The Solar Le Clément hotel:
The Narn known as G'Kar twisted violently in his bed struggling violently to awaken from the nightmare he was experiencing. The Earth Federation people had been destroyed by an ancient power, the Vorlons. He had heard of those elusive aliens but had never seen a living Vorlon or any of their ships. In his dreams however, he saw them clearly; saw those Minbari being wiped out easily enough to make him feel a stab of envy at the power the Federation possessed. But even they couldn't stop the Vorlons from destroying their world. But what he was seeing conflicted with what his mind remembered. The Federation had thousands of ships. Why hadn't they used all of those vessels to save their world and more importantly, now that Earth was destroyed, what would these Humans and their allies do?
Jeffery Sinclair's body was in a cold sweat, strained trying to force his mind to wake up. The scenes being played within his mind was almost too much. The Federation Earth, so much like his own yet so different, had been destroyed by the beings called the Vorlons and that event had caused some thing to be broken. He had no idea of what it was that had been severed but it felt of supreme importance. 'It was only a dream' he whimpered, but although his mind knew it was a dream it would not allow him to awaken. Frustrated, he resigned himself and he began to relax, allowing the dream to continue to its completion without resistance.
Admiral James T. Kirk tossed and turned as he dreamed a nightmare. The feelings of dread weren't due to the grisly events playing inside his mind. No, it was the direction he felt his 'dream' self was headed.
Dream state-USS Enterprise:
Captain's log, supplemental: It's been three weeks since the loss of Earth and not just my home. Vulcan was attacked by these beings known as the Vorlons. As with Earth there was little to nothing left when they finished. The combined fleets of Starfleet and the Empire were finally able to stop them from hitting Andoria with their planet killer. Thirty percent of our combined forces were destroyed before we managed to force them to retreat back to the anomaly. Most effective were the Klingon vessels with their ability to cloak, which confused the enemy. We estimate that over sixty percent of their invading forces were either destroyed or damage including their planet killer. We are unsure however how many more vessels they have, or if and when we will be attacked once more. Andoria was saved for now but if nothing else these aliens are persistent and there is little doubt that they will return to complete what they've started. The Federation has no intentions of allowing what happened to Earth and Vulcan be repeated anywhere else. There has been an unprecedented alliance formed between the Klingons and the Federation and both governments have started fleets of ships which will take the war to those who have attacked us. The Enterprise is being repaired and I have been instructed to head to Memory Alpha. There are things there may be useful in the coming war. The repercussions have shaken the very core of the Federation and I am uncertain where we're headed in the future being. The Federation was created so that different societies could come together in mutual trade and defense and we Starfleet have failed. It is become my opinion that as laudable as it was we may have focused too much on exploration and not enough on defense. There weren't enough ships available when needed for the defense of the core worlds; there wasn't enough time to put men and ships on the line and we paid for that with the loss of life across the entire Sol and Vulcan systems. We are responsible for this. We couldn't save those we loved and were responsible for protecting. All we can do is to avenge their deaths and make sure that nothing like this happens again.
Personal log, Supplemental: I feel- empty. Carol and David are dead, killed by Sheppard. That bastard killed my son. The genesis project was their project. Starfleet had reported the Regulus station destroyed by Klingon disruptor fire. But genesis was in possession of Sheppard. I discovered during the battle that there was at least one Klingon Bird of prey working with his now destroyed squadron. He tried to pin it on the Klingons and would have succeeded if it hadn't been for the war. The bastard killed Carol and my son.
I stayed away, as I promised. I didn't see him as he took his first steps or looked at the stars for the first time. I didn't see him as he grew up. Carol wanted it that way and she wanted him to be in her world not mine, traveling throughout the galaxy always wanting to see what was behind that next star. I kept my promise. They're gone, killed by that bastard over a science experiment. I didn't know that his hatred would last this long. Should have known he'd blame Carol for his own weaknesses. He hated us both and he killed my son. Earth and Vulcan are gone. It's war and in some corner of my mind there's a part of me no matter how despicable can accept that and that's when I realized it. I've lost two children, didn't get a chance to hold either one of them in my arms. There's a void in my heart now, and I can feel it slowly being filled with a darkness that I find myself embracing. I've failed in my responsibilities to the Federation and I've failed to protect my son and his mother. I feel –old and empty. If - only I could forget.
But I won't.
Fifty members of Starfleet sat next to an equal number of Klingon commanders in an unprecedented meeting with the newly appointed Federation President and the Chancellor of the Klingon Empire. War had been officially declared and this historic gathering would mark the beginning of a war that would change the face of the galaxy.
"A most formidable weapon indeed," General Chang said. Seated next to him were several Klingon generals all of them experiencing feelings that raged between horror and undisguised envy at the project that lay before them. "Only Humans would devise something that would make them gods and then delude themselves that they created it for good."
"There is a danger, yes," Admiral Kirk said, "creating and destruction in our hands. The question is do we use it? Are we ready to use such power wisely?"
"If will destroy your enemies, yes!" Chang challenged. His supporters were not as enthusiastic as he and he noticed it. His next words reflected their mood. "These Vorlons and their Minbari servants, for a lack of a better term, attacked and destroyed your home world. They destroyed every settlement in the system. Vulcan is gone. They tried to destroy Andoria. They know we are your allies, which means we are their enemies. This isn't a time for weak Human platitudes. We must destroy them now; take the war to them before they come back. Qo'nos will not stand by and be slaughtered like your Federation worlds now when we have this power to use against them."
"Using Genesis is the proper measured response against the Vorlon Empire," Starfleet Admiral Collauge answered flatly. The short red-faced Human had a frown on his face that would have done any Klingon proud. "None of us here can't afford to believe that they won't come back and finish the job they began. Thanks to your interrogation 'methods'," and he almost hissed the word as he glared at the Klingons, "with the Minbari we have some idea of where to find them. If they think that we're going to cower and hide while they destroy entire worlds then they're fools. They have their planet killers and we have ours. Such sciences should never be used frivolously, but there are times when circumstances demands that we take drastic action."
"Then let's be clear about this," Kirk stated. "The genesis device is a weapon of mass destruction at exists on a scale that we've never conceived of. If we use this then let's not play the morality game. Once this is used there is no going back. We will be consigning billions to their deaths because we 'choose' to do this." He was quiet for a moment. "I have my reservations but this war will have to end now before billions more die. If we must destroy a world to keep dozens of others from meeting the same fate then we should. There is no morality in what we're talking about, only survival. We willingly commit genocide to protect ourselves and accept the consequences or we don't do it at all."
"Agreed," Chancellor Gorkon said. "There is no morality here. There is only the animal, the primal need to survive in us all. It pervades us, makes killing enjoyable. But you are right, Admiral Kirk. This must be thought through carefully and if we walk this path them we will continue until we are done. We can not afford to leave such a dangerous enemy merely wounded. To prevent genocide we must commit genocide. I do not say this lightly. The animals within us all want us to destroy. We enjoy the animal but we will not let it rule us.
As you have argued, this weapon 'is' dangerous. We shall not allow the Romulans to get their hands on such a device. We Klingons understand them better than you. We fight because we love glories of battle. The Romulans would simply use genesis on all of our worlds, so I propose this. We will allow the Federation our most advanced cloaking device technology if you will destroy all of the genesis devices created after we are secure. There will be a limited number of these devices made to be used used. The ones not used will be destroyed. We're not ready for such power and there are others that would destroy us all in order to obtain such power. The knowledge of Genesis must be secured. The Klingon empire will have the protection of the Klingon Empire whenever needed."
The interim-President of the Federation agreed. "Thank you for your offer and the pledge of support," he responded. "We have a few cloaking systems of our own that you may be interested in. Gentlebeings, it's time to make plans. They kicked our collective butts this time. Before we encounter them again, we need to even the odds."
Centauri Prime: real time
Trapped within his fevered dream, Emperor Turhan screamed, muttering in his sleep about what never was. However it was Lady Morella, his wife that suffered the most, because for all of those who dreamed, she was the only one experiencing it while awake who understood the events for what they were. She also knew that she was being allowed to listen in on this 'not vision' her husband was forced to endure. The nightmare had distressed her as well because it triggered her precognitive abilities. She witnessed what was going to happen and fully understood the consequences of such actions would bring to the known worlds of another reality, another universe. She didn't know how she knew but she did. She was a witness to history gone mad. Entire races were about to die because of the death of one Minbari leader. She tried to shunt the images away, but it was useless as she too was dragged along.
Dreams were things of fragments, thoughts of the subconscious as the mind relaxed or in many cases worked on problems left over from the days' challenges. Occasionally they were fantasies or sometimes the stuff of nightmares. None of those definitions applied to the images she was forced to observe. What she saw could only be comparable to a video lecture. She wanted to turn away, wanted to flee the images assaulting here, but she couldn't, something wouldn't let her. Resigned, she began writing down those things that her mind was witness to.
Six months after the meeting, the Klingon warships and a few Federation ships, using a stealth system she couldn't even imagine had carefully traversed the anomaly, bypassing two Vorlon cruisers that had failed to detect them. Yes, apparently she saw that the Vorlons had noticed something but were unable to confirm what they saw and since they were Vorlons they made a horrible arrogant mistake that they couldn't be mislead by something as trivial as a young race's vessel. The cloaked recons scouted the area, eventually finding and mapping in detail the Minbari and surrounding territories without being detected.
Five years after that, close to eight hundred of ships entered the anomaly undetected by the Vorlons who had left a probe in the area. The probes detected unusual energy emissions but not the ships themselves. By then the horrible war between the Humans of her universe and the Minbari had been over for over three years. The Minbari had not exterminated the Humans as everyone had expected them to for some reason and there was an ending to hostilities. None of the governments had known why the Minbari had surrendered at the battle of the line and many of the theories had never been proven satisfactorily, so Lady Morella was stunned, almost dropping her writing instrument when the truth was revealed to her.
Could that be true? She was gripped with terror. If it were true then the Minbari here in 'her' real life would be blended with Humanity and that meant that they were attempting to extinguish a part of their own people. It was small wonder as to why they had kept such a thing secret! She could never tell a soul least her life and anyone who she would tell might be forfeit. The Minbari would never dare allow that knowledge to get out. The repercussions would be catastrophic for the Centauri if the Minbari somehow survived the Federation onslaught that was at their door. But she didn't have time to dwell on such matter now, the dream was continuing.
With so many shocks compiling themselves on her every moment, the female Centauri psychic barely gave that a passing thought. Her entire focus was on something else. Because of her gifts, she was one of the few in here in the known territories that 'knew' of the genesis device. She 'knew' of Spock and his unique heritage before the ISN broadcast on Becerra Alpha One. She 'knew' of the power of the Federation and what they were capable of and that had frightened her for weeks after that revelation. But she also believed that the Humans and their companions were a responsible people. In this dream however, her nightmares were being revealed.
The Vorlons were power and in many ways believed they were gods, not all of them of course, but enough. Nothing could hurt them or so they believed. Even in real life they felt safe in their knowledge and power. nevertheless they had a weakness that they either ignored, somehow missed, or had maybe forgotten. These beings were millions of years old, First Ones as they were called on the ISN broadcasts. Their knowledge was unparalleled and they strode the galaxy as giants. However that was the point and the questions that invaded her thoughts now on so many levels that had given her a headache. If they were so advanced, then why were they so limited in their technology? Had they forgotten more than they had learned? How could the young races possibly hurt them?
Yet, she was witness.
All of the local races knew that over the centuries the Vorlon territories had been breached several times by the young races and every time those ships had been destroyed immediately or never heard from again There were several reasons why this happened that Morella could see why this happened.
First, Vorlon normal space and hyperspace sectors were constantly under surveillance and as such no ship could remain undetected. The second reason was those exploration vessels were simply not strong enough or numerous enough withstand destruction. And thirdly, all races that had traversed their territory in the past thousand years, or so had been modified either by the Vorlons or Shadows and those gene modifications were like beacons to any probe or Vorlon ship in the area.
Days before the Minbari strike, two Vorlon listening posts were destroyed and the Vorlons had no idea what had happened to them. Several scout vessels were dispatched to find out what happened. There was nothing left of the mushroom-shaped structures or the asteroid themselves however the weapon's signatures were quickly identified. The Centauri female could feel the shock permeate throughout the entire Vorlon consciousness.
The Vorlon consciousness was extremely angered and embarrassed by the twin attacks. If the arrogant, young ones had destroyed the listening posts, and all evidence pointed in that direction, then at meant that they were in need of another far more effective lesson, one that they'd not survive. They reasoned correctly that after all of this time, somehow the young ones were attempting some sort of retaliatory strike against them. These arrogant pebbles had no respect for their elders and apparently had not learned their lesson either, and that was something that needed correction. It would have been amusing if these same young ones hadn't killed more Vorlons in the last five years than had died in the last thousand years. Instead it made them deeply angry and the leadership immediately planned to return and remove those responsible as well as everyone in the sector once and for all.
The consciousness determined that the enemy vessels in the area that needed to be taught that lesson first. The problem was finding them. The untamed were not like the young ones under their control. They hadn't been modified by the Vorlons and as such were difficult to read or even detected. Their ships didn't use hyperspace as a means of travel, another problem that the Vorlons and their adversaries had corrected for tens of thousands of years ago when the great argument first began. They also had developed a form of invisibility that was far superior to anything the Minbari or even they had developed. Morella watched entranced as the Vorlons called out their forces. At the edge of their territory, a skirmish broke out. Several smaller cruisers were destroyed, along with an equal number of the enemy ships. That shocked the Vorlons. They'd won the skirmish but the battle had been far too equal in their eyes. Apparently the pebbles had developed new armor and had done so quickly, which was another irritation to the Vorlons. Those pebbles advanced far too quickly which served only to increase the need to remove them as quickly as possible. Almost too late they realized that skirmish had been a feint. The Kosh clanship poured though the data of the probes stationed at the anomaly and discovered the meaning of the energy patterns recorded by those probes. Close to a thousand ships had passed by and they had never even noticed. Once they knew what to look for and how to track it, the entire Vorlon forces were mobilized.
The Ventox colony world, established for tens of thousands of years ceased to exist inside of an hour. The land-based defense forces, never used, were overwhelmed. The few Vorlon ships patrolling the colony were vastly outnumbered and wiped out by a combination of heavy photonic and tri-cobalt torpedoes. Contrary to established belief, Morella saw that the colony world did have some sort of protective shielding not unlike the alpha quadrant forces. However it did little good against the bombardment that followed. The Federationists and their allies burned the planet almost a third of the way to the core before they faded from view. They had used several different weapons including their so-called phaser weapons and antimatter missiles. There were other things, including some sort of heavy beam weaponry that made huge swaths everywhere it touched. Ancient breeding waters boiled, vaporized or were broken into its base components. Mushroom-shaped cities disappeared either in bright flashes of light from photon torpedoes, or because of those beams that either turned them into vapor, or phasered them out of existence. The death screams of everything in the Ventox system galvanized the Vorlons in a way that nothing else ever had since the opening of the gate a million years (from their point of view) earlier.
She belatedly realized that they understand for the first time that this isn't some pitiful, vengeful skirmish, but a real war. Their ships throughout known space rush to return to Vorlon Prime. Plans are hastily made and planet killers are seeded. The pebbles hadn't learned their lesson and in fact had gone out of their way not to learn the lesson taught to them by their elders. Only young ones touched by darkness would dare attack them and because they weren't processed they didn't respect their elders. The Federation, all of its allies and anything touched by them are to be wiped out, completely exterminated. The Vorlons were more angry than frightened by the destruction of Ventox and angry Vorlons were a vengeful sight to behold as with one consciousness they prepared for war against the young ones and any one touched by their darkness.
Morella was suddenly afraid for her life. She'd been given too much information. This was happening in a vision or maybe not a vision but something else. She wasn't absolutely sure what it was but she knew there were outside forces at work. And she knew that if she ever encountered a Vorlon, then it would be able to sense what she would try her best to hide. The secrets she now carried would guarantee her death and any of those she was in contact with. This dream state, this history that never was…
…That was it! It DID exist in another alternate reality, another universe as it were. It was a warning. So profound was this revelation that she almost forgot what she was viewing.
The images were moving faster now. The Vorlons were protecting their home world from their invisible tormentors. The beings of light – was that what they were or was it as they wish to appear as? – had planned to expand and destroy the Federation ships and their allies. The ships were invisible but they emitted plasma and that could be tracked. Hundreds of tracks were identified heading directly towards Vorlon Prime and hundreds of times the speed of light. The Vorlons determined to return through the anomaly, wipe them out, finishing what they had begun in the first place. Vorlon blood was on Human and allied pebbles hands and repayment would be a thousand fold.
At the edge of the home system the battle started. Four thousand semi-sentient Vorlon vessels of every kind were in the system when the reckless Human Admiral James T. Kirk and blood thirsty Klingon General Chang led the attack with their paltry eight hundred ships. Paltry they were but the Vorlons respected them by trying to make sure that they got no where near them. Vorlon energy beams started dissecting space just as the de-cloaking incredibly fast-moving ships returned fire using phaser, disruptor, photon and tri-cobalt torpedoes. Allied shields had been improved over the last five years but Morella cringed as the powerful Vorlon beams still sliced through and destroyed the smaller ships with only two to three direct strikes. Still she knew that her own Centauri forces would have been decimated by the first strikes.
But the Vorlons were suffering losses at a horrendous rate contrary to everything she knew about the First One power and advancement. The tri-cobalt explosives were all but useless when used against shielded ships explosives. With yields of fifteen thousand teracochranes each blew huge holes in the heavily armored but unshielded organic vessels. The weapons were also created several subspace rifts in the surrounding area, rifts that increased with each explosion. Hyperspace generators rapidly became useless now as the rifts started expanding. The Vorlons weren't used to the type hit and run tactics the Federation and the Klingons excelled in hurting them more than once. They considered their own organically –based ships among the fast-moving in space but the enemy ships' speed and control made their ships look slow in comparison and they were taking full advantage of it. There were several attacks where the Federation ships hit the larger Vorlon warships at faster than light speed with their missiles. They were devastatingly effective. She noted that the most effective, most dangerous Federation ships were the three nacelle cruisers. Their beam weapons were different. She gasped as something told her that they were anti-proton based beams. Whatever they touched ceased to exist. Huge Vorlon dreadnoughts were targeted and obliterated. The attacks destroyed a huge number of the heavy hitters but the price had been appalling with most of the heavy attack cruisers both Klingon and Federation being destroyed by the counter fire intercepting them from all sides.
Tactically, Vorlon armadas faced their enemies using superior firepower to destroy their enemies, a tactic successfully used for tens of thousands of years. One-on-one, even the massive three kilometer Shadow warships were no match for a Vorlon war cruiser in a straight fight, neither were the Alliance vessels even with upgrades. With nearly two hundred ships destroyed outright and at least that number damaged beyond the ability to fight back the spirit of the young ones was broken and they began backing off from their attacks. Reassured and seeking the blood of the enemy, the First Ones surged forward. The Federation retreated using their faster than light drives to flee.
Morella had expected something like this. The Vorlons were simply too powerful. However, she suddenly froze, her eyes going wide. Three high-speed missiles had been fired at the Vorlon pursuit ships from a fleeing starship and she knew. She knew.
The Vorlons knew as well, the energy pattern identified by sensors being unmistakable.
The ships closest to rapidly closing projectiles were trying desperately to vector out of the way and generate jump points. Other ships tried to target the missiles before they could explode. Hundreds of ships were trying to generate jump points, each trying to escape what the sensors had told them the weapons were. The living ships were shrieking at their pilots as jump points collapsed due to the hyper and subspace disruptions done by the tri-cobalt weapons. One of the missiles was intercepted. Then the entire consciousness screamed in abject terror as the two surviving proto-matter constructs designed as fleet destroyers detonated. Lady Morella was not impressed by the initial explosion. She had expected something a lot bigger.
The genesis-based, proto-matter construct's visual detonation was insignificant, but the effect wasn't. Even before the explosion reached its brightest flare, every ship in the area simply disappeared. One instant they was there and the next they was gone. An invisible subspace wave had struck them moving faster than she believed possible. Indeed the subspace wave was moving hundreds of times the speed of light. Dozens, then scores, then hundreds, and then thousands of Vorlon ships of every configuration ceased to exist as the wave struck them. The terrified screaming went silent in a matter of moments.
The outer planets, ten in all, and the colonies, and any matter in the area was converted turned into atomic particles. Where huge gaseous worlds had been; now there was only empty space. Absolutely nothing was left as the wave dissipated, its own energy spent. Two minutes later less than one hundred fifty ships were left from a total of almost four thousand. Capital Vorlon forces in the outer system had been gutted.
The survivors couldn't believe it or rather they did but couldn't believe that it had actually happened to them. The young ones had possessed the forbidden knowledge. They were too young to had had invented it themselves, therefore someone must have given it to them! The Shadows were of course the first suspects, but it was quickly discounted. Not even they were insane enough to give such power to these infantile creatures, but the question still remained. The home world was panicked now. They understood all to well that this battle was over. The High command had ordered the destruction of the pebble worlds and now those pebbles insisted in taking some sort of petty revenge and had the power to do so. Apparently they hadn't understood the lesson given them was for their own benefit.
Orders were given to those still coming home to stay away. Messages were sent as to what happened and what was expected to happen. The survival of their species depended on the survivors coming together and rebuilding somewhere new, away from these pebbles until they were strong once more. There was nothing left but revenge for the fallen. As for the High command, if there was any sorrow from the Koshs and the Keheshs, it was because the pebbles were able to strike back with such brutal and unexpected efficiency. Order had to be maintained. That was the opinion of the leadership.
The majority of the other Vorlons didn't care much about order at the moment. Thousands of ships of every description were being made ready to escape from what everyone assumed was another attack coming. No Vorlon could remember a time like this where complete panic reigned across the world.
The upgraded, heavily armored Exeter exited subspace long enough to fire one enhanced torpedo at Vorlon Prime, before jumping back into maximum warp. The attack was sudden and precise. The Vorlon vessels to their credit tried to intercept the pulsating missile but with it traveling at light speed nothing came close. The missile entered the atmosphere and a second later exploded on one of the center masses. The Second Federation ship, Enterprise, also exited from warp and fired a torpedo. However its target was not the Vorlon Home world, but the system's central star.
The torpedo that struck Vorlon Prime detonating on the planetary shields was different from the one that had gutted the fleet. However the shield didn't stop the spreading of the genesis effect around the globe in a matter of seconds, the effects penetrating the protective shield with ease. The programming of this device was simple, designed to split the planet's oceans into its atomic bases of hydrogen and oxygen and to convert all organic matter into its base components leaving a barren rock in it place. Although partially energy-based, the Vorlon species was still tied to the flesh and that doomed them all. Every living creature, every male, female and child entity on the planet ceased to exist. All life on the Vorlon home world was extinguished while the surviving Vorlons in their ships looked on helplessly. The wave continued to spread until it reached the three moons in orbit around the now dead planet.
Lady Morella mourned for the loss of the Vorlon people, however in a small part of her mind she wasn't as outraged as she should have been given the perspective that she'd been witnessed to. Her attention shifted to the lone starship that had just launched the second torpedo. That one, again different from the others was physically larger. The proto-matter core of this weapon was encased by three kilograms of pure antimatter detonated three million miles from the star combining with normal matter. The tree states of matter joined and the effect was instantaneous. The star's color went from deep yellow to blue expanding seconds later and then exploded in a rainbow of color as the genesis wave used its energy to fuel its effect. Moments later, the sun's energy was converted into raw power giving the wave power reach its full potential and spreading through both normal and subspace while turning everything it touched into the simplest element hydrogen. The wave expanded quickly engulfing the remaining Vorlon ships that were trying to flee. It continued, destroying every rock, every remaining planet, every asteroid, every piece of stellar debris everything in the system and the wave continued spreading at thousands of times of the speed of light. The Ventox star system died ten hours later as did the DS158 star system. The destructive energy eventually encompassed thirteen light years in all directions.
The Vorlon Empire had been gutted. The Dorac star system close to Centauri territory was reduced to nothingness before the wave completely dissipated. Lady Morella suppressed the tears. There would be a price to be paid for such actions. The surviving Vorlons would never forget. In what direction this would lead for the Federation and her people as well, she'd never know. The Federation had become a destroyer of worlds and although in her universe he would known as the 'Warlord Kirk' she would forever see Admiral James T. Kirk as 'the Starkiller'.
There was more.
A week or more had passed since the destruction of the Vorlon home world and the surrounding systems, many of which had once thriving Vorlon colonies almost as huge as their home world. Although allies in some form, the Minbari had never been allowed into Vorlon territories, but the Minbari knew that something was amiss. The more sensitive ones, the telepaths had felt a unified scream that had been quickly snuffed out like a candle.
The Minbari telepaths hadn't known that they created by Vorlon manipulation and were sensitized to the Vorlon consciousness being able to hear the psychic death scream of so many ancient entities. What the community did know was that something was horribly wrong. So great had been the disturbance that the Grey Council onboard the Valen'tha situated in hyperspace had been notified. Satai Delenn was worried enough to suggest that an expedition be sent to the edge of Vorlon space. That thought had hardly been formalized when she felt the call. It was so strong, stronger than at any time ever before. Almost stumbling she entered the private quarters of Dukhat. She entered the darkened room. Lady Morella strained to see and she gasped. Vorlons, two of them were huddling next to the wall. Even through their encounter suits both creatures looked agitated and more than a bit frightened.
"Did you call for me?" Delenn had asked respectfully.
She could feel the desperation emanating from the creature. "The pebbles have shattered the mountain." One of the Vorlons faced her. "The avalanche rains upon the ground. Run. Now."
The command to run was so forceful that she was slammed into the bulkhead. Blood ran from her nose as she stumbled out of the room fleeing to the bridge. Nearly falling to the deck, others of her caste saw her and rushed to her aid. "We must leave, now!"
Confused but trained to obey, the others rushed to relay the order.
Only a few of the Federation warships warped into the home system of the Minbari. The ships were larger, more intimidating than the ones shown on ISN at Alpha Becerra One. They were heavier armored and no doubt carried more powerful weapons. Many of them looked like the USS Excelsior commanded by Captain Sulu but with more armor. That made her grimace as the Minbari had placed a bounty almost as large for that ship as they had on the warlord and the pirate. No one was trying to collect it now of course as it was a suicide venture, however everyone knew what the three Federation ships looked like and here none of them quite matched 'real life'.
She saw the first attack against the home world of the Minbari. Two dozen ships comprised of both Federation and Klingon forces, using their stealth systems appeared from nowhere and butchered the unprepared forces protecting Minbar. Not one ship, not one crew member was spared. Jump points were opened and dozens of the missiles both tri-cobalt and antimatter based were fired into it exploding seconds after they entered. Any ships in local hyperspace were buffeted and destroyed by the immense turbulence created by the multiple high-yield explosions. The Valen'tha and its escorts, just beginning to move out were caught in the massive concussion wave and torn apart. Internal explosions and the loss of containment of the artificial singularity finished what were left of the ships. There were no survivors.
The starships systematically destroyed all of the orbital habitats, communications relay systems, and any and all civilian vessels in the system. Long before that she could see the state of absolute panic on the home world just as intense as it had been on the world she named Vorlon Prime. (In truth, the world of the ancient ones was so old that only the Vorlons knew its real name anymore but she being a mere mortal had to name it something.). The jump gate had been destroyed by photon torpedoes and phaser bombardment. Any Minbari ship attempting to respond to the attacks were destroyed as soon as they exited jump space. Some of the allies' ships fired missiles directly into the open vortexes. She had no idea what effect they would have on hyperspace but she knew that the Federation ships had the ability to track ships in jump space and she also knew what the effect of weapons fire in hyperspace would do. Any ship caught in the explosion's wake would be doomed just as the others had been.
Most of the Minbari had no idea why they were being attacked or by whom. Only when they saw the face of a Human speaking to them from orbit on what remained of their communications network did they understand the magnitude of the danger that they faced. A few of the warriors understood what was about to happen and why. The one called the Star Killer Kirk, or as they called him in her world, the Human 'Warlord Kirk', calmly explained who he was and that they, the Minbari, had unjustly attacked his world pulling them into a war they had nothing to do with. He calmly, almost devoid of feelings, explained that his world was destroyed and another had died as a result of this same war that had pulled the Vorlons into the conflict. He explained that the Vorlon home world had been destroyed with all inhabitants. He explained that there had to be a balance as it was the only thing that ensured the survival of the others. He also explained that the use of planet killers were not the exclusive domain of the so-called First Ones. He finally told them that Minbar's people would not feel that much. Lastly he said he would give them a few moments to prepare.
It was the most frightening speech she'd ever heard.
The first barrage of antimatter-based weapons to hit the planet's atmosphere ripped three quarters of the atmosphere from the planet as they were designed to do. The second barrage completed the task. The end took less than ten minutes to turn that beautiful world into a barren waste land full of the dead and those few left alive who were dying. That action was repeated in several star systems located in Minbari territories by other Federation and Klingon vessels at the same time. Ninety-six percent of the Minbari population everywhere ceased to exist within an hour. Space docks, habitats, space stations, and ship storage facilities were destroyed. They left nothing intact.
Lady Morella cried as she felt the life forces being ripped from so many bodies. This was something new, and she silently begged whatever power that forced her to be a witness would take it from her. Stunningly, she perceived a response from a presence something so alien that she initially recoiled from its presence but it was only there for a second and then it was gone.
"Remember," it had said not unkindly.
Shocked she continued to write even though she was unaware she was doing so.
Entranced now, she saw the surviving Minbari warrior caste clanships immediately, and understandably assumed that Humans of Earth were somehow were responsible for such a treacherous atrocity. Few knew of the details about the so-called Earther colony that had broken the Star Riders clan killing Dalek, one of their great leaders. A week later, forty of their ships entered Earth space and slaughtered nearly a three billion inhabitants before they could be stopped by several Andorian stalkers and Klingon starships in the area. Other world governments, appalled at what the Minbari had done offered immediate assistance before Earth could have a chance to close in upon itself. But as for the reason for the Minbari attack, no one on Earth had had a clue as to why until much later. With the treaty violated in such a brutal manner, Alliance Humans and the surviving Minbari would be locked in a blood feud that would bring both populations to the brink of extinction.
There was some Federation assistance. When it came to the Federation at first, there was elation about them, something that quickly turned into suspicion. There had been rumors circulating around Earth Alliance years ago about a group of Humans and aliens calling itself 'the Federation' that had contacted the Antares Colony. The reports from the survivors had been filed and kept from the general public as they were never able to be confirmed. President Levy and Earth Alliance were surprised by the fact that this Federation did exist and was comprised of Humans and aliens working together but were naturally more than skeptical of the facts concerning the Minbari and the unknown species called the Vorlons. Much later, the other races discovered that seven stars located in Vorlon space and the missing star near Centauri territory had disappeared. The Federation aliens, an enigma to all of the locals, had told them of the destruction but no one had believed until Minbar was confirmed barren of all life. By proxy Earth Alliance suddenly found their status among the other races significantly upgraded – and greatly feared. Lady Morella knew she wouldn't be allowed to know how all of this would turn out in the future.
However she did see a glimpse of what happened to the other First Ones. When the Shadows awakened from their slumber, they were at first confused and then angry, and after that they became extremely cautious. Something unimaginable had happened. There were chaos-bringers at work, not under their control. They searched through the rubble, gleaned the truth and decided to stay as far away from the Federation as possible despite anguished entreaties from their philosophical/mortal enemies, the surviving Vorlons. The Shadows believed the untamed ones to be order wrapped in chaos, the best of both worlds and it would be interesting to see how they progressed with no interference from them. It was decided that the Federation had adequately proven the Shadow points of view; most of them anyway and now was not the time to push young ones who could push back so dangerously effectively. Maybe in the future they might change their minds…
…Or maybe not…
Emperor Turhan moaned and lifted his head looking into the eyes of a weeping Morella. He had a nightmare. He was sure of it but like most dreams, it was fading like the last drops of rainwater flowing down the drain. Try as he might he couldn't grasp and hold on. But from the look of his wife she had seen what he couldn't remember. "It was nothing, my wife," he said trying to comfort her.
She smiled through her tears. "Yes my Emperor, nothing at all."
The blond Metron opened his eyes lowly, his energy spent. "All that we have asked for has been done. Thank you."
In response, the Melkotians blinked slightly in response. Their eyes returned to the normal glow characteristic of their species. "We did not know," one of them answered. We were aware of what happened in the past but they killed without cause."
"And the Federation responded as we would have," the blond finished. "It was finished in the most efficient way available to them."
"But the Humans killed," the Melkotian argued.
"Didn't they have a right to respond to the threat?" asked the brunette Metron. He raised his hand. "I understand this is not time for our eternal argument. We are not here to approve or disapprove of what the Vorlons did or how the Federation responded. As you have seen, in that universe the Vorlons attacked protecting their precious circle and were equally attacked in response. In many of the other universes we observed the Federation did not use their primitive proto-matter devices against the Vorlons and the Vorlons prevailed and destroyed them while our counterparts did nothing. They have destroyed countless races in other time lines and in only a few have they chosen not to destroy the younger races under their care."
"You've said that before," Ayelborne stated. "We are all aware of this. The Organian counsel is not interested in what has happened in other universes. We are interested in what is happening here in this universe. This war has the potential to spread into the Alpha quadrant and that is something we will not tolerate. We've stopped the Klingons and the Federation from going to war once."
"But you can't do it again," the blond Metron countered. "The Time war has disrupted your ability to maintain control. And you know what is coming."
"Yes," Ayelborne answered. "It stresses us to even contemplate such a thing."
"You know they will be responsible for protecting countless worlds or they will all fall. The Preserves are aware of this and have allowed some of their ships to use the trans-way and even chose not to prevent ships from two different universes to communicate with each other." There was silence from all of those gathered. He continued: "The Federation is young, semi-civilized and capable of doing great evil. Or," he added, "they will become part of the great good. That is the reason why we have agreed to allow them to see into that other reality. The one known as James T. Kirk is a fulcrum, as is Sheridan, Sinclair, Delenn and G'Kar. But we have all had personal experienced with the Human called James Kirk and we have seen him and have examined him. For a semi-savage, militaristic, chaos bringer, he has his good points. He represents Humanity and the Federation at its best and worse at this point in their development and this is why we Metrons have specifically requested this dream statement. This war is coming to a conclusion, but what he does will determine the fate of the Federation, the Alpha quadrant and those in Vorlon contested territory. We have given him the tools. Like the others, he will not consciously remember, but the seed has been planted and it grows even now. Let us hope that he chooses wisely when the time comes."
"Yes, let us hope he chooses wisely," the Melkotian ambassador announced. "The Vorlon High Council has not attacked the Federation only because we stand in their way. If they find an excuse then they will. Their precious circle has been broken and they will seek revenge in time. ."
"They will try and force the Shadows to become involved, "both Metrons said simultaneously. "If they do this then we will go to war."
"We do not believe that the Shadows will interfere," the second Organian intoned. 'They are most satisfied with the treaty. There is no reason for them to lose everything they have gained by going to war."
"Be it known to all that the Collation of Elders will not object if the Vorlons violate the terms of the agreement imposed on them," said a huge humanoid creature made of rocks. Its eyes were made of liquid lava and its voice sounded as if it had due vocal chords. "But at the appointed time, they will violate the treaty. We have foreseen this."
"As have we," Ayelborne stated. "It is inevitable."
"Then the Federation will have to defend themselves."
"They will be ready if Kirk chooses correctly."
"So be it."
Shengol Star System
Federation-Allied battle fleet
USS Enterprise - Admirals quarters:
"Admiral Kirk, your presence is requested on the bridge."
"Thank you, Lieutenant," he moaned stifling a yawn. "Is there a problem?"
"Sensors have detected a Minbari cruiser in hyperspace headed in our direction."
"Just one. It's transmitting tight beam tachyon signals. They want to talk. "
Sitting up now, he took a moment to stretch and glance at the clock. Straining, he put on his glasses. "A whole six hours this time," he muttered.
"Place the fleet on condition yellow. Keep me informed. I'll be there shortly. Have some coffee ready and none of that synthetic stuff this time."
It was time to get up. The last time the Minbari came calling they tried to attack the fleet, or rather those Ashen-Minbari did. They failed and the resulting battle had turned hyperspace into a raging storm stretching several light years in every direction. 'Getting old' he thought. He used to jump right up. 'Not as much anymore' he mused. His procrastination stage over, he got up quickly and dressed. It was strange that the Minbari would be sending a single ship towards the taskforce, braving hyperspace in the condition that it was in was either the height of foolishness or desperation. He suspected the latter.
Showered and freshly clothed, he opened the door to his quarters and stopped or a second before continuing. Something tickled the back of his mind. He suspected the Minbari ship was coming to offer terms while they still could. It was the most logical thing especially braving hyperspace in the condition that it was in just to get here. General Order twenty-four was still in effect and he wasn't about to change that. There was a small part of him that almost wished that they wouldn't surrender. They were savages, willing to destroy an entire species in order to avenge one being. They already killed tens of millions. Maybe the score should be evened, a balance maintained. Immediately those thoughts disturbed him. He shook his head.
It was so easy to kill.
The hard choice was not to do it.
To be concluded in 'A THIN VENEER'