What Is Not Forgotten
Disclaimer: Babylon 5 is the brainchild of JMS and thus belongs to him and whoever he sells the rights to, which is not me in this case. This piece of fanfiction is written with the admiration and respect of Babylon 5's creator. I claim no ownership of his creations. Many characters appearing in this story are of my creation. Any similarity with anyone living or dead is purely coincidental. Since I am playing in another's playground to start with, feel free to play in mine. Though of course, I would appreciate being notified so that I may go read the reincarnation.
Summary: The year was 2250 and Humanity a wounded people. Still the talks and endeavors to secure a lasting peace and fledgling understanding continued. Duty, honor, and obligation would bind Neroon to a past not fit to be remembered yet not to be forgotten.
Rating: M for non-explicit adult themes and references to violence.
Language Guide: The seperate symbols I prefer to use to denote different languages does not work on this site, so I am using a different, less elegant, and less precise system here. Please bear with me.
All text written between 'these' is spoken in an alien language. Mattering on the situation, it can be either of three such languages used in this story. Those being: Vik, the main language of the Minbari warrior caste. The Centuari main language. And Adrihi'e, Minbari root language.You will be told when to expect the change.
All text written between "these" is English, the Earth language of commerce and diplomacy.
Please Read Author's Note: I absolutely adore everything Babylon 5. But I had always shied away from writing in the universe. I refused to do it until I had a story to tell and thought I could do the show and characters justice. I believe I did so with this story. I have always felt there was a draw, a charisma, to Neroon. As I was watching episodes certain glances, silences, moments called to my muse. Many "What ifs" began running through my head and were shortly playing together. Soon, I had an idea. Then I had a story. I like to twist canon and take advantage of lack of knowledge or denials, but I avoid breaking canon. Thus this story does not actually break canon. For example, Neroon speaks to a character about the species Pak'ma'ra. However on his first appearance in season one, he asks Garibaldi something to the effect of "What is this Pak'ma'ra?" See, considering that he was such a high ranking military officer and that in season five Delenn says that the Pak'ma'ra are everywhere, I find it extremely unlikely that he was unaware of the species. I thought that he might have known them by a different, Minbari term. That's why you will notice that when he discusses Pak'ma'ra in the story, he's always speaking in Vik and thus is most likely using the Minbari term. Though the majority of the story is not told from Neroon's point of view, in the end you will see that it is most certainly his story. The events in this story shape his exchanges and actions in Babylon 5; from his willingness to unbalance the Gray Council by becoming the fourth warrior representative, to his hostility with Delenn, to his interactions with Marcus Cole, and finally to Delenn's choice to set aside a place of honor in remembrance of Neroon. It is my belief that this story enriches JMS's wonderful world. The story is complete. However, I will be updating once a week, posting an average of five chapters per update. In all there are eighteen chapters. Thank you for reading and please enjoy.
To Kaile: She is the best reader a writer could ask for and the best friend a person could wish for. Also, she has my undying gratitude for gifting me with the full five seasons of Babylon 5 on DVD last Christmas. That is some woman.
To Armity: For being my beta, always challenging, and understanding me. Love you dearly.
"Narns, Humans, Centauri . . . we all do what we do for the same reason: because it seems like a good idea at the time."
- G'Kar to Sakai: "Mind War"
The year was 2250 and Humanity was a wounded people, sick of war in the wake of their near genocide. It had been two years since the Minbari mystified their enemy by surrendering at the Battle of the Line. Earth was licking her wounds and keeping a wary eye on the Minbari, frightened beyond words that another misstep in their attempts to mend bruised hearts and fractured souls could lead to the Minbari's mercurial wrath descending upon them again. And who were they to say that the Minbari would not finish the job leaving Earth a dead world and Humanity only remembered as a people sundered by ill choices? It had been two years since Humanity had rejoiced with peace seemingly sent by God. No one really cared whose God. Still the talks and endeavors to secure a lasting peace and fledgling understanding between the two people continued, years after the Minbari ships left Earth's space littered with the shrapnel of the ships who dared stand before an undeniable force.
Alyt Neroon was preparing tea as Shai'Alyt Branmer looked over the daily reports. Branmer was uncomfortable with the knowledge that had been imparted to him just that morning by Satai Menar. Of course leave it up to the Gray Council to choose one of the worker caste to give such distasteful news and equally distasteful order. They could not even stomach it but were willing to use it and his Alyt for their gain in standings with the Earthers.
Valen knows why, he thought to himself while taking a soothing breath to control his temper.
Quietly Neroon placed the cup of tea before Branmer and sat on the edge of the seat to his side, ready to rise at a moment to protect or serve his Shai'Alyt and people. Branmer could count on one hand the number of times he had been able to catch Neroon so off guard as to look almost comfortable and he'd still have three fingers to spare.
He picked up the last report and looked at it blankly, wondering if he would ever get up the gall to tell his aide what was demanded of him. Branmer snuck a sideways glance at Neroon and he could tell by the stiffness in the Alyt's neck that he knew he was being watched but was politely ignoring it until the time the Shai'Alyt deemed to share his thoughts.
'Neroon,' Branmer said in Vik.
He looked to him with a calm expectancy, always ready for what Branmer was sure Neroon thought was another of the Shai'Alyt's theoretical discussions. Branmer sighed, dropping the report to the table in disgust.
'Neroon, how much do you know of our people's ancient history?'
Neroon thought a moment before asking, 'How ancient?'
'Before Valen,' he answered.
'Little,' Neroon responded, ' Such history was not part of my studies.'
Branmer looked away as his aide looked to him earnestly, thinking he was receiving another of his Shai'Alyt's lessons. He looked down and saw the tea Neroon had placed before him. He took it in his hands as a grateful distraction. Branmer blew on the tea to cool it and he could sense that his aide was becoming impatient. Neroon wished to receive the lesson, to learn and to master it, to better himself. Neroon always sought to better himself no matter how painful the lesson. He did all this to better serve himself, true, because it was undeniable that Neroon had ambition, but ultimately the warrior had a true heart that wished to serve his people. The same people who were now forcing Branmer to convey their orders, orders so unthinkable that Neroon couldn't possible see it coming.
'Before Valen, Minbari killed Minbari,' Branmer began in a tone he would use as if he were telling a story, safely fictional and completely benign. Neroon inclined his head slightly, showing that he knew this. Of course he did, all Minbari knew of this but Neroon trusted in the insightfulness of his Shai'Alyt and so accepted his words as needed. 'Clans clashed one against another, drawing blood and taking lives. When the war between two clans ended, there was a ritual where the victor offered a female to the other clan in marriage in hopes that they would never know war between them again. For through that marriage they were made family. The Gray Council turned their eyes back to the ancient ways when they declared a holy war against the Earthers. They now wish to end it the same way. So they look to the ancient ways before Valen to help make,' he paused with disgust at the thought, 'amends to the Earthers. They have chosen to enact this ancient ritual of marriage so that we may never know war between us again.' He looked to Neroon and saw that his eyes had grown wide, not yet angry as he had yet to accept what Branmer had said as the truth.
'How can this be? Minbari do not marry outside Minbari. It is wrong! It is -'
'It is the decision of the Gray Council, Neroon,' Branmer quickly reminded.
Neroon inclined his head lightly and –yes- there the anger began to surface. Branmer looked to his tea to politely let his aide get his temper under control. He had to look into his tea for a great deal longer than he had expected. However, he could understand; Branmer understood better the anger that was Neroon's right to feel than even Neroon did. Yet.
'What female did they find who deserves our scorn so greatly as to be chosen to stand beside a Human?'
'This is not to be taken as a punishment from the Council or from our people. It is a burden, a great burden and they do not deny this. They say it will show itself to be a trial of the soul and an instrument of measure for one of undeniably great character.' Branmer explained.
'Ah, then they chose one of the religious caste.'
Branmer looked to him with a stiff jaw; sure he was in store for another jibe at his mother's caste. 'What makes you say that, Neroon?'
He must have sounded sharp because his aide checked himself before answering. Still his answer was rebellious.
'For only one of the religious caste would accept that.'
The Shai'Alyt couldn't help it, he snapped. 'Who they chose will accept that for it is the word of the Gray Council! Understanding is not required, only obedience.'
He knew his aide had done nothing to truly deserve his anger and if anything deserved his pity. His anger was truly aimed at the Gray Council that would use ancient rituals from a less civilized time and any hapless servant no matter how much he had done to deserve their respect. Of course they said it was not a matter of respect but they were not offering themselves, were they? He took a calming breath and looked back to Neroon, who appeared dutifully chastised, his eyes downcast in shame at his words.
'It was the warriors on the Council who finally, under much pressure, agreed to the ancient ritual with one alteration, in a way to slight the Humans. We will not offer them a female in marriage but a male. For sake of time, the religious caste agreed, but did not let the warrior caste off for tainting their ritual. They convinced the workers and therefore won the vote that the chosen one would be a warrior, as it was us that did most the fighting. And that it would be one of powerful rank so that the Humans do not think that they are being played.' Branmer glanced at his tea and then, reluctantly, at Neroon. 'Do you understand why I am telling you this, Neroon?'
His aide paused for a moment. Branmer could tell that Neroon didn't quite believe they were even having this conversation. As Neroon closed his eyes, he could tell that the Alyt was silently wishing for someone to wake him. Still, Branmer felt that Neroon had yet to realize the truth. Neroon opened his eyes and looked to him with intensity.
'They aren't considering you for this travesty, are they?'
Branmer decided it was time to reveal to Neroon how truly personal this horror was.
'Alyt Neroon,' the Shai'Alyt spoke in a commanding tone and if possible, Neroon straightened further, knowing Branmer was now speaking to him as his direct superior. He could see it in his eyes, he was fighting it, refusing to think it possible, but Neroon was very intelligent and just at Branmer's tone, he knew. It pained Branmer's soul to do this to his much endeared aide. 'This is the command of the Gray Council. The Ingata will again enter the fringes of Earth space to meet the diplomatic shuttle Normand. There Senator Lucy Heber, Celina Amador, and Father Alexander will transfer to the Ingata. You will be given ten minutes alone with Celina Amador. You will then submit to the Rebirth Ceremony and the Human marriage ceremony.'
While Branmer had spoken he had heard Neroon's breathing increase trifold. Each exhale was shaky with repressed anger.
'Will she be leaving after the ceremony?' he asked with deceptive calm.
'The Earth woman was chosen for what she was as much as you were. She is the granddaughter of General Amador, one of the Earthers that led personally at the Battle of the Line.'
'He offered his own granddaughter to his enemy?' Neroon asked, not looking at Branmer but at the table before them.
'He died at the Battle of the Line. As did her father, Captain Amador. Once the representative from the religious caste explained the ritual to them, the Earthers thought it appropriate that the woman they chose be somehow connected to their version of a warrior caste, as high up as possible, as ours was. She also is what they call a "cultural cultivist." Apparently she observes alien cultures and records them for posterity. So far she has only had dealings with the Centauri. Though they say she has studied our people from a distance since the beginning of the war.' He could tell that Neroon really did not want to be hearing any of this about his wife-to-be. 'In any matter, though your marriage is designed as only one of show, she will stay onboard the Ingata to observe.'
A muscle in Neroon's jaw throbbed as he ground his teeth. Finally, he looked at Branmer and cocked his head to the side.
'Though we killed her grandfather and her father, she agreed to this . . .' He searched for a word for a moment before deciding. 'She agreed to this?'
Branmer finally took a sip of his tea and wrinkled his nose as he found it cold. 'Actually the Earth government said that when they presented the possibility before her, she grew quite excited. They also said that she wished them to express her honor at being selected to be your wife.' He decided not to say what else she had said because it must not have translated well. The woman couldn't possibly have meant what was said. Branmer glanced up to his aide who sat silently fuming. And if she did, well, Valen help the poor child.
"What!" Celina heard herself go shrill with the exclamation, but she didn't care. The audacity of what they were even suggesting –no, demanding- of her was ridiculous. She looked at the face of General Avery and couldn't help it. She started giggling, raising a hand to cover her mouth when she found she couldn't make herself stop.
The old General picked up the few documents on his desk and pounded their end against the desk to straighten them. When he saw that she had yet to stop giggling when he set them down, he leaned back in his chair.
"I admit this wasn't the reaction we were expecting," he said blandly.
Finally, she was able to stifle the laughter but she still felt like it may break through her control at the least bit of provocation.
"And what exactly did you expect, General?"
"We thought you'd at least be intrigued. Celina, almost no body knows about the true life of the Minbari! They don't answer questions and when they do, it's only riddles, so really they don't at all. In your profession, this is the possibility of a life time."
"All I have to do is marry one of them. A warrior at that. Couldn't it at least be one of the religious caste? Maybe even a nice little worker; they're benign enough. But a warrior! Jesus Christ, General! Are you trying to kill me? And you don't even want to know what daddy would have thought of this. In fact I think I sense him rolling in his grave. Wait, they still haven't recovered his body, so it must be my grandfather," she got out of the chair she was sitting in and began walking towards the door.
She turned and saw General Avery standing by the window behind his desk. He moved deceptively silent for an old man.
"Come see what I see," he said simply, looking out the window.
She sighed and gave the door one last look before walking over to join the general beside the window, against her better judgment. Somehow, Celina knew that this man was going to get her to agree to this ludicrous idea of the Minbari. Ever since she lost the two men she cared about most at the Battle of the Line, she had been searching for ways to punish herself. What was this if not practical punishment? Finally, she stood beside him. He pointed to outside so she looked. All she saw was the base. Some people were talking on a bench outside the cafeteria and she could see new recruits doing drills in the distance. Some hard nosed drill sergeant was yelling pretty loud. She thought that if she stopped breathing for a moment, she could hear him all the way over here and inside the cement building.
"Do you see what I see, Celina?" he asked and she sighed.
"I see drills and two privates flirting," Celina said simply.
"What would your grandfather see?"
She rolled her eyes a bit at this. "I don't know. He's dead."
"What would your father see?"
"General, please! They're both dead. They see nothing now but the vacuum of space and some very dark dirt."
General Avery looked down and gave a mighty sigh. "Celina, darling, I didn't want to ask you this. I watched you grow up out there." He gestured with his chin to the grounds outside. "Your father wanted you safe, that's why he got you that spot on that Centauri outpost. He wanted you far from home because he knew what was coming. God, we all saw it coming. From that moment those damn Minbari declared a Holy War against us. I spoke with your father after he got you to that outpost. He said, "God, General, I didn't want to send her away. I keep wanting to believe she's still my baby. But she's a woman now. And even when we're gone, as long as she lives I know she'll do the right thing for our people." And your grandfather, well, we both know how he was about duty. But that doesn't mean he didn't love you, Celina. He'd never force you to make the decision I'm wanting you to make, but he still would have wanted you to consider what is on the table."
"Remind me," she said simply, looking out the window to the recruits doing jumping-jacks in the distance.
"Once you marry the Minbari, you become an icon. Our people can look to you and know that you are securing our future. You become the hope that we have finally put the war behind us and the assurance that it won't come back. Look in the eyes of any Human, Celina, and you will see fear. We just can't believe that the Minbari didn't wipe us out and we silently all expect them to turn around any time and say it was just a ruse to make it even worse when they do decide to kill us. But perhaps you can help quail that fear. I hate to say it, Celina, but you are the perfect woman for this job."
"What would daddy have said," she asked, feeling like a child searching for truth that's so simple and sharp as to hurt.
"He would say that as Alyt Neroon's wife, you will be the safest Human alive," the General said.
"And what would grandfather say?"
"He would say that as Alyt Neroon's wife, Humanity will be safer."
"But humanity will be just as safe with another woman as this Alyt's wife," she pointed out.
"If you want to know, Celina, we already asked a dozen other woman with equal qualifications, but either those high place relatives that gave them those qualifications objected and protested or the woman wouldn't promise not to slit the Minbari's throat in his sleep. We've run out of options, Celina; after you the only choice left is to insult the Minbari by offering too below the Alyt's status or denying them outright. Oh, that reminds me, you promise you won't slit his throat in his sleep or otherwise seek to harm the Minbari, right?" he seemed earnestly concerned. But of course, if the Human woman they chose did somehow kill this Neroon, it probably would start the whole damn war over again.
"I promise. Anyways, I'm sure it's much more torturous than death for him to be married to me."
General Avery smiled for a moment but then looked almost sad, "So then you're agreeing to this."
"General, you've spent the better part of a half hour trying to convince me. Why do you look so sad now that I've agreed?" She smiled at him in hopes of lightening the mood.
"You know by agreeing to this, you are giving up any hope of love."
For a moment, her smile almost wavered, but she sensed that since her family would respect her wishes, whatever they be, he was the only one left to comfort.
"Don't worry, General. I don't believe in love like in all the fairy tales. So I suppose I'm lucky this offer came along, otherwise I would have ended up an old maid," she made a face, "or worse, one of those cat ladies. Of course, maybe I should take a cat onboard the Ingata, just to piss the Minbari off." Her words didn't seem to comfort him as much as she hoped. But what was she thinking? Really. Did she just agree to marry a Minbari? Dear God, she was out of her mind. "However, the opportunity to see this so far rather hidden culture is the chance of a life time and if it works out, I could fall in love with the discoveries. And who doesn't want to be an icon? I can't believe I am saying this, but go ahead and tell them I said something really bogus but flattering."
The general finally smiled while she moved around the desk. "Like what?" he asked.
She waved her hand in the air while she walked to the door. "I don't know," Celina said and then grabbed the door knob. "Tell them I will be honored to be his wife. Oh, oh, oh! And say I look forward to trying to get close to him. Say that exactly or else it won't translate right." She smiled to herself and thought of the poor general telling that to the Minbari delegation. Celina had learned Vik while stationed on the Centauri outpost and knew quite well what she had said would translate to. Essentially, in Vik the phrase trying to get close to someone was the equivalent of saying that she wanted to bed him. With her luck, they probably wouldn't tell the Alyt. Too bad, maybe he was the type of Minbari who would have at least taken the joke for what it was. Of course, maybe he was the type of Minbari who would wish to take her up on that offer. She got in a nasty situation with a couple Centauri over a similar misunderstanding. That day she found out where the Centauri preoccupation of six came from. And had consequently taken a vow of silence on the issue.
Thank you for reading. I would dearly appreciate it if you'd take a moment to make my day and leave me a note telling me what you thought of my story. If you leave an email to contact you by, I would like to thank you for reading and answer any questions you may wish to pose.
Please continue on to the next chapter . . .