Admiral William Adama was on the Prometheus in orbit of Earth in the aftermath of the Civil War. Its commander, Karla Harvoth, was still commanding it, but Adama wanted to be there. His Galactica was still undergoing major repairs to the superstructure and this was the only way to be on scene.
When the final push toward Earth began, Pegasus had been swapped out with the larger ship. Prometheus had been loaded with raptors, vipers, and – like the Pegasus – one bay had been given an installation of Minbari Nials.
All Battlestars with 4 landing bays were given one bay of Nials and a White Star from the Rangers – or they would have them once the current mission was over. The purpose of that was to support the efforts to retrieve survivors from the Colonies, from Copernicus, and Terran refugees. The Minbari Warrior caste, without a war between Minbar and another power, welcomed the chance for their members to serve honorably and to hone their skills in actual battle as it occurred.
When the Earthforce Omegas led by Sheridan had hit Earth, the League ships had stayed to watch over the Omegas that were suffering from Sheridan's surprise of telepaths altered by the Shadows.
Sheridan, however, had called for the League ships when the defense platforms had been turned by Clark toward Earth itself.
Prometheus had the unique ability to answer the call far more efficiently than any other ship. Rather than requiring time to travel via hyperspace, the Prometheus could jump immediately. Every Nial that had been flying landed on the ship, as did two White Stars. Within two minutes, the jump had been made and Prometheus disgorged vipers, raptors and Nials before jumping to another location in orbit and disgorging more. A White Star had also launched at each location. The Gunstars, which had also jumped, had suffered some damage but had made it through.
It had been a great victory – and absolutely terrifying to every Earth officer and Alien commander which had seen it.
A planetary defense grid was supposed to make the space around a planet virtually impenetrable. The Tribes of Kobol, with their ability to appear instantly and to target from any direction before the platform could make a weapons lock, took out the defense grid with great efficiency.
Against a ship, the Colonials would have been disadvantaged by their weapons which were effectively just bullets and the random missile. Against stationary platforms, even as the Omegas had begun to get pounded by the grid, raptors and vipers armed with missiles took them out, saving many ships and hundreds of lives. Only 5 vipers and 2 raptors had been destroyed.
Adama knew, at that moment, that the newly renamed Tribes of Kobol had splashed onto the interstellar map in a way that could not be ignored. It made invading New Kobol a scary proposition – but raiders would be trying their damndest to obtain it. He would have to alert New Kobol pretty damn quick about what had happened.
Tory Foster would be working night and day on treaties with other governments to keep the technology controlled.
"Admiral," a voice spoke.
He turned. "Commander."
"We've got a call from the Minbari Ambassador. She asked for you."
Adama nodded. He went over to the comm. station. "Put her through."
"Infali, this is Copernicus. Fleet Actual is standing by."
"Admiral Adama. This is Delenn. I have request." Delenn was speaking in broken but passable Colonial standard.
"Go ahead, Ambassador." Adama used his newly learned English – he was getting much better.
"I wanted to invite you to the Enfili," Delenn's voice came back in English. "I am inviting all League members as well for a conference. About the future."
Adama considered that. "When?"
"Four standard hours."
"Should I bring Ambassador Foster?"
"Ambassador Foster would be welcome." Tory Foster had been officially named the Ambassador-at-Large of New Kobol to all non-Kobol governments.
"Acknowledged. We will be there."
"Thank you. We will expect you."
"Understood. Adama, Out."
Adama wondered what all this was about.
As Foster and Adama walked behind several Ambassadors, he heard the Centauri Ambassador speaking. He struggled to understand the words – his English wasn't perfect yet. "Yes. Come in. Delenn has quite the proposal. I hope you have all brought a change of underwear."
Adama looked at Tory in confusion. "A change in underwear? That means that he's saying this is very funny or very frightening." Tory was much better with English idioms. Tory chuckled as the two entered the room. "He looks more amused than frightened."
Adama looked and nodded. "Yes. He does, doesn't he?"
When Delenn was through presenting the idea Adama was a bit surprised – but not shocked. He asked Tory, "What do you think?"
Tory considered it. "It sounds fairly positive. And from what I've read about history in the galaxy, a central organization might do much to quell conflict. I'm worried about our place though."
"We were counting on being able to sell gravity systems to other governments as a means of income." Tory then asked for Delenn's attention.
"This proposal includes providing technologies based on what the Vorlons left behind including teaching members how to achieve artificial-gravity system construction. How will this proposed Alliance counteract negative effects on proposed members? We were planning on using our systems as a means to achieve trade with other governments."
Delenn considered that, as did the other League Ambassadors. Delenn turned to G'Kar and Mollari. "Ideas?"
Mollari looked thoughtful. G'Kar offered, "The Minbari and the Centauri both have ships that have gravity as well – it would not have been a monopoly for the Tribes of Kobol. If we do go through with allowing Rangers from all member governments, the building of Alliance ships for the Rangers will have to, eventually, be done by the Alliance and not Minbar alone. The White Stars fleet will eventually have to be replaced or added to. If we ensure that members are guaranteed contracts for a part of that that would offset that loss. I believe that should be sufficient recompense for the loss of the effective monopoly."
Tory and Adama talked briefly and eventually Tory said, "Thank you."
The League members all continued reviewing it. Discussion were had. Finally the Brakiri asked, "And what about Earth? Even with their recent Civil War, they are widely influential. Have they signed on?"
Delenn nodded in respect at the question. "We have not presented it to them, though we plan to. There is one possibility which will influence them – a way to make it unlikely that they will refuse."
"And what method would that be?" the Ambassador asked.
Delenn showed a little smirk. "A proposal for the first President." She explained.
The League members were a bit awed. The Drazi Ambassador turned to the New Kobol representatives. "You are Human – you understand better how they will think. Will this work?"
Tory looked at Adama. Adama considered for a long moment. Finally he spoke. "Honestly? It will do two things: It will anger those who supported the Clark regime and it will force them to agree. They won't be able to ignore it. They can't have such an influential Earth human in that position with no ties back to Earthgov. Yes. It will work."
Chatter between Ambassadors picked up. Adama then added, "Though I have a question."
Delenn asked, "Yes?"
"Will he be the Earth representative or will he only represent the Alliance?"
Delenn, G'Kar, and Londo all were taken aback at the question. On Babylon 5, Sheridan and Sinclair had been the Earth Representative to the Advisory Committee and had wielded the chair of the meetings.
"And the thrust of the question is …?" Delenn asked.
"Is the President any being agreed on by the members or must he already be a representative and member? Will the President of the Alliance be chosen from existing representatives? This will be important. Maybe for ten years, or even twenty, Sheridan will be fine. Or even Delenn or G'Kar. You all have worked with them and trust them to look out for everyone. But if this will last beyond them, if it lasts hundreds of years into the future, the rules will have to be laid out. Now. When there isn't a succession crisis."
Those present considered that for a long moment. Finally one of the Aliens asked, "What do you suggest?"
Adama and Tory looked at each other. Tory finally said, "I think for now every world should make the choice. If a Centauri, for example, were made President, the Centauri would have to decide if they were willing for their representative to be responsible for all interests to take precedence in exchange for the President being from that government, or if they should have a separate Ambassador who concentrated more on Centauri interests."
She looked around. "This cannot be by race. In the past, it seems to those who just arrived, League membership was based less on government and more on race. Well, New Kobol is mainly Human – but that doesn't mean we would be happy with Earth Alliance representing us and looking out for our interest. If Mars becomes independent, they will have to be able to represent themselves. So it can't be Humans, Minbari, Gaim, Drazi, etc. It has to be Earth Alliance, Minbari Federation, Drazi Freehold, etc. I will have to consult with my government, but I believe the Tribes of Kobol will take this position." Adama echoed his agreement immediately.
One of the members, the Abai, asked, "What of your jump drive? If you become a member, will this technology be available to all members?" Everyone stilled.
Adama stood up and Tory translated.
"Honored representatives, I do believe that this technology will be best kept out of general use. We needed this technology when we lived in the Kobol sector – where Hyperspace is too chaotic to use. Our drive was the only way to travel. However, would any of you wish for wide knowledge of how this is done to get out? Even if we agreed to allow the Alliance to use it, all member races would then achieve it. Unscrupulous tech spies would thereafter have much easier access. In the past, our merchant ships had the drive.
"But I am certain that your ship commanders have told how our drive could be used to create great damage. The Thirteen Tribes of Kobol are removing this drive from all but our largest ships and our government is already contemplating treaties being required to limit use of it. We do not want to be responsible for anyone being able to attack your worlds with it."
There were murmurs around the room but none sounded too disappointed. In truth, the battle had scared many and most didn't want to contemplate possible enemies having access to the technology.
Very soon after the meeting, all League Ambassadors were making contact with their governments as regards the proposal to dissolve the League and replace with the Interstellar Alliance.
Adama was on hand when the proposal was accepted by unanimous consent. The formal voting on the position of the President of the Interstellar Alliance was anti-climactic. The position would become active upon the candidate's resignation from his government's military service.
Adama was sitting across from President Luchenko, Tory Foster was sitting next to Adama and Commander Harvoth was sitting on his other side. Also present were General Robert Leftcourt of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Earthforce and the head of the Military Appropriations committee for the Earth Senate.
"Admiral Adama. Thank you for accepting Earthgov's invitation to speak with us directly. Stories of Humans from another civilization has caught the interest of our people."
"Thank you for inviting me, Madam President," he replied. "We are gratified to reconnect with our brothers and sisters from Earth. For us, Earth was a myth from our Sacred Scrolls. And though we have since found that the Earth referred to in our scrolls was not actually this Earth, the name still resonates with my people."
Susanna Luchenko nodded graciously. "We are pleased that this is so. Now. To the matter at hand: We could dance around the matter in diplomatic language and take far longer than necessary, so I hope that you don't mind if I get right to the point."
"Please do so. It's refreshing from a politician."
"Your FTL drive has created great consternation for Earthgov and for the Earth Alliance military. Many of our generals and senators have expressed fear and excitement as regards the possibility of such a drive. Fear, because it allowed our defensive grid to be made obsolete and excitement over the possibility of obtaining the technology. What are your thoughts?"
Adama considered how to most diplomatically answer. "I understand. The technology was developed centuries ago and was the only Faster-Than-Light travel we could devise. Even the Vorlons, who originally took our ancestors from Earth thousands of years ago, didn't have it. I believe that, for the most part, it's far too dangerous to become widely known." Adama noted Leftcourt nodding in agreement almost reflexively. The Senator present looked thoughtful and disappointed at once. Luchenko kept the same expression.
"During the meeting with the Ambassadors, as the Interstellar Alliance was being discussed, we were asked if this technology would be made available, along with technology for artificial gravity. And I'll tell you what I told them: We are already removing our FTL drive from all but our Battlestars and high-level government ships, such as the Pheonix. Our raptors we haven't decided on. Even our Gunstars, which are the equivalent of a corvette ship, are being changed a hyperspace drive will be installed."
General Leftcourt motioned for permission and Luchenko nodded. "Why? Why would you deliberately limit yourself?"
"Because we don't want to be attacked by every pirate who thinks he has a chance to get it. I can imagine criminal syndicates who would kill my people just to get the technology. And while we have safeguards to destroy the drive if necessary, that won't stop people from trying. We have less than 150,000 people. We can't afford wars others about it."
Luchenko said in a slightly wheedling tone, "Your people are descended from Earth. We have a shared history, no matter how long ago it was. It would be fairly easy to join the Earth Alliance."
Adama nodded and turned to Tory to take this question. "When we became aware of Earth, the idea of becoming part of the Earth Alliance was discussed. We ignored the internal struggle because we knew it would eventually become resolved. The truth is, however, that we have been gone for 5000 years. Our fundamental beliefs and identity is too far removed. Just two and a half years ago, we had more Humans in the Colonies of Kobol than in all of Earth Alliance. And though we came through a genocide against us, committed by our own invention, the Cylons, we did come through it. And I am certain that as a Human yourself you can understand: Giving up our identity would be, for us, surrender. The Cylon Empire wanted to destroy us, to take the place of their imperfect parents. We refuse to bow down and surrender to them, or to anyone. We would die to the last before doing so."
Luchenko sighed. "As the President of Earth Alliance, I regret that we cannot make you, once again, a part of us. As a Russian woman … I can understand your position. Russia went through its own long, cold, hard winters, when all others around us were enemies and we stood alone, fighting to survive. We reacted as you do – we would not submit; it just wasn't in us."
Foster, Adama and Harvoth nodded in agreement.
"Anyway." Luchenko shook herself out of her minor, pensive manner. "Still. I am certain that there can be something that could benefit both of our peoples. What was your take on the Interstellar Alliance when it was proposed?"
Adama and Foster looked at each other and Foster motioned for Adama to speak. "We were interested … and worried."
The Senator asked, "Worried?"
Adama looked at him. "We are people with limited resources. New Kobol was given to us through the good graces of the Minbari after it was abandoned during the Shadow War. For a mutual defense treaty and agreements to work with them on cultural and religious understanding, they gave it to us. We needed a home and they had one available. Through chance we were given advance warning as to how to most respectfully meet them – a Human Ranger explained their protocols. Earth didn't have that, which caused the war Earth and Minbar had years ago. But we were desperate and it was available. Anyway, because we were refugees, we didn't have much. We were surprised to find most races didn't have artificial gravity. We thought to use it as coin to establish ourselves in the larger galaxy. But the Interstellar Alliance, as a part of its promises, included giving technologies to its members. Which lost us that coin. We will be a part of whatever ship-building the Alliance does in the future as a means to make up for it. But it was a hard blow. We did, however, vote for the Alliance."
Luchenko was intrigued. "If the Interstellar Alliance could have a negative impact on your economic future, why did you join? Why tie yourselves to such an endeavor?"
Adama looked at her. "Because the truth is: There are too many threats if we don't. The Shadows, from our understanding, played upon the inherent self-interest of each government to sow war all around. Even your former President was assisted by them to assassinate his predecessor. The Centauri were encouraged to invade Narn – and then to start fights with all of its neighbors. The Minbari were influenced to Civil War, and the Drakh, who used to work for the Shadows, influenced them. When will they show up again? And what other enemies are out there who could use guile and stealth to create wars, looking to gain for themselves?"
He looked at those present. "My people were twelve separate colonies, though we all came from Kobol – twelve tribes on twelve planets which had wars and disagreements and persecution between them. And in the end, the only way to survive was to band together. Without the Articles of Colonization which unified us, we would have been destroyed in the first Cylon War. And when they came back in overwhelming force, those who survived did so because we were unified. Without that shared identity, we would be gone – and no one outside of the Cylons would ever have known we existed. And I am certain that they wouldn't have taken efforts to remember us as we would have liked to be remembered. Even the Vorlons left us on our own 2000 years ago. So why become a part of this Alliance? Because it's the only way to make certain that we survive."
Adama sighed. "I've been reading Earth poetry, trying to learn English and to understand our brothers and sisters from Earth. I don't remember the name of the poem but the last line is: 'And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?' I took it to mean that although the Shadows are gone, the Vorlons are gone, the known First Ones are gone, the Cylons, for the most part, are contained elsewhere, what new enemy is going to show up and blow up the galaxy again? Can you really afford to wait until something shows up to try to build an Alliance then?"
Luchenko, Leftcourt, and the Senator all considered that argument. Finally Luchenko said, "We're still discussing becoming part of the Alliance. But even if we do, I do think that we can help each other. I'd like to make a proposition."
Adama considered. "That is?"
Luchenko leaned forward. "We have a number of ships that are becoming obsolete. We can't afford to just take them out of service because even we cannot build enough ships to replace them and maintain our readiness. Your people have gravity and your people are Human and understand how Humans think. We," she motioned toward Leftcourt and the Senator, "would like to send one Hyperion to your Logo Negro station, along with several Earth Alliance engineers. We would like to find out if it is possible to retrofit an Earthforce Hyperion with artificial gravity. Hyperions are fast and powerful for their size but too much infrastructure is involved in maintaining crew health under Zero Gravity conditions, thus reducing room for more powerful systems. If … if … they can be retrofitted at a reasonable cost it could do much for us. We could spend far less money for a faster result than trying to replace all of our current ships with new ones. The first will be a joint effort. And if the first can be done and an effective process worked out, we would then send a Nova-Class destroyer to work out a similar process."
Adama, Tory, and Harvoth asked to speak amongst themselves. Foster finally asked that they be allowed time to contact New Kobol.
Adama got word: Earth had agreed to become part of the Interstellar Alliance and Sheridan had successfully navigated his way to a pardon for all of his people.
Making Earth emancipate Mars, he thought, was a good way to show them that they had lost the Civil War.
Finally, Luchenko, Leftcourt, and Senator Henderson met with Adama and Foster (Harvoth had returned to her ship).
"Ambassador Foster. Admiral Adama. What did the President of New Kobol think of our proposal?" Luchenko asked.
"President Grazier, in consultation with Fleet Admiral Turner and the Kobol Senate, agreed. They would like to have your ship and people sent while details are worked out as far as remuneration and technology exchange. But they were all for it."
Luchenko nodded. "Good." She turned to Leftcourt. "We'll need a military representative as well."
Leftcourt replied, "Yes, Madam President. I'll have a name by the time we're ready to send them."
Adama said, "I might have a suggestion."
Leftcourt looked at Adama. "And who would you suggest?"
All three Earth Alliance representatives looked taken aback. "Why Captain Ivanova?"
Adama looked at them knowingly. "Even though Babylon 5 is still independent, they are planning to have an Earthforce commander – I asked Sheridan about that when I spoke to him briefly. Ivanova has been there for four years. Even though she has kept the place together, I find it likely that Sheridan will ask for someone else – she needs a post which is less active for a while. Only through random chance was the Pegasus able to save her damaged ship from destruction when she took on those ships that Clark had built with Shadow tech. Sheridan was dealing with a plot against him and sent her off to lead that battle. She deserved the promotion – but she needs a break.
"Give her the Hyperion and tell her that you're sending her to oversee the retrofit. She had experience with dealing with pretty much every situation having to do with battle as well as administrative work. She was responsible for keeping Babylon 5 costs down and so has experience with budgets. She ran Babylon 5 when Sheridan was leading the League against the Shadows. When she was called to take charge of the White Star squadron, she did that as well. She was loyal to Sheridan, yes, but I've talked to her. She's idealistically loyal to other Earthforce officers and crew. She's also all about kicking ass. She'll make certain that whatever is done to your ship is the best possible option toward making it work and work well."
The three Earth Alliance members moved off to speak quietly. When they came back Leftcourt said, "We'll offer it to her. The other choice is a Warlock-class destroyer and she might prefer that. I'll let her know she was specifically requested."
Adama, who was in an office set aside for visiting Admirals, looked up when the chime sounded. "Come in."
A Colonial marine poked his head in. "Earthforce Captain Ivanova to see you."
"Send her in."
Adama stood up. Ivanova came in and snapped to attention and saluted. Adama returned the salute. "Captain Ivanova. Welcome to the Prometheus."
"Thank you, Admiral. I wanted to talk to you before you left." Prometheus was scheduled to return to New Kobol space.
Adama motioned her to sit down, which she did. "What can I do for you?"
Ivanova looked at him. "General Leftcourt told me that you asked for me as the overseer on this refit project."
"Yes. Yes, I did. Did he tell you my reasons?" he asked.
Adama nodded. "I'll tell you what I told him. You've been running B5 for much of the last four years. And for the last two years you've been on constant duty. Sheridan will likely have to accept that Earth Alliance will want a new station commander for Babylon 5. You deserve a ship – but you also are experienced at what it will take to run a Military project. You understand budgets, administration, working with civilians, and you are familiar with different types of ships and technology. Giving you this job will give you a break while putting your talents and knowledge to use. You'll also be looking out for the crews that will man the ships that will go through this and the needs of Earth Alliance against possible enemies. When the ship is done, you'll be taking it out on its shakedown cruise. It's an important project. Would you rather leave the needs of Earth and your fellow Earthforce officers and crew to bean counters and politicians?"
Ivanova snorted. "No, Admiral. Politicians and bean counters aren't the most sympathetic to what a crew needs."
"Exactly. Those were the reasons I gave Leftcourt. Those weren't all of my reasons."
"Oh?" she asked curiously and cautiously.
"Now that the Earth Alliance is done, they're going to have time to deal with things that they've been putting off. Like chasing down rogue telepaths. The Tribes of Kobol are planning on providing a safe haven from Psi Corp and Earth Alliance rules and laws. I'd like someone on hand who knows Earth Alliance law who isn't sympathetic to Psi Corp. Colonel Alexander is fine, but she's new. She still needs some seasoning. I'm planning on offering her services to Sheridan to learn how to do proper intelligence gathering until they move to Minbar. By the way, I have to thank you."
Susan was curious, "For what, Admiral?"
"For turning Mr. Alexander into a soldier rather than a civilian. She's still learning New Kobol regulations, but she's now a real officer. So thanks."
Susan nodded. "You're welcome." She smiled. "It was fun playing drill sergeant. I got to work out my past issues about my own time in boot."
Adama chuckled. "It's a lot more fun being the one ordering the pushups than the one doing them." Adama then paused and added with a sly tone, "Also, I heard that Ranger Cole will be based out of Ranger Headquarters for a while – and New Kobol is pretty close."
Susan suddenly looked shocked. "What are you talking about? Marcus and I are just comrades, not … whatever you're thinking!"
Adama grinned. "Sure. Whatever you say." Suddenly, he became more serious. "That man is head over heels. You've been fighting against acting and you've been putting it off because of duty. Take it from an old soldier – grab happiness when you can. It's worth it."
Susan sighed. "I'll take your advice under consideration."
"You do that. Anyway. So can I expect you on the ship that they are sending us?"
Susan sighed. "Fine. Yes. I'll be there."
"Good. We're looking forward to having you. Dismissed, Captain."
As Susan walked back to the shuttle she had come on, she started making plans in her head. "I need to meet with John and tell him. I've got to let Leftcourt know I accepted it. And find out what exact ship I'm taking and the hyperspace address and route. I've got to let Marcus know I'm …." She was suddenly horrified to realize where her mind had instinctively taken her. She stopped and yelled, "DAMN IT!" to herself, startling the Colonial crew members she was passing by and the one leading her. She ignored their reactions and stalked toward the landing bay.