Crossover The Greater Game (Babylon 5/BattleTech)

Nice update.

This is going to backfire on the Capellans big time as EA is not going to respond in the way that they expect. Even just 5 Omega jumping in is a major threat as these things are comparable in size to a McKenna and have the firepower to match. EarthForce also has the experience and doctrines to take out planetary defence grids so they could employ them here. They could also begin boarding or destroying Capellan jumpships as even one destroyed or captured is concerning multiple being so multiple ones would be a crippling blow to the Capellan Confederacy.

Narn energy mine launchers would be very usefull to swat massed fighter strikes, though it makes little sense for EA to have them. Much better for Omegas to interdict jump points and swat / seize any jumpship that appears. If EA is willing to reveal B5 jump engine tech, have the squadron jump in at zenith / nadir point, slowboat towards the planet to lure planetary fighterwings out, to engage ideally at the edge of their operational range. As the fighters mass to attack away from the planet, nuke the formation and jump out from the engagement zone and into planetary orbit.
Narn energy mine launchers would be very usefull to swat massed fighter strikes, though it makes little sense for EA to have them.
The Narn sold the EA weapons and weapons technology during the Minbari war. Human warships canonically have energy mine launchers, though usually only one per ship. So the ERA has them, but I'm not sure if they are practical to be used as flack.
Yes. Reverse-engineered Centauri ones in specific.

They don't, unless you can demonstrate a source that says so? Preferably on-screen from the series?

With Babylon 5 you can use the rpg source books as well since they considered canon. Though I can't recall where the idea that they have energy mines comes from as the two big cannons at the front in the lower hull are either mine launchers or a type of extremely heavy plasma cannon. The canon can not seem to make up its mind in that regard.
Even just 5 Omega jumping in is a major threat as these things are comparable in size to a McKenna and have the firepower to match.
Likely come with 3-6 Omegas and/or Novas with a screening flotilla. Probably 1 heavy carrier as well as some dedicated ELINT ships.
the Capellans just killed a telepath under the flag of a diplomatic mission. Psi Corps will not rest until bodies start stacking.
Nothing unites EA-humanity like an existential threat!
Chapter 19
Geneva, Earth
Capital of the Earth Alliance.

Elizabeth Levy had forgotten what it had been like to be woken at the small hours, a grim faced aide informing her of some disaster or crisis. There had been a time when it seemed to happen on a daily basis, a fleet lost, an outpost destroyed, another Minbari success. For almost two years now, that hadn't happened, things had been normal, or at least as normal as they were ever going to be. The life of even a peacetime President was never easy, but compared to the start of her term, this had been a dream.

Today had reminded her of the darker times, the news demanding. She dressed hastily and made her way over to her office, where her familiar inner circle of experts had gathered, notably absent one David Sheridan. The diplomatic effort had certainly carried risk, though pirates had been the main concern, duplicity by one of the hosts had been considered.

Levy had sent them anyway, the risks balanced by the benefits. The strategy seemed to be working. The EA, if not exactly welcomed by all, had at least made some positive contacts and was beginning to open up to trade and day to day diplomacy. It was all starting to feel normal again. She had even scheduled the delayed presidential elections for early next year. And now this had happened and it had reminded her that things could always fall apart.

"And that is the full situation," Vic Chapel rounded up. "We have direct commlinks set up with Prince Davion and Archon Steiner, they should be connecting in a few minutes. Coordinator Kurita didn't respond."

"Give me some options, General." Levy rubbed her eyes.

"We only have five combat ships capable of making the journey to Sian, our initial Omega class destroyers." General Denisov was speaking flatly. Like Levy, he had started to believe there might actually be peace for a time. "We could deploy our Explorer ships, they also have long range FTL drives, but their combat abilities are limited."

"Will it be enough for a rescue mission?"

"It would be extremely dangerous," he related honestly. "We have little intelligence on our target, but defenses are expected be heavy with hostile fighters, dropships, and ground forces on alert ready to intercept us."

"The Agamemnon and Apollo are both equipped with docking collars able to transport dropships. They were added in the final phases of their construction." General Lefcourt added. "We have enough old pirate dropships to transport a division of troops, but we lack the practical experience to deploy them effectively."

"We are experimenting with dropship operations, but we are a long way from employing them practically." Denisov nodded. "If our first real attempt at a mass dropship landing is on the capital world of a major power, in the face of prepared defenses against elite mech regiments, I guarantee nobody we send down is coming back."

"Alright, so a full scale attack isn't practical, what about a more limited mission?"

"If we want a rescue, that is probably our only option, a regiment or two of Rangers deployed from the destroyers," Denisov laid out. "We can get them down by assault shuttle and back up, but they will be totally reliant on the warships for cover. No fighters, no tanks, no artillery. Just naval support."

"Our warships can do the job, but the weapons we use are designed to cause catastrophic damage to mile long spacecraft," Lefcourt cautioned. "Even at low power settings, they hit hard, and in an urban environment, damage to the city will mount quickly."

"We might inflict a lot of civilian casualties?" Levy asked.

"We might," Chapel answered. "But the immediate concern is we don't know exactly where our people are being held. We could end up bombing the hostages we are supposed to be rescuing."

"The Rangers can handle any hostile infantry, and with naval support can probably stop a mech or armored vehicle attack, but we should expect very heavy casualties," Denisov made sure it was very clear. "We also do not know the strength of the enemy orbital defenses, but should expect them to be heavy. We may not be able to hold orbit long enough to finish the search and rescue."

"Do we have any other options?"

"I assume negotiating is out?" Lefcourt asked.

"Completely." Levy nodded. "If we do, this will just happen again, and again, and again."

"We can attempt to take our own hostages," Chapel raised. "Their homeworld may be well defended, but other locations aren't. We have enough former pirate ships to sneak into a Capellan system, grab some nobles or key individuals, and then arrange a swap."

"Sounds a little illegal, Vic."

"Well, Madam President, Chancellor Liao is acting like a medieval king where hostage taking was just another negotiating tactic. If he won't abide by our rules, maybe we should play by his," the EIA chief recommended. "I can have teams on the move by the end of the day, but its going to take a long while to get out there."

"Six weeks or so," Denisov specified. "Maybe a little faster if we ride the engines, but as these are new ships with new technology, I'd suggest caution."

"We can launch an attack against Capellan infrastructure, a brief strategic campaign," Lefcourt raised. "Hit their logistics, manufacturing, communications."

"Communications are mostly under a neutral third party, COMSTAR, and while they are looking very suspicious, they are not an enemy combatant," Chapel noted. "But striking economic targets may be valid."

"Alternately, we can throw our full support behind the Federated Suns and their war on the Capellan border," Denisov suggested. "Orbital supremacy plus some special forces raids would make life much easier for Prince Davion's armies."

"Speaking of Madam President, it's about time," Chapel reminded. "Shall I hook the screens up?"

"Please." Levy nodded. "Let's see what our partners have to say."

The room of senior officials shifted their attention to the far wall of the presidential office, the wooden panel adorned with the Earth Alliance seal rising into the roof to reveal a large monitor that flickered into life. The screen was split left and right. On one side, First Prince Ian Davion was seen settling down and leaning over what was obviously a portable communication console. Behind him, several green and tan uniformed personnel crossed back and forth, the Prince presumably broadcasting from a field command post. Archon Katrina Steiner occupied the other side of the screen, sitting alone in a darkened room with no other obvious presences.

"First Prince, Archon, thank you sincerely for this meeting." President Levy began her address. "I am glad all three of us can speak like this. I only regret our first conference is in such stark circumstances."

"My thoughts too, President Levy," Ian Davion responded, voice a little raised as activity bustled around him. "The Capellan actions are unconscionable."

"I agree." Katrina Steiner spoke too. "But it is good to put a face and a voice to your name, President Levy."

"Thank you for relaying the initial demands from Chancellor Liao to us, First Prince. I trust you are also fully aware Archon?"

"I am."

"I also invited Coordinator Kurita to this conference, but he declined, the affairs of minor powers are not his concern."

"That sounds like him." Davion nodded. "Have you considered your response, Madam President?"

"We are finalizing that now." Levy glanced around the room. "We have no intention of bowing to these demands, but before I make a choice on what action to take, I wanted to speak to you both. My government lacks a lot of understanding still, it would be foolish of me not to seek advice from those more knowledgeable."

"A wise move, Madam President, and not an easy admission to make," Katrina recognized.

"How many lords have ever asked for help from others?"

"Few and far between," Ian agreed with his peer. "I am going to send you our dossier on Sian, I've asked my people to hand it over to your Ambassador on New Avalon. It's as up to date as we can make it and should give you an idea of enemy strengths and dispositions."

"That will be tremendously helpful, First Prince, thank you."

"Do you have a favored plan, Madam President?" Katrina asked.

"We would prefer a rescue." Levy decided. "But we don't have the power to guarantee success. Our alternatives are to strike Capellan targets until it becomes too painful for them to keep our people."

"Knowing Maximilian Liao, he might call your bluff and start executing hostages until you stop," Ian warned. "He doesn't see you as a peer and is well known for taking extreme actions."

"Chancellor Liao doesn't care about the hardship of his people," Katrina echoed. "He'd sacrifice a billion lives to preserve his ego."

"That is true." Ian easily agreed.

"But there is more." Katrina warned. "You could destroy their infrastructure, perhaps nuke their worlds, kill their jumpships. It will send a message. Everyone will see what you can do and will fear you. But it is a fear that goes with hate. If you can do this to Liao, are we next? All will hate you and demand action. You will be besieged in your worlds, raided, despoiled, and one day there will be war. Perhaps you will win, perhaps not, but this fear and hate profits us nothing."

"You might have some success in the end, but it will be a hollow victory. I don't think you will see your people again." Ian shook his head. "If you are open to the idea, I may have a solution."

Davion leaned back and looked to his right, waving over someone in the distance before turning back to the screen.

"The situation here on New Aragon is almost resolved, we'll have the planet by the end of the year." The First Prince announced. "Therefore I am prepared to detach some forces to support your mission."

"Some forces, First Prince?"

Davion leaned aside as his guest pulled up a chair beside him, a dark eyed bearded man she recognized from earlier briefings.

"Colonel Wolf, Wolf's Dragoons, Madam President." He introduced himself. "I had the honor to fight alongside your army at Tortuga, and I briefly met David Sheridan on New Avalon."

"I recognize your name and reputation, Colonel."

"I am ready to detach Colonel Wolf to assist you." Ian offered with a smile. "They are excellent warriors and already have some insight into how your forces operate."

"It should be easy enough for us to integrate into your command structure." Wolf confirmed. "If you are willing, I can deploy two full regiments to assist you."

"We are launching a direct attack on the Capellan capital, Colonel." General Denisov made sure the point was clear. "The risks involved are extreme."

"If you can get us in and get us out again, we'll be ready to take the job on." Wolf smiled coldly. "A raid on Sian would be considered impossible. If we can pull that off, we're going to be legends."

"An elite mech force would probably be able to hold the line long enough for our Rangers to secure the hostages," Denisov reasoned. "It improves our chances considerably, but casualties are still going to be inevitable."

"It's what they pay us for."

"Very well then, if my Generals think it will improve our odds, I gladly accept your offer of help, First Prince." President Levy gave her approval. "You have the gratitude of the Alliance."

"I humbly accept it." Ian gave a brief nod. "This favors my aims too, of course. A strike on Sian is a massive propaganda victory and will galvanize my forces for the next steps in this war. We both gain from this, Madam President, and it is something neither of us can do alone."

"Diverting to New Aragon doesn't add much to the schedule, and we can carry the Dragoons on the Apollo and Agamemnon," Lefcourt calculated. "It's a sound plan."

"I can assign General Fraser to act as liaison, coordinate between our troops and Colonel Wolf, formulate a plan based on the intel from the First Prince," Denisov reasoned. "There may be hidden problems as we progress, but I'd say, provisionally, this can work."

"Can you be ready in about five weeks?" Lefcourt asked.

"We can be ready in five days." Wolf answered proudly. "We'll be ready to go when you are."

"Then it is settled." Ian slapped his hands together and grinned widely. "Together, we'll give the Capellans something to really cry about."

"I would like to raise something for the future." Katrina now stepped in. "Chancellor Liao has breached one of the unspoken rules of diplomacy and warfare and he will reap the consequences, but only because you are willing to take direct action. If you had not, nobody else would be compelled to punish him either."

"How do you mean, Archon?"

"There is no hard legal framework, no legitimate rules which carry punishment agreed upon by each nation. At least not anymore," Katrina outlined. "These are savage times, times where the conventions of war are mere suggestions and someone like Maximilian Liao, who gives no care for appearances, violate these principles at will. But it was not always so."

"You're talking about the Ares Conventions, Archon?" Ian recognized.

"I am." She confirmed. "Before the collapse of the Star League, in more civilized times, warfare was guided by the Ares Conventions. These recognized that battle was inevitable, but sought to minimize the destruction and enforce honor upon combatants. They did not stop war, but they did create a code of good conduct which all abided by, even House Liao."

"Mostly," Ian chipped in. "At least when both sides had signed the papers."

"Are you suggesting something similar?" President Levy wondered.

"I'm suggesting restoring the Ares Conventions as they were." Katrina made it clear. "Your arrival, Madam President, intentional or not, has greatly upset the status quo of the Inner Sphere, and if you do send a fleet of warships to Sian, it will cause even greater upset. It is vital we counter this, and I believe the Ares Conventions will do so."

Levy could see the Archon's concerns, perhaps they were well founded.

"I'd like to look through these conventions, Archon Steiner."

"I can include a copy for your Ambassador." Ian offered. "The Archon is correct, the scrapping of the conventions was arguably a major step toward the cataclysm of the Succession Wars."

"I firmly believe that if the Ares Convention was still active, none of us would be where we are now." Katrina showed a little passion. "And countless billions of lives would have been saved."

"It might be difficult to bring them back today." Ian injected a little reality. "Restricting the scale of warfare robs us of our ability to achieve decisive large scale victories. It makes the chances of securing the title of First Lord even more unlikely."

"With respect, First Prince, as we are now there can never be decisive large scale victories. Our ability to wage such wars no longer exists. We will simply formalize what is already de facto reality."

"I am open to talks, but I have my doubts the others will agree." Ian shook his head. "But I commend your vision, Archon, and your desire to preserve lives."

"I would prefer lasting peace, but for now First Prince, Madam President, we should try to build something positive from this crisis."

"I'll be happy to read them through, and I of course support any form of diplomatic resolution to a problem." Levy agreed. "Unfortunately, at least for now, I can't see a peaceful answer to this crisis."

"I will try and speak with the Chancellor," Katrina offered. "Perhaps he will listen to a fellow House Lord."

"And if he doesn't, I'll be ready with a more direct response," Ian promised.

"Then I think we have a plan. Thank you both for this meeting, I feel we've made real progress." President Levy relaxed a little. "I hope we can speak again soon"

Levy ended her transmission, the two great lords keeping their own channels open for a little while longer.

"The Ares Conventions?" Ian Davion smiled. "What are you playing at Archon?"

"Exactly what I said, enforcing structure on a chaotic situation, First Prince," Katrina returned simply. "What do you think happens next, when a squadron of warships arrives at Sian, bombs the planet from orbit, supports a raid on the Forbidden City itself?"

"I think it sends a message," Ian considered. "That things are escalating, that even the home planet of a great house is vulnerable to direct attack and there is nothing they can do to stop it."

"Exactly, the second this happens, we are going to see the return of the Age of Warships. Everyone will immediately demand a fleet of their own, a strong planetary defense over every world, unlimited production of high yield nuclear weapons. Can you imagine, First Prince?"

"I can, and any lord that refuses will lose power and be replaced by a panicked and desperate people."

"Precisely, we will have no choice but to restart warship production, and what does that entail?" Katrina asked. "Every spare penny we have, every great mind, the maximum resources of each great house. We slow down or halt development virtually everywhere else in order to build the infrastructure for warships, greatly increasing the hardships of our people. We will virtually bankrupt ourselves to build a handful of vessels that die in the first twenty minutes of combat, as we all suddenly remember why warships went extinct in the first place."

"I can see your point," Ian allowed. "It's an arms race that cripples us and leads to nothing."

"Or worse we succeed, and the next war is a return to the era of the First Succession war, a war between strategic weapons. After all, we have paid so much for these devices at the cost of every other option. Why not use them?" Katrina tightened her jaw. "This was the logic that nearly doomed us once before, and I know we have not learned from it."

"You really think the Ares Conventions is the answer?"

"We are in the new age of the warship, it is inevitable once Sian is attacked. We have to try and limit that, to make sure warships do not return as the dominant weapon of war. The Conventions will help us avoid that crippling arms race and prevent a panic. It will also be a great step forward, the first truly joint decision made by the Inner Sphere in centuries."

"Will the others go for it? Kurita, Marik, Liao?"

"Liao will, about five minutes after he sees what this new age could look like." Katrina guessed. "The others will have to see the logic. If we do not restrict warships, we will all be ruled by the power with the biggest fleet. And it isn't any of the house lords."

"So this is also to neutralize the threat of the Earth Alliance, to take away their largest advantage," Davion recognized.

"Not neutralize, just manage," she clarified. "The old conventions appointed the Terran Hegemony as neutral arbiter over any disputes, a position of particular influence. The Hegemony is gone and while COMSTAR wishes to replace it, they have no power of enforcement."

"But Levy does." Ian understood. "So you tempt them to sign by giving them the old Hegemony role, make them the arbiters of the treaty, the ones to judge disputes. A place of neutral power and influence, but not a threat."

"Ambassador Sheridan said the Alliance wanted good relations, but also to remain as neutral as possible. This gives them exactly what they asked for, strong diplomatic credentials and direct contact with every leader."

"And gives us what we need by removing the threat of getting nuked from orbit by an unstoppable horde of battleships." Ian understood. "My compliments, Archon, you will use the threat of warships to sneak in all the other good things the Conventions had, and by using a well known historical document the houses already signed once before, you make it very hard for anyone to refuse."

"It is a solution that was waiting for a problem, and this I think counts," Katrina confirmed. "This is our best chance to start the process of stopping the destruction of our era and building a better reality. Will you help, First Prince?"

"As much as I can, Archon."

Sian,Capital of
the Capellan Confederation.

The safe house had the look of an average thrown together dwelling, poured concrete and small windows cluttered with more possessions than could really fit. Local police had checked it over a few times, the owner a fierce woman in her seventies who glared daggers at the police each time they barged in. Fortunately, their efforts were haphazard and not good enough to overcome the Maskirovka built hidden room nestled in the basement, where Jiang had spent the last few days. It was actually quite nice as hidden spaces went, better than the one he had spent a month in on a Narn colony a few years ago, and the food provided by the home owner was exceptional.

"Everyone who hides out here puts on weight. Old Mrs. Wanshi makes some damn fine bowls." Candace Liao descended the steps, removing the wrapped around scarf hiding her features. "Funny, because she is probably the best poisoner of her generation."

Jiang paused halfway through a spoonful of broth, then shrugged and kept eating.

"If this is my last meal, at least its a good one."

Candace dragged over an old wooden chair and dropped herself in it. Even in disguise she was striking. Jiang kept his guard up at the thought. She had placed him here, kept the wolves from the door, but he was still hazy on her motivations. He had the story she had told him, but he doubted that was everything.

"Is it safe for you to visit me?" Jiang asked. "Can you just vanish from the palace in such a tense time?"

"I do as I please." Candace shrugged. "Nobody tries to stop me, fear of the name is enough."

"Then I'll thank you again." Jiang remembered his gratitude. "But now I need to know what happens next."

"That is a good question. I didn't have much of a plan when I got you out. You being here gives me options, but I don't see a path yet." Candace considered her situation carefully. "Ideally, I would like to reverse this situation and minimise future problems."

"That's not going to be easy after taking hostages," Jiang intoned darkly. "And a lot worse if there have been fatalities."

"There have been some." Candace reported reluctantly. "About twenty people, most on your ship in orbit."

"And Ambassador Sheridan?"

"Alive and comfortable, he's too valuable to be harmed. Whatever happens, his safety is guaranteed," Candace assured. "My father is reckless, but he knows he is playing a game. He is expecting your people to play it too."

"He's going to be disappointed." Jiang slurped the last of the bowl down, setting him up for the rest of the day. "Do you really want to end this without more bloodshed?"

"If possible."

"I need to talk to my people."


Jiang held up his hand showing her the communications link. "This will connect me to my ship if it is still in orbit."

"It is, but it's dead. The Captain scrambled the command codes."

"I can get them working again, but I need to know when it will be overhead."

"I can find that out." Candace promised. "And then?"

"I'll try get a signal to my people, we left a relay at every jump, I can bounce a signal through Tharkad."

"Right, and I will speak to my father. He has days where he is reasonable, and days when he is not. If it is a good day, I can help. If that little shit Romano is not there."

"I believe in you." Jiang said. Of course he didn't, this could easily just be a way to get him to unlock the computers on the transport. "I'll be ready to act when you are."

That, at least, was true.

"Ah, my dear daughter." Maximilian Liao grinned wide as Candace returned. Despite the words, there was no warmth to his voice, just expectation. "Successful trip?"

"Well enough." She looked around the audience chamber. "Where's the poison imp?"

"Your sister is observing the interrogations." Maximilian replied. "She could be there for hours."

"Morbid." Candace sighed. "She watches how you behave and assumes it is the correct way, flaws and all. She doesn't learn to avoid your mistakes."

"Good, mistakes are useful teaching elements." He nodded. "You both need to taste success and failure if one of you will succeed me."

"And is this a mistake?"

"Only if you gain no advantage from it." Liao answered. "It is possible this will harm us, but it is also probable we will gain. I do not expect them to just give us everything, certainly not warships, but in negotiations you start high and meet lower."

"From what my new friend says, I don't think they understand that. They see this as a challenge."

"If they want to deal with the Inner Sphere, they need to learn how the Inner Sphere works." Maximilian resolved. "Use your contact to make them understand, tell him I have softened my stance and I'm ready to negotiate."

"What if it is too late?" Candace raised the question. "If they go immediately to war?"

"Then we outlast them." Liao said. "I am sure the Davions and Mariks will snap at our borders, but they will never fully commit with Kurita and Steiner ready to pounce. We may lose a world or two, but we will take them back in good time."

"This is a gamble, father."

"As Chancellor, everything is a calculated risk, including having children." Maximilian smiled ever so thinly. "Even your own blood may one day hold a dagger to your throat."

"My loyalty is absolute."

"Perhaps." Maximilian remained neutral. "We need the command system on the transport ship unlocked, the Captain locked the system and then fought to the death. I had ordered him taken alive, such failure is unforgivable."

"I think he'll do it. He doesn't trust me, but he values contacting his people. I recommend allowing him access," Candace suggested. "It's an effective line of communication. Perhaps I can even speak to one of his leaders in person."

"Archon Steiner is also offering to facilitate communications, but it is more believable if it goes through you."

"Of course, father."

"Begin negotiations at the earliest opportunity." Maximilian approved. "You have my faith, my daughter."

"I am honored father." Candace bowed, a cold smile crossing her face as her father walked away. "I won't fail you."

The resumption of the Ares Conventions with the Earth Alliance taking the arbitrator role previously held by the Terran Hegemony could work well indeed. It could lead to something analogous to the Babylon Station being built where all involved could meet under a flag of truce to sort problems out and so on. Though given there long term goals I see Comstar hating it not to mention the Clans.

The resumption of the Ares Conventions with the Earth Alliance taking the arbitrator role previously held by the Terran Hegemony could work well indeed. It could lead to something analogous to the Babylon Station being built where all involved could meet under a flag of truce to sort problems out and so on. Though given there long term goals I see Comstar hating it not to mention the Clans.
I can see Natasha K laughing her butt off to the canner reactions.

The resumption of the Ares Conventions with the Earth Alliance taking the arbitrator role previously held by the Terran Hegemony could work well indeed. It could lead to something analogous to the Babylon Station being built where all involved could meet under a flag of truce to sort problems out and so on. Though given there long term goals I see Comstar hating it not to mention the Clans.

The Ares conventions are a joke. I get what Katrina is trying to do but its not going to work. And I don't mean hem in the EA. I know she wants a true end to the pointless wars that have plagued the Inner Sphere for generations. There is no way the EA is going to sign it. But...they might just surprise her with an alternative.
If, after all, is said and done with this rescue mission, they ever park a Nova dreadnought at New Haiti or Tortuga Prime and ship spotters get a good look at the Nova and think it's some uprated destroyer or battle cruiser, not realizing it's a dreadnought, I imagine a lot of sleepless nights for the military analysts across the inner sphere, Furthermore, it's amusing that if Earth Alliance was listening in on Katrina and Ian's talk when Levy unplugged. For instance, I own a wireless headset. I get a drink in the kitchen. When my pals assume I'm not listening to what they're talking about on Discord, they sometimes say the funniest things. Although I don't think that's what happened here still it would be funny if it did.😂
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They don't, unless you can demonstrate a source that says so? Preferably on-screen from the series?
The source comes from an interview with the guy who actually designed the Omega for the show. The Omega had a lot more to it than we got to see in the show because of at first limitations in the special effects budget, and then B5 switching over to a new special effects studio after Season 3 that simply didn't know what the first company had planned to reveal in Season 4.

The two ovals at the front of the ship were supposed to be "gigaton-class mine launchers"(presumably the same thing as the Narn energy mines), there were supposed to be Star Fury launch bays on the rotatory section tips just like B5's Cobra launch bays, and those red squares on the side of the ship were supposed to be for a broadside missile barrage(for a total of 72 missile hatches). The weapons we actually saw used in the show were ironically supposed to be an Omega's "light" weapons compared to the mine launchers and the missile barrage.

Of course, there's no reason a fanfic can't use the Omega's originally planned arsenal which is why you occasionally see the more informed writers include them. Same for the occasional B5 video game mod.
The Ares conventions are a joke. I get what Katrina is trying to do but its not going to work. And I don't mean hem in the EA. I know she wants a true end to the pointless wars that have plagued the Inner Sphere for generations. There is no way the EA is going to sign it. But...they might just surprise her with an alternative.

They're a point that they can start off from to create something similar that will work for the current time. After all the Ares Conversations were a product of a very different era.
Chapter 20

New Aragon
A few weeks later

"Nothing about this is going to be subtle." Jaime Wolf ran down the formation list for the tenth time, scrolling down the chunky data pad and putting a face to every name on it. "We're dropping two regiments, six full mech battalions, right down in the middle of the Forbidden City itself. We're going to be dropping hot, clearing a landing site, crushing some tourist attractions, and then holding a perimeter against some of the most well trained and fanatical warriors in the Inner Sphere."

"Please, stop." Natasha Kerensky theatrically sighed. "I can only get so hot."

"And then for our grand finale, we have to withdraw to dropships under fire and get back into orbit, while they go all out to destroy us and exact revenge."

"Are we getting paid extra for this?" Joshua Wolf leaned in, peering over his brother's shoulder at the list of warriors. "We are mercs, this counts as danger money, right?"

"I would pay them for a fight like this." Natasha prodded the younger brother. "Don't ruin it, this is going to be glorious."

"I haven't decided if you're going yet." Jaime kept reading the list. "We're not finished here on New Aragon yet either."

Natasha froze like ice.

"Don't you fucking dare. Don't you wind me up like this, then only give me a bunch of broken up hussars to mop up!"

"I'm not taking all three of us on this. Odds are good something will go wrong somewhere and I'm not losing the entire command staff," Jaime said firmly. "Plus we still have a job to do here. Despite Prince Ian's optimism, this battle isn't done yet. We have a contract to finish."

"Okay, Josh, go mech up." Natasha ordered. "I'm going to have to beat you like the unwanted freeborn you are."

"You'll be eating those words," Joshua fired himself up.

"No, no trial by combat." Jaime stepped in. "We launch in a few hours, I'm not having one of our mechs get banged up. Even with simulated weapons you might trip or twist an ankle."

"Trip?" Natasha's eyes widened. "Have you completely forgotten what I do?"

"We'll decide this Terran style. Face each other." Jaime commanded. "Come on, now."

"This isn't going to be what I think it is, is it?" Joshua slouched in disappointment.

"Rock, paper, scissors. Go when ready."

"This is a child's game." Natasha complained. "It won't take three minutes to humiliate your brother in a mech."

"If you refuse, Josh wins by default."

The two skilled warriors gave up arguing and instead glared at each other, neither shirking from each other's gaze. They held firm for a while, seeking an insight into the other, and then engaged.

"Rock!" Joshua thrust his hand forward.

"Hah! Paper!"

"Oh for..." Joshua reeled away. "You always go scissors!"

"Enjoy your mopping up operation while I go become a legend." A supremely happy Natasha rocked on her heels, grinning madly. "I'll bring you back a souvenir, a chunk of palace or something."

She cantered in close, stood on her tiptoes and planted a tiny kiss on Joshua's forehead.


The two brothers watched her vanish into the collection of waiting mechs lined up for deployment, making a beeline for her own Marauder, the two brothers frowning.

"Well, that's not normal," Jaime said simply. "You ever see her do that before?"

"I didn't think Trueborn actually got happy." Joshua touched his forehead. "Is this some sort of pre-battle ritual we're not clique enough to understand?"

"I don't know." Jaime started to smile. "Maybe she just likes you."

"What, me? Nah, you heard her talking me down."

"Yeah, but it's only you she teases like that." Jaime broke out in sudden laughter. "Oh wow, good luck on that one, brother!"

"I don't get it, there's no way!"

"When she gets back, she's going to shatter your pelvis. I'll put the doc on alert."

"Don't be an idiot, there's no way someone like her would... you know... care."

"They might have distilled her out of a giant can, but she's still a woman," Jaime observed. "And to be honest, you could use one in your life."

"Yeah, maybe." Joshua frowned. "But that one?"

"You won't find better." Jaime shrugged. "Besides, I don't know if Trueborns do long term. How many reach old age? Perhaps she's just living for the moment."

"I'm not sure I want to be a moment."

"Trust me Josh, some people would give their lives for that kind of a moment. Just see what happens."

A loud crack overhead made them both look up, the vapor rings of a pair of ships decelerating through the atmosphere clear white in the sky overhead.

"That'll be our ride." Jaime followed their descent. "Come on, might as well say hello to the people you won't be fighting beside."

"Yeah, just rub it in." Joshua grunted. "She always goes scissors."

The brothers climbed into a jeep and put it in gear, racing away in a cloud of red dust. The forward operating base was immense, a wide river plain flattened by Davion engineers and turned into a makeshift space port and command center. It was mostly dominated by rows of tall dropships loading or unloading in the jungle sun, with a pair of runway strips servicing fighters and various transport aircraft. Toward the center was the tent city housing the various personnel and facilities needed to keep things working, and right in the middle, a tall communications dish marking the command post.

"So I have to ask," Joshua raised the question. "When do we report this?"

"When we have hard data." Jaime gave his usual reply. "This will give us a good assessment of Capellan defenses, we can check out the strength of their planetary defense systems and how well trained their very best units are."

"I wasn't talking about the Capellans."

"I know," Jaime allowed. "They've offered us a ride on one of their ships, and we're going to see them in action for real. Not swatting some rag tag pirates, but a real stand up fight. That should give us what we need."

"I'm thinking that maybe when our contract is done with the Davions, we should see if the Alliance wants us."

"I was thinking about detaching a battalion to do some training, a composite unit." Jaime shared. "I doubt these Alliance types need five full regiments, but a single battalion? Maybe. It wouldn't divert much from our overall mission and it would give us a bit more insight."

They weaved between the tents and groups of AFFS troopers going about their business, eventually bouncing to a halt near the command tent, a small cluster of other vehicles already parked up, revealing a gathering of officers.

"Straighten your jacket." Jaime checked his own uniform as he stepped out of the jeep. "Better look professional."

They entered the large tent, the interior scattered with tables and chairs for the assorted leaders, along with various screens and consoles trailing thick cables to a generator. There were several uniformed people milling around and while it all seemed rather informal, that was always going to be relative with royalty present.

"Perfect timing!" First Prince Ian Davion spotted the brothers and called out to them, waving them toward his particular group. The two mercenaries made a direct line to take up the invitation, the Prince's group inevitably containing the most senior personnel.

"First Prince." Jaime nodded.

"You've met General Fraser before, if I recall?"

"I have." Wolf smiled a greeting. "Good to see you back for the fight."

"Happy to see you well, Colonel." Fraser returned the greeting. "You remember Captain Sheridan?"

"I do, very well." Wolf extended a hand. "Is the Lexington one of our escorts?"

"Not quite, Colonel." Sheridan shook the hand. "But I will be providing your transportation."

"I don't think you've met General Hague." Ian finished the round of introductions, singling out a bearded man in naval blue. "He will be the overall mission commander."

"Heard a lot of good things, Colonel." Hague continued the hand shaking. "Can't wait to see what a mech assault really looks like."

"You definitely came to the right people, General."

"Alright, now we're done with that," Ian set to business. "How are we looking, Colonel?"

"I'll be ready to go late afternoon." Jaime answered. "I have my units finalized, all we're doing now is stripping down the dropships for the mission."

"Stripping them down how?" Hague asked with interest.

"Anything unnecessary, so spare parts, ammunition, various secondary supplies as we won't be there long enough to use them." He explained. "Plus we're emptying a lot of the fuel tanks, we don't need to burn for days. Idea is to get rid of any weight we don't need so we can get down on the deck and more importantly back into space as quickly as possible."

"What do you need to bring along?" Sheridan asked.

"I have six mech battalions and as many aerospace fighters as I can muster. So I'll be bringing six Overlords and a couple of fighter carriers."

"We can handle that." Hague promised. "You can dock on our destroyers, they'll be a lot more survivable than any jump ship."

"I'll be counting on it, General."

"Our overall plan is simple." General Hague took his turn. "I have five destroyers, two will carry the dropships and provide close escort for the landing. The remaining ships will screen the landing force and engage and Capellan counter attack."

"On the ground, we're deploying two Ranger Battalions, they're trained for these kind of combat drops against high value targets," General Fraser took over. "They'll go first to spot any strongpoints in the landing zone, which the destroyers will eliminate. Then it's your show, Colonel Wolf."

"We have landing zones marked for a hot drop, even if the Capellans are expecting us, we're going to hit them so hard they won't be able to respond until we are established." The Colonel worked through his plan. "I'll mount an active defense, Colonel Ellman and Beta Regiment will stay close to the landing zone and form a defensive perimeter. I'll be putting the dropships down right in the Celestial Parade square and that will be our focal point."

"Our assault shuttles will be a bit more spread out." Hague told his side. "But we'll keep them airborne. Is that not possible with your dropships?"

"Not for a hasty deployment and reloading." Jaime shook his head. "We're going to need to leave fast, too fast to wait for our ships to return from a safe spot. It is a huge risk leaving our dropships on the ground. I'm going to need your warships to cover them."

"We'll be there." Sheridan promised. "Naval bombardment will be limited to areas outside the city. Until we know exactly where the hostages are, we can't risk hitting them with a badly placed shot."

"That will include mustering areas for enemy forces." Ian noted. "That will slow them down."

"It will, but the Capellans are going to throw everything at us and casualties won't hold them back," Wolf warned somberly. "I estimate we can give you forty minutes, an hour at absolute maximum before we're pushed back."

"Forty minutes." Ian mulled the figure over. "That's not long to search the entire Forbidden City."

"We are deploying some assets to help with that," Hague answered. "But it will be very close."

"What kind of assets?"

"I'm sorry, First Prince, even though this is a joint mission, some of our capabilities must remain classified," Hague apologized.

"Hopefully this mission will be a step toward our nations being more open and ready to share secrets," Ian accepted. "I understand, General."

"I'm confident we can hang in orbit for an hour, our new destroyers are very capable warships," Hague considered. "But we will be under constant missile and fighter attacks. It is also likely Chancellor Liao has concentrated mobile defenses from elsewhere in anticipation of this strike."

"He probably wants the glory of bringing down a warship." Wolf guessed. "Let's all keep disappointing him."

"We'll jump in and out at the pirate point. It's a little risky to jump twice so soon, but less risky than running the gauntlet of every fighter the Capellans own," Hague reasoned. "We'll return here, drop you off, then make our way back to Cooperland."

"Can you calculate the jump that accurately?" Joshua Wolf asked pointedly.

"We can. I expect there to be resistance, but they won't be ready for what we're bringing."

"While you attack Sian, I've already deployed forces to hit some border targets," Ian announced. "That should tie up their reserves and prevent them from shifting more forces back toward the capital. I also managed to get word to Captain General Marik, he's going to be hitting targets of opportunity too."

"I think we have a plan then," General Hague concluded. "Once again, First Prince, my President expresses her gratitude."

"Without your ships, I would never have this chance to inflict a raid that will live in legend forever," Ian grinned widely. "If you have the capacity, I'd like to send a unit too, a full Mech battalion from my own command. Just so I can say we had feet on the ground as part of this victory."

"We can manage another few dropships, the extra firepower will be welcome," Hague nodded.

"Then I believe it is settled." Ian gave his approval. "All we need is a name."

"We're suggesting Operation Helios," Hague recommended.

"The ancient god of the sun," Ian recognized.

"In honor of the Federated Suns, and the Joint Chiefs love naming things for Greek Mythology," Hague smiled. "Suits us both."

"Helios it is," Ian gave his approval. "My staff have prepared a quick dinner before you head to your ships. It isn't much, but I think it's good for us all to dine together."

"We'll be honored, First Prince."

"Good, my brother Hanse will no doubt have several suggestions to share when I bring him up to date on this. Prepare yourselves."

Sian Capital
Capellan Confederation.

"I had the computer grind out the schedule." Candace Liao handed over a sheet of paper to Jiang Li in the shadows of the safe house basement. "The red circle is the time your ship is overhead. You'll have about six minutes until it dips below the horizon again."

"Thank you, this helps a lot." Jiang memorized the sequence, then handed the paper back to her. "That's all I need."

"That first time is only a few minutes from now. Will you try today?"

"Of course, I might not get another chance," Jiang confirmed. "This will be a good test, but I'm going to need more from you."

"More?" Candace retreated a little. "How much more?"

"I need to know where the hostages are, their precise location, so I can send it to my people."

"That's easier said than done." She grimaced. "They are moved often to keep them confused, break any routines, so they don't mentally settle."

"As part of your interrogation techniques?"

"Yes, a mix of drugs, noise, sleep deprivation, and constantly changing their surroundings." Candace confirmed. "Nothing invasive, not yet anyway, but they are breaking."

"It is inevitable." Jiang accepted. "And Ambassador Sheridan?"

"He is still considered too valuable, he won't be interrogated unless the other attempts fail."

That was going to be the challenge. Jiang was expecting a rescue mission, or at least some sort of military deployment to intimidate Liao into surrender. Whatever the goal, the result would be Alliance ships in orbit and he needed to be able to coordinate with them. The diplomatic transport still being in orbit was a good thing. It meant they hadn't figured out how to get it working again and the anti-intruder measures were still active.

"So can you unlock the computer on the ship to send a message?" Candace asked.

"I don't know, all I have is this hand link." He showed her the device on the back of his hand again. "But I will try."

"It should be over the horizon now, try it." Candace encouraged. "Let me send a message to your people."

"Alright." He activated the link and waited to see if it established contact. The range was long and he didn't have a lot of spare power, but this wasn't going to take long. He waited a few moments until there was a triple beep from the device. "Got it! Connection established!"


Jiang set to work. Candace obviously had a lot of ideas about what that ship could be used for. Jiang had no idea if she was working him over for her father or for her own gain. It didn't really matter. He was alive because they had a use for him, he guessed that use would end the second they realized he wasn't going to do a damn thing to help them.

"I have a link, working."

It was of course utterly impossible to unlock the computers on the ship using a mere hand link, and even if it wasn't, only the Captain and First Officer had the actual codes. From what Candace had said, neither had allowed themselves to be taken alive.

"Computer, authorization Li, Jiang, codeword Red Hare," he spoke into the device.

"Authorized." The calm computer voice responded, Candace energizing herself, leaning in.

"Set tachyon system Jaddo beacon to active."


"Initiate communication suite."

"Unable to comply, system is locked."

"Unlock communications, authorization Li, Jiang."

"Unable to comply."

"Unlock command systems."

"Unable to comply."

"Unlock navigation controls."

"Unable to comply."

He exhaled, staring over to an expectant Candace. "This is going to take a while."


"The system doesn't accept my authorization. I know it's me, but it isn't letting me access the core systems." He frowned. "Did your people touch anything? Try to break into the computers themselves?"

"Of course they did, you expected them to just sit there and look at it?"

"That will be why remote access had failed." He grimaced. "But we can fix it. Do you have people up there, you personally?"


"I can provide written instructions for a manual reset." Jiang informed her. "Can you get them up there?"

"Written instructions?"


"Do I look like an idiot?"

Jiang kept his face steady. "I don't think so."

"Then stop messing me around." She gave him a hard look, any pretend enthusiasm long gone. "Can you override the command codes on your ship?"


"Why did you say you could?"

"I like being alive."

She scoffed. "You might prefer being dead if you fuck me around any more Jiang. Are you any use to me at all?"

"Do you really want to talk to my people? Genuinely."

"I do."


"Because you have warships. Because I think the odds are good my father will kill your people before he lets them be rescued. Because I think if he does kill them, you'll nuke the planet to make an example."

"You think we would?"

"I would." Candace answered simply. "So yes, I do genuinely want to communicate with your people. My father knows you are here, he wants me to use you to open communications."

"You have a very complicated family."

"Will you help or not?" Candace cut to it. "Because if they do nuke the planet, that's going to be pretty bad for you too, Jiang."

"The ship is locked down." Jiang stated again. "But in the cargo bays, we have commercial communication gear. The consoles we were going to give you, the ones the other great houses have. Get one, hook it up to a good power supply, then turn it on. Once you do, I'll give you the frequencies you need to connect to my commanders."

"Do I bring it here?"

"No, it's too big, find a secure place of your own." Jiang instructed. "You're going to need two or three people to move it, but the device is all integrated. Just feed it power, it will bounce a signal off the ship, so for the sake of all that is holy, do not move that transport."


"The ship comms are locked down, but the console can still use the dishes up there to bounce the signal to the relays, so keep that paper with the orbit schedule."

"So I suppose I need to bring you back into the Forbidden City." Candace narrowed her eyes. "Which I am sure is what you want, isn't it?"

"I'll leave that to your imagination." Jiang evaded. "But the consoles will be all you need if you are serious. Get one, hook it up, talk to me."

"Alright." Candace stood and began to plan her next move. "If this is a trick, you better pray for nuclear hellfire."

"I didn't survive this long by not taking deals when they show up. Besides, I'll be right there, standing next to you."

"Fine. We'll talk later, Jiang."

He let her go, his face serious but his heart smiling. It didn't matter if she did kill him now, he'd done what he needed to do. The Jaddo Beacon. Named for the Centauri House that made first contact with Earth, a contact brought about after humanity had begun broadcasting newly discovered tachyons to see if anyone was listening.

On the ship above, a small insignificant beacon was now broadcasting, its tachyon signal undetectable to the Capellans, but would be heard loud and clear by Earth Force. It wouldn't carry far, but it would give any incoming ships a temporary beacon they could use to make a short range hyperspace jump directly into Sian orbit.

All he needed was for the ship to stay in orbit, and he was pretty sure Candace would ensure that. Perhaps she really did want to talk to Earth, she probably had five or six schemes ongoing and would pick the best option at the best time to ensure her survival. He would work with that, try to make her see that the Alliance could give her what she really wanted. Power.

If he could get back into the city and play the game, he might just get close enough to grab the hostages himself with the help of Candace's insiders. It was a gamble, but better than sitting around waiting to be betrayed.

New Aragon

"It was all going so well, right up until he hit the eject button, forgetting we were still in the bunker." Ian Davion shook his head. "If you go there now, I hear you can still see the smear on the roof."

"Bad luck." Jaime Wolf knocked back some more wine. "I always heard Combine boys deactivate their ejection systems so they don't dishonor themselves by living."

"This one should have," Ian sympathized a little. "But at least it was quick."

"One of the Hussars last month did something similar." Hanse Davion joined the story. "Down at the Brandy River, his machine went under and I suppose he panicked and ejected underwater, horizontally. Like a torpedo."

"Perhaps it's nature's way of telling us to go down with our machines." Ian looked at the wine in his glass ruefully. "Our profession is death, what gives us the right to escape our own?"

"Being lucky." Joshua answered. "Sometimes that's all that matters."

"I'd rather have a lucky General than a good General." Hanse raised his glass.

"That's Napoleon." From across the table, John Sheridan recognized the quote.

"It is." Hanse confirmed. "You know the classics Captain?"

"I made it a mission to learn a little history at the academy," Sheridan said to general approval. "Those who don't learn their history..."

"...are doomed to repeat it." Hanse finished. "A fitting statement, Captain. Perhaps finally we are learning from our own history."

Ian Davion's definition of a Field Kitchen was not something shared by the Earth Force officers. This wasn't warm sludge stirred in a pot the size of a small car. It was a full course dinner that would have cost a month's wages back on Earth.

"With luck, what we do next will be a lesson for history." General Fraser received murmurs of agreement. "A sharp warning to the dishonorable."

"And a fine display of our resolve," Hanse added. "I look forward to joining you."

That drew a look from his brother.

"Do you indeed?"

"Of course. You are sending the Third Guards. My unit."

"I am." Ian drank his wine. "Colonel Wolf, as we are all fellow soldiers here, do you think casualties will be heavy?"

"It depends on the Capellans, but I doubt they will simply let us do as we please."

"And if this is dangerous for veteran soldiers with many years experience, it must be even more dangerous for younger mechwarriors who have yet to learn the greater art of command?"

"I see what you are doing, First Prince." Hanse spoke carefully. "But I know the danger, and one of us should be there. If we ask this of our loyal soldiers, and of our allies, then one of us must lead."

"Your choice is your own." Ian spoke solemnly. "Just be sure you are doing this for the right reasons. There is little glory in being dead."

"I am grateful for your concern, but I am capable."

"You should stay close to my command lance, Prince Hanse," Wolf suggested. "I guarantee you'll learn a lot."

"Thank you Colonel." Hanse recognized the subtle offer of extra protection. "I look forward to watching and learning from you."

"Captain Sheridan." Ian switched targets. "Forgive the question, but are you related to Ambassador Sheridan?"

"He is my father, First Prince."

"I see, then you are in the right place."

"Captain Sheridan is one of our finest commanding officers." General Hague nodded to his fellow officer. "He knows how to win fights."

"An excellent trait in a soldier." Hanse agreed. "To be resourceful, adaptable, bold."

"But still an optimist." Colonel Wolf chipped in. "I remember our little chat on New Haiti, Captain. Do you still see a positive future?"

"I have to, otherwise what are we fighting for?"

"See what I mean?" Jaime chuckled. "I do admire you. Captain, and I look forward to bringing your father home."

"Once this is done, then what?" Joshua raised the point. "What do we do next?"

"My President is firmly against a full scale war," Hague said simply. "Even in the worst case scenario." He briefly glanced at Sheridan. "She would not declare war or commit our armed forces for the sake of fifty people."

"I am sorry to hear that." Ian pondered. "It is after all a matter of honor."

"It is a matter of lives, potentially thousands lost in a war where we gain almost nothing. We can't take and hold a nation with hundreds of billions of citizens," Hague recognized. "There is a limit to how far we can commit. This is it."

"Regrettable. But if you did feel aggrieved, we would always welcome more joint missions." Ian suggested. "Perhaps it would underline the message you wish to send?"

"That would be for the President to decide, though she will be stepping down soon."

"Is that so?" Ian raised an eyebrow. "For a democratic election?"

"That's right, she's finished her term in office and won't run again. By the middle of next year, we will have a new President."

"Interesting, I hope whoever it is will be just as open to working with us."

"I have no doubt."

"President Levy was a wartime leader." Jaime Wolf sneakily directed the conversation. "That's always going to take its toll."

"For some," Hague agreed, finding his own steps carefully. "Elizabeth Levy was always the type to see good in a situation, a builder and negotiator. As a peace time President, she would have been a driver of our golden age. Instead she had to steer us through some dark days."

"Yet here we are," Fraser opened his hands. "With new friends."

"And new enemies." Sheridan reminded.

"You've all three seen battle." Hanse recognized. "Hard fighting too."

They didn't have to respond.

"Were you fighting another deep periphery power?" Ian asked. "Another remnant of the Star League? Kerensky's legions?"

"No, nothing like that."

"What about the Minnesota Tribe?" Hanse raised remembering Wolf had mentioned them. "Do you know them?"

"Not personally." Sheridan shook his head. "I'm from Kansas myself."

"Kansas, which was on Terra?" Wolf spotted.

"Earth." Sheridan corrected. "But it's easy to get the two mixed up, lot of names get copied."

"Right." Wolf filed that away. "So who were you fighting?"

The three officers shared looks between each other, finally Hague clearing his throat.

"It's a long story, one that President Levy would like to share when this mission is complete."

"Why wait?" Jaime pressed.

"It's quite a story." The General said by way of answer. "But as trade opens up and your people begin to mix with ours, stories are going to be exchanged. Truths will be learned, and some of those truths may be a little, well, outlandish. So the President wants to give you the full briefing herself straight from the top."

"Do I need to be concerned?" Ian asked seriously.

"No, we don't think so." Hague shook his head. "But it is quite a story."

"So you say." Jaime remained suspicious. "But fair enough, we can wait another month or two."

"After that build up, it had better be good." Ian cut some roast beef from his plate. "If after all this, it turns out to be aliens..."

All three Earth Force officers in unison took a drink.

"I'll look forward to visiting Tortuga again, now it's looking a little nicer," Wolf moved on.

"As do I." Ian joined. "If I am welcome?"

"Of course, First Prince, always." Hague didn't hesitate. "I'd like to offer a toast, to friends and comrades."

"Friends and comrades." The table echoed.

"And to the success of Operation Helios."

The Dropships blasted off on schedule, one after another climbing slowly into the sky on a column of white smoke and blue flame. It was late afternoon, the world was bathed in orange as the sun reached the end of its journey for that day, the left behind troopers watching the ships rise into the sky.

"So try to hold Zeta in reserve until I can find some replacements." Jaime Wolf walked quickly across the launch pad, his brother at his side. "Maybe some of the prisoners are worth trying, those Kearny Highlanders were tough bastards. We could use them."

"I'll spread the word." Joshua nodded.

"And keep up the pressure in the lowlands, it's swampy as hell down there and we won't make good time with mechs. Keep harassing them with hovercraft."

"I know."

"Remember I'm stripping the fighter support, so you won't have..."

"Jaime, just get on the damn ship." Joshua grinned widely. "I've got this."

He stopped walking, relaxing and letting go of some of his energy.

"Your right, you are a fully qualified commander and proven warrior. I trust you Josh, but you're still my little brother. What sort of man would I be if I didn't have a little concern?"

"A late one, now get going."

"I'll be back in a couple of months."

"Make sure you are." Joshua made it a requirement.

"And Natasha too, just imagine how glad she's going to be to see you."

"Don't even joke about that."

"Good time to figure out some hiding places, I think."

"Just go." Joshua shook his head laughing. "Good hunting out there, Jaime."

"Good hunting here, Josh."

And that was it, the brothers went their separate ways. Joshua found a good spot with the rest of the Dragoon's command staff, all of them watching their brethren take to the skies on what was almost certainly going to be the greatest raid in centuries. Joshua had no doubt this would rank alongside the storming of Terra when the victorious wolves returned. And return they would.

Other dropships also rose into the sky, a pair in royal blue carrying the first battalion of the Third Guards Regiment. They departed to a little more fanfare, a bugler sounding the advance as the ships took to the air, with fife and drum tapping a tune for the benefit of the honor guard that saw them off. Ian watched them rise until they were out of sight, stoic but far from unmoved.

The ten dropships rose in sequence, all stripped for speed, carrying nothing but weapons, armor, and incredibly well armed warriors. They were holding nothing back. If they were stranded or disabled, there was no plan B, there would be no further rescue attempts. This was a strike into the heart of the enemy, its stronghold, and that enemy knew they were coming. Liao was confident in his power, in the strength of his armies, his weapons, the fighting spirit of his people, and he had every right to be.

"We are free and clear to navigate."

"Follow the flight path." Jaime grasped the hand holds on the bridge, the micro gravity returning as the big thrusters cut out. "How are we looking?"

"All in the green."

He pushed himself towards the windows at the front, Natasha already there absorbing the view.

"Feels good to be up here again." She said by way of greeting.

"Josh says hi," Jaime lied mischievously. "He looks forward to you getting back, I think he had dinner planned."

"Great. He's a good warrior." Natasha smiled a little. "Got a little charm to him."

Jaime smiled inwardly, he'd known Natasha for a long while and knew her to be an absolute demon in a fight, but this was something new. Maybe she was human after all.

"Coming up on target, decelerating for docking procedure."

"So destroyers he said." Jaime peered out through the dark. "Can you see them?"

"Not yet, is the Lexington here too? If they sent Sheridan, she should be out here. You'd want a ship that big on a job like this."

"That looks like our ship." Jaime pointed to a dark shape hanging with four others in the distance beyond the planet. "They're new."

The dropships slowed down and approached the vessels, every extra second making the ships appear bigger, then bigger, and bigger still. The blocky hulls were far darker grey than the Lexington, without the curves and careful manufacturing of the older ship. They were brutalism returned, straight lines and hard angles dominated by a steadily rotating habitat block.

"That's not the Lexington," Natasha helpfully pointed out.

"No, it isn't." Jaime kept his eyes glued to the window. "Officer of the Watch, are we recording this?"

"Every second sir."

"What the fuck do we tell Khan Ward?" Natasha was also not looking away. "This is going to fuel calls for an attack like nothing else."

"Look at those central blocks, that thing has to be spinning two or three battleship's worth of metal. The Lexington really was just a guard ship. These are what they roll out when they get angry."

"And someone out there was trashing them." Natasha reminded. "Thank fuck Kerensky went up instead of across."

"Wolverines didn't make them build these things. I'm going to be really interested to hear the story behind these guys. Just got to live long enough."

"Just drop me on Sian solo, I'll handle it."

"And miss out on the most legendary battle of our lives?"

"Our lives so far," Natasha corrected. "When the rest figures out what's going on out here, I dunno. Jaime, what are we going to do?"

"Our duty to our clan." He answered simply. "Let Ward worry about what that's going to be."

The assorted dropships began their dance, rotating and sliding into place around the docking collars fixed to the pair of altered destroyers. Alpha Regiment docked with the Agamemnon while Beta took the Apollo, Hanse's units also latching on to the Agamemnon as it seemed fitting. From the control room, Sheridan watched the docking manoeuvres, the dropship operations still something of a novelty.

"All ships docked Captain." His new First Officer Commander James reported formally. The Agamemnon was still a new ship and while they had drilled together, there was still a lot to be done. Going into battle when the ship, crew, and captain were still figuring out what they were each capable of was fraught with peril. They had to have faith in each other, belief they could all succeed in the tremendous challenge laid before them.

"Bring KF drive systems online, prepare for jump to next target," he ordered.

"Aye sir."

"Check gravitational conditions."

"Conditions are stable, it is safe to jump."

"Standby." Sheridan checked the mission clock, all five ships would go at the same time. In his wildest imagination, he could never have guessed he would be embarking on a mission to rescue his dad from a pseudo communist police state with several dozen robot riding mercenaries and Arthurian aficionados as his allies. Yet here he was, and it was deadly serious.

"Jump in five seconds."

Whatever happened, whatever fears, he didn't want to be anywhere else. He would shape this event with his own hands, with the tools at his disposal, the allies he had made. He had the chance to influence the outcome, and he would not waver. They were going to Sian with the wrath of hell riding with them, and when they left it would be the start of a new age.
Very nice loved there reactions to seeing the destroyers though have they twigged that these things are a hell of a lot bigger than a McKenna-class battleship yet? They're impressed enough with their size already I can only imagine how they're going to react to seeing these things actually fight.
Very nice loved there reactions to seeing the destroyers though have they twigged that these things are a hell of a lot bigger than a McKenna-class battleship yet? They're impressed enough with their size already I can only imagine how they're going to react to seeing these things actually fight.

I think they know they're bigger. But are also considering the bigger implications of why would the EA need them.
Kind of surprised Hanse took the 1st BCT of the 3rd Guards, Cowards are few and far between in the Davion line, but Hanse's moment at the NAIS during the 4th war was forced upon him. Ian is much more the lead from the front and damn the consequences of the two brothers (for reference Ian has the Dial set at 11, Hanse is only 8.5 to 9). I would of thought Ian would of used First Prince privilege and left Hanse to finish out the New Aragon campaign while he took maybe the 4th Guards with him.

Yeah everyone is a touch worried about what could have the EA building such ships (the Omega as stated should of been a Minbari killer). Wolf may wish to craft a report to Kerlin Ward saying it maybe a good idea to keep the crusader's powder dry, cause a beaten system is producing ships more powerful then Texas(s) and McKenna(s). The EA may think once the fight has started that sharpening the EAF on the Clans is a good thing. Natasha and Jamie should be looking for a way out for the clans, it's likely already too late for all 17 to go ship on ship against the EA and with their 'logistics' they are likely to get their roughly 400,000 warriors (of all types and branches) killed by the roughly 50 million EAF even without allied help.

If the Minbari do follow they have lost the initiative and much of their edge (especially with the Omegas coming on line) that and entering a universe with at least 2000 settled humans systems and likely 10(s) if not 100(s) of trillions of humans that the EA can uplift (at least Davion, Steiner, Marik, Centrella and Calderon) there will be lots of death, copious amounts of destruction, but I would foresee the Minbari losing handily to the EA/Sphere. Thank you.

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