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Ships in the night

Chapter Text

The Grey council were gathered in the Council chamber of the Valen'tha, to the watch the final battle against the Earthers as it unfolded.

Many feelings swirled silently through the assembled Satais, two extremes existed, the warriors were glad that the human barbarians were finally going to be dealt with, while others, particularly Satai Delenn of the religious caste, wished with all her heart that it had never come to this.

The battle unfolded as expected the humans fought and died as the Minbari warriors killed them with impunity.
“They fight valiantly,” Delenn commented.

“It does not matter, their forces will be done with soon, all too soon,” retorted Coplann. “This war has already gone on long enough.”

Delenn gazed unhappily at the unfolding carnage as the vanguard of the Minbari fleet engaged the Earthers, deep in her soul she knew this was wrong. Desperately she looked for anyway to prolong or end this conflict, to avoid staining the Minbari soul with the lifeblood of Humanity.

Delenn's words failed her but Fate was fickle this eve and intervened. Her reverie was interrupted as a spatial anomaly blossomed into existence between the Minbari and Earth fleets.

An old battered but massive cylindrical vessel erupted from the rend in space and placed itself between the advancing Minbari fleet and Earthforce fleet.

“Attention Minbari, this is the Nova Prime, under the terms of the Nova Corps pan-worlds jurisdiction treaty you have the right to surrender now or face immediate consequences! Do you understand these terms as I have explained them?” boomed an angry voice in perfect Minbari, as it reverberated around the council chamber.

The Satais looked amongst themselves for a second in confusion before Coplann frowned. Angrily he signalled the Alyt attending the Council to open a channel to the interloper. Wrathfully he retorted, “Who are you to dare command us?”

“I am the Nova Prime and this is your final warning! Cease fire now or else I will be forced to engage!” the voice ordered angrily.

Incensed many of the Satais sneered at this pronouncement.

“You would stand against the Light that has stood against the shadows for a thousand years?!” demanded Coplann with, “Your battered old vessel is no match for us!”

“Wait..” began Delenn.

“Wait for what Delenn?” Coplann rounded on her, “this interloper thinks to challenge the might of the Minbari with one ship? And you would have us wait to deal with this affront?” Coplann demanded irate. Many of the Satais nodded in agreement.

“Yes I would have us wait, that was not a jump point and we have no idea who this Nova Prime is! Let find us more about him before we do anything,” Delenn exclaimed fiercely.

“It does not matter, he has but one ship at his command. He is no threat to us!” interceded one of the other Warrior Satai.

Delenn opened her mouth to retort again,but the unknown voice beat her to it.

“Time's up!” the Nova Prime exclaimed.

Delenn frowned, she watched as a streak of light rapidly left the alien ship. It arced with with unerringly accuracy towards the nearest Minbari warship, an unassuming Tinashi-class frigate.

The Grey council gasped in disbelief as the Tinashi exploded spectacularly. A second explosion quickly caught their eyes as a Sharlin spun out of control to collide with its escorts, it's drive fin gone and leaking atmosphere. Seconds later it exploded taking it escorts with it.

“All ships target and destroy the interloper ship now!” screamed Coplann in rage finally finding his voice.
The Minbari fleet had been momentarily stunned by the suddenness and brutality of the assault but Coplann's relayed orders helped to break their momentary paralysis.

Their nearest ships ignored the battered Earth Alliance vessels and focused on the Nova Prime's vessel. Two Tinashis reached the interloper first and unleashed the full might of their neutron beams into the side of the vessel.

The green beams never touched the hull of the ship and impacted on the ship's gravimetric shields.
A second later as the Tinashis fired a second broadside the vessel returned fire. Bright yellow beams lanced out and pierced the front of the Minbari frigates to come out the other sides.

The Tinashis listed as their ruptured hulls leaked atmosphere and crew members for a moment before their powering singularities lost containment. The Tinashis exploded.

The shockwaves from the explosions didn't even move the interloper vessel.

The Grey Council stared uncomprehendingly the spectacle unfolding in front of them.

The Blood of Saints, a Sharlin-class Minbari Warcrusier and its battle group drew into weapons range of the interloper ship. On board, Shai Alyt Rannaonn stared at his tactical array with smouldering rage in his eyes at the interloper ship that had abused the Minbari fleet so much in so little time.

“We are in range,” his second commented.

“All ships fire! Leave none living!” he commanded angrily.

Green neutron beams lashed out at the interloper.

The second frowned as he scanned his tactical displays, “Sir, they have some sort of shield protecting them. It shares similarity with Abbai shielding technology, but it is immensely powerful.”

Rannaonn frowned, “Fire everything, including the Antimatter canon, at this monster, we will show them what it means to provoke the Minbari.”

The second obeyed.

The Blood of Saints's Missiles and Antimatter blasts joined the salvoes of Neutron beams fired at the interloper but to no avail.

“Minor fluctuation in their shields,” the second reported after a few salvoes hit the interloper.
Rannaonn frowned, “Impossible-”

His rant was cut off as he was thrown to the deck as a nearby Sharlin exploded, the shockwave pounding on Blood of Saints's crystalline hull.

“The Pride of Minbar is gone sir!” reported the second, half blind with rage.

“Return fire!” ordered Rannaonn angrily.

Another explosion buffered the Blood of Saints, signifying the death of another ship.

“Sir...the interloper ship has not fired upon us,” stammered the second uncomprehendingly.

Rannaonn gave his second a piercing look, “Then what in Valen's name is destroying my ships?!”

“There's something out there sir, sensors are attempting to lock on but its moving too fast to properly visualise, power readings from it are off the scale!” the second answered. Gone was his rage, replaced with mystification and fear.

“Show me!”

The Shai Alyt stared at his displays, a streak of energy blasted past Blood of Saints, heading towards a Tinashi at the edge of his battlegroup. The Tinashi was unaware of the approaching danger as it continued to pour weapons fire into the interloper vessel. Rannaonn watched aghast as the streak of of energy didn't slow down and rammed into the Tinashi, which promptly exploded. As the explosion subsided he watched in horror as the streak turned towards his ship.

“Lock on and fire on that thing!” he roared.

Weapons fire shifted from the interloper vessel to this unidentified threat. For the all the threat's incredible speed it danced with uncanny manoeuvrability to dodge the beams fired at it.

“All ships fire on that thing!” he commanded angrily.

Seconds ticked by as it came closer and a cold hand clenched his heart.

A giant explosion sounded in Rannaonn's ears and he knew fear and pain, then finally darkness.

The Grey Council witnessed the death of Shai Alyt Rannaonn's flagship in mute disbelief.

“In Valen's name! What is that thing?!” Delenn asked of the universe.

“That was Richard Rider, the Nova Prime,” answered an unfamiliar female voice from behind Delenn.

Delenn jumped and faced the voice. She found herself face to face with a blue skinned female alien in a gold and blue-grey form fitting uniform. A gold helmet dominated with a red star above the eyes of the wearer sat on the intruder's head.

Delenn stared at her for seconds unable to comprehend what she was seeing.

“Intruder!” shouted an Alyt that was attending to the Council. He ran at the intruder and threw himself at her, intending to body-check her to the ground.

He flew through the air and passed through the intruder as if she wasn't there and found himself lying flat on his face on the deck. He whorled around to stare at the intruder thinking she had somehow dodged his attack.
He found her standing there laughing, “You know I'll give you a ten for effort and determination. I am a hologram, I've hacked into your systems and am projecting my image to you here from the Nova Corps starship, Resolute Duty.”

Delenn, shaken to her core at this creatures breach of their security, stared defiantly at her, “Who are you?”

The female intruder turned to face face her, slowly she cast her gaze around the room at the wary and hostile group arrayed in front of her.

“I am the Xandarian Worldmind,” the woman answered simply.

“What?” Delenn asked in confusion.

The female smirked, “In simplistic terms your minds can understand, I am a living computer. I carry the sum total of Xandarian culture and technology, as well as the memories and personalities of all Xandarian citizens and Nova Corps Centurions. I am also guardian of all things Xandar and of the Nova Force.”

Delenn continued to frown, each answer only brought more questions, she shared quick glances with the other Satais before turning back to the Worldmind.

“Why have you come here?” she asked.

“For centuries, the Nova Corps have been an intergalactic police force. We have kept the peace and prevented travesties of justice from occurring. And first and foremost we do not stand idly by and allow genocide to happen!” she huffed fiercely.

“Where is this Xandar? I have never heard of it,” Delenn asked.

“Unfortunately, Xandar no longer exists. It was destroyed by the Annihilation wave.” Worldmind answered.

“Annihilation wave? What is that?” asked Delenn in surprise.

“The Annihalation Wave was Annhilus's combined armadas, combined they spanned light years across. Annhilus was master of the Negative Zone, he pierced the the dimensional barriers between our universe and his negative universe and proceeded to butcher his way across the stars in a bid to wipe out all life. He slaughtered billions in a very short period of time-hence the name Annihilation Wave,” Worldmind finished succinctly eyeing the Grey council as she spoke.
Delenn stared at the creature claiming to be a computer trying to come to terms with the words and inconceivable events being expelled from its mouth.

“What madness is this?! Attack our vessels without provocation, infiltrate our inner sanctum and just to spew these unbelievable lies?!” Coplann screamed in rage.

Worldmind coldly stared at him, “I have not stated a single falsehood since I have come among you. Everything I have said is the truth.”

Delenn frowned, dismayed and disturbed by the calmness and revelations that this computer throw at them. “Why are you here?”

“I would have thought that was obvious. I am here to give you a second chance to surrender. Earth will not be destroyed today. Where or not you will live to see that is the only thing in question,” Worldmind calmly stated. She raised her hand and pointed up at the holographic display of the ongoing battle.

Delenn raised her eyes up and stared at the display. She gasped as she saw the streak of yellow energy coming towards the Valen'tha.

“Here, let me magnify for you,” Worldmind said helpfully.

The holographic image shifted and the the Grey Council saw for the yellow streak for what it was.

A masculine humanoid figure flew through the void. Arcs of energy coruscated across his form. He wore the same type of uniform as Worldmind with some differences.

As he approached the Valen'tha, and his destination become apparent to the Minbari fleet, a Sharlin flew into his way to block his path to the Grey Council's ship, all guns blazing.

The Grey Council watched in horror as he didn't even dodge the weapons fire that had made even the Shadows pause in past campaigns. The beams hit and did nothing to waylay the Nova Prime. Neither did the Sharlin as the Nova Prime passed through it.

“No that is impossible...” mumbled one of the Satais in disbelief.

“Obviously it isn't,” declared Delenn, in fear.

She turned to face Worldmind. Their eyes met and Worldmind smiled wolfishly before calmly giving her ultimatum, “You have sixty seconds to surrender, before the Nova Prime destroys this ship.”