'll send a squad with you."
"Thank you Earthdome Achilles out."
The officer stood up and walked to another of the command station's officers, a rotund mustached man sat at a massive complex of monitors and computers each scrolling with information. "Launch lunar squadron Epsilon and have them meet with the Achilles' wing as they come past. Achilles fighter commander has command priority."
"Aye Sir. Epsilon Squadron launching."
From both the SGC starship and an orbital hanger bay above the surface of the Moon, two separate fighter groups launched from their homes and headed out towards the unknown signal.
Modified Shargotti Class War Cruiser
The full Minbari council had been recalled on behalf of the warrior caste, as opposed to the usual place of meeting inside the ancient enclosure of the capital city the call to meet was decided upon aboard the most powerful ship in their fleet. The Valen'tha, the 'Valen's Own'.
"What is this about Delenn? It is late," a perturbed and annoyed Coplann spoke up.
"I apologise for this late interruption my friends but we have a problem." Delenn responded. "Two days ago a ship dispatched to investigate a possible point of arrival of the Earther's new allies arrived on station. The ship was headed by Lenonn and his best rangers. The Sharlin disappeared only hours later and we have no idea where it went."
"Where was this incident?"
"On the borders between the Earthers and the Centauri, the Centauri have also lost a ship in the area."
"Then the humans are taking out any ships that may come into the area."
"It is possible, however I find it unlikely."
"The humans would not have any reason to attack the Centauri. They also would not be able to destroy a Sharlin class vessel without our people sending a distress call."
"I do not know. Three Religious caste heavy ships are on their way to retrieve Entilza'Na Lenonn and his people, or to find what has happened to their ship."
"Very well" the Senior Warrior Satai responded. "If this is indeed the place that the new Earther ship came from then we will take it and destroy anything that may be guarding it. The new humans have taken arms against us and so shall be destroyed as their brethren."
A new voice spoke up. "Are you sure that is wise?" The bearded Satai stood quietly. When Terron of the worker caste spoke even the most headstrong of the Council listened to the man who brought Dukhat to the Council alongside the man that Dukhat replaced.
The old man dropped the cowl of his grey robe to his shoulders and looked up at the assembled council. "The humans that have allied themselves with the Eathers have only reacted when threatened, and our ships have attacked them without provocation. In addition, they have allowed damaged ships to escape and even to pick up survivors from downed ships. We are not at war with the people that created that ship nor do we need to be, they did not kill Dukhat and they did not destroy any of the ships that they could spare. Their ships are impressive and while much smaller than our own capable of much more than ours are."
Sharonn dropped his own cowl. "They have begun to assist the Earthers with new technologies, if they continue they may become a problem."
Terron looked to the very junior Satai. "Do the Warrior caste fear that another race may be able to fight them in single combat for the first time in one thousand years?"
"We fear nothing."
"Then why begin a war with another race for defending themselves?"
"They are humans, they are just like their brethren of Earth. They are responsible for the deaths of a great many of our people."
"As are we of theirs. This war I have never agreed with, many of us did not want this yet you continue on. Setting us down a road to conflict with another race, one who's ships are capable of not only scanning and targeting our ships but are able to destroy several of them in combat, as well as take impacts from our heaviest weapons is folly."
"Then what do you suggest?"
"That we do not continue combat with these newcomers, we request they leave the area and do not return."
"What about the technology that they have shared with the Earthers?"
"There is nothing we can do."
The third of the Warriors now spoke. "We force them to give us the same technology that they have gifted to the Earthers, tell us how to block their scanners and redress the balance."
Terron looked at the other Satai. "You really believe that threatening the newcomers like that will in any way force them to accede to our demands."
"The humans will do as we say."
"Like they have already?" Terron sneered. "You seem to overestimate the power we hold over the other races of this area. The newcomers do not have any reason to follow what we say at all."
"They will do so."
"How will you force them to?" he asked again.
"We will tell them to." The other Satai was getting annoyed.
"Then you are a fool Warrior; threaten them and they will fight back. If the newcomers attack in force we may be in much more of a challenge than the Earthers have been responsible for."
"The Earthers will be removed before that."
Delenn spoke to the assemblage. "That may not be as true as it one was, we are taking losses that should not be happening. The warriors are beginning to balk at fighting the human ships. Dozens are lost in each engagement, now you wish to continue battle with a race that has nothing to do with our war against the Earthers."
"They are humans."
"From a world we know nothing of, with technology that we do not have or even know of. The League of Non Aligned worlds have been seen to have some of these, others such as the Streib have others but of a type different and much more cumbersome and weaker than the human's own versions. We could face a two front war with ships that will destroy our own without losses."
"Then what do you suggest Delenn," the ancient Satai asked.
"We allow the newcomer ship to leave, request they never come back. No,not demand anything from them, do not tell them to do anything. Merely let them go their way."
"Bow down to their terrorism?" Sharonn asked her. "Allow these barbarians to leave without taking the technologies that they should not have from them?"
"What terrorism?" Delenn said back hotly, "WE attacked them, WE damaged their ship, WE are responsible for driving them into the arms of the other humans, WE attempted to kill them. How are they responsible for anything other than defending themselves?"
"They still fire on our ships; they help the lesser races to combat us their obvious masters."
"Sharonn, do you even listen to yourself, or do you truly believe that babble that spews from your mouth," spoke up one of the worker Satais.
"How dare you…"
"I dare because everything that has been said by Terron and Delenn is correct. It was one of our ships that fired first the recorders from the Shal'avi prove that more than anything the Humans may have said. If we had not continued to hunt these innocent humans then we would not have yet another problem."
"We already know what the humans are capable of. They attacked us without provocation and killed Dukhat."
"We were all there, we know what happened. However these newcomers have nothing to do with the humans that attacked us," the Satai countered.
"A human is a human, that is all they know how to be. We let these newcomers go without penance and we shall seem weak to those that would test us. We can not let these humans go without demanding reparations for their acts against us."
Delenn looked at the man, "and if they demand reparations for the damage we caused them and the losses they took in combat, would you allow it?"
"Then why would they pay anything, these humans had nothing to do with this war until we fired on them. The fact we are also trying to destroy every human ship armed or otherwise will not sit well with them."
"Why should we care what they think?"
"If we do not care what they think, then why should they care about our opinions? We still know little about the humans as a whole; they could decide to leave the Earthers if we allow them to. However they may decide to continue to help the other humans, at the very worst they could take umbrage to our demands and continue to assist the others."
"Then we shall destroy them as well," Coplann said with absolute conviction.
"If it comes to a face to face with the Achilles, then we shall be facing a number of the Earther's ships that can and will hurt us."
Terron spoke again. "Our intelligence from our Narn and Centauri agents and the humans assisting us with this war state the newcomers refuse to give their energy shielding and heaviest weapons to the Earthers. Pushing them may change their minds with this."
"Are we willing to allow the Earthers' technology that advanced and capable to sooth the ego of the Warrior caste?" Delenn challenged.
Sharonn closed his mouth at that. His position as most junior Satai in the council allowed him less leeway than the senior members. Even the younger but more experience Delenn was likely to be listened to, her place as Dukhat's chosen giving her that right.
"No we shouldn't. We can request that the newcomers leave the Earth Alliance and keep their remaining technology to themselves as has been said," Sharonn agreed.
"But what then?" Coplann spoke up. "The humans can out build our ships and even their primitive heavy ships can destroy our own and still survive, their numbers can and will outgun our own at the rate of construction. The knowledge they can now see our ships will make them much more confident against us."
Delenn looked at her fellow Satai. "I do not know Coplann. The fact is that even without any further help from the newcomers the Earthers now are capable of destroying our own ships. For the first time in a great many years we have a threat that may be able to defeat our forces."
"We need to destroy the Earthers before that happens, or somehow acquire the same scanners the newcomers have." Sharonn said.
"There is one other choice in this matter my friends," Terron said. "Satai Gemann?"
Another of the worker caste Satai pulled down her own cowl and looked around the assembled men and women of the Grey council. Bowing her head to them she straightened.
"While we have a great many ships under construction or refit from the mothball fleets assembled for the coming darkness," she pretended not to notice a snort from one of the Warrior Satai, "the fact is that if we continue this war at the speed and losses that we are taking in combat we will not have the ships to protect ourselves and out protectorates. The destruction of the human's fleet and their assembled stations, shipyards and colonies will take time and will cause losses we can ill afford, we may destroy them but it will be a pyrrhic victory."
"Then what do you wish for us to do Satai?" Delenn asked.
"If we are to continue as the ancient and wise race we believe ourselves to be, then the fact is we need to show the other races that while we should be feared, we should also be respected." The worker looked at the others assembled around her. "I believe that above all we need to arrest this war with the Humans."
The uproar was predictable as the warriors and indeed even one of the religious Satais began to shout and retort even the thought of ceasing the attacks on the humans. However, the worker Satais and even Delenn stood there and merely waited for the warriors to calm down.
The three warriors' arguments began to peter out as they realised that none of the others in the group were responding to their arguments. Instead the workers merely stood there.
Coplann stared at the others. "This is preposterous! To stop this war would be foolish. Our people have taken this war to their hearts; it is now more than ever a holy way."
Terron looked at the younger Minbari, "Are you so sure of that Coplann? Are you totally sure every one of our people want to destroy a race that has no way of defending itself against us? More than anything, do you speak for every single Minbari in you caste or just those you wish to hear out?"
The warrior Minbari opened his mouth to retort the accusation from the elder worker, he was however cut off by one of the other warriors. Morann looked around the circle of Satai.
"We decided this war would go ahead, the council voted to go to war with the humans. Delenn herself caste the vote to allow this, now you are saying that we should stop this war because it is hard?"
"Not all of us voted for this war Morann, if you do not remember then let me remind you. Four of us voted for the war and four of us voted against it, there is nothing 'sudden' about trying to cease the slaughter this war is responsible for."
"Nonetheless we are at war with the Earthers. They did kill Dukhat by firing on our ships. The war continues because enough of our people of all the castes wish to see the humans punished for their transgressions, it is that simple."
"What of those whom do not wish to see this war continue? What about those whom wish to live without the war?" Terron said. "Are we to force our young and our best into a war where an entire generation of our people are wiped out by another race that made a mistake?"
The last Satai of the Worker class looked up at the assembled, "The fact is my fellow Satai that we have less and less young born into each generation. The loss of so many of our people to this war will cripple our numbers in the future. We need to stop this war before it destroys us as well."
Coplann stared at the worker. "If we stop this now everything we have done this far will have been for nothing."
"And if we continue everything we have done for the past thousand years will have been for nothing," Terron countered. "We must choose and quickly."