The idea for this story came to me while reading A Thin Veneer. The story is good, but I felt that a few parts of it were off (the first thing that comes to mind is how he completely missed the Federation-Romulan Alliance implied in The Last Frontier and blatantly demonstrated by ambassador Nanclus in The Undiscovered Country). At first I wanted to criticize him, but then I wondered why I didn't write my version if I was that good, and started writing. I hope I'm good enough for this.
Prologue part 1: The Cruise of Medea
August 12 2247, Earthdome
It wasn't an unusual question for Lucio Panaccio. As the commander of EAS Medea, one of the ships assigned to raid the Minbari lines, he was often asked how the hell did he survive. Granted, it wasn't even half of the times Sheridan had been asked about the Black Star alone (never mind the rest of what Starkiller had pulled), but it still was pretty often. This time, however, it was big, both for the asker being the Chief of Staff, general Lefcourt, and because of what he had done.
"How did I found those people? It was sheer luck." he admitted. "That, and the Minbari are better than Jankowski at pissing off people. Here how it happened."
Two months earlier, near Myoto
Myoto was unusually well-placed for the needs of the Earth Alliance in the Minbari War. Situated near Minbari territory and away from the main body of Earth space, it was the ideal base for hitting ships in the Minbari Federation itself. Of course, that was true only as long as the Minbari didn't know where the raiders came from. And when they finally discovered Myoto had not been evacuated, the Warrior Caste had been beyond pissed.
"Five Royals and seven Lanterns?! What have we done to deserve this?!" cried Albert Blazic, first officer of Medea, when the sensor officer reported what the Minbari had sent to invade the system.
"Apart raiding their supplies with our base placed so near their core worlds?" Panaccio replied.
"They never complained before."
"Because they didn't expect us to be that crazy. Plus, someone forgot about the beacon we had here. Bet we pissed off even Bremmar... Mr Boothroyd, let's run."
Medea entered the local jump gate with the last ship evacuation ships who had been able to leave. And discovered that the operation had been planned by The Shay'Alyt himself.
"Contact: four Deeps."
"Of course..." was Panaccio's comment.
The Medea wasn't like the ships of the same class that fought in the Dilgar War. Built as an Hyperion Delta, the ship could count from the beginning on the fruits of the war, namely improved fusion reactors, the same armour once used on the infamous Sekhmet-class testbed cruisers (the facilities producing it being seized intact and quickly dismantled and brought into Earth space), and reverse-enginereed ion drives and pulse cannons, and the refit of the previous year had replaced the interceptors with newer models and the plasma cannons and most pulse cannons with five new model railguns, much more effective than energy weapons when used against Minbari crystalline armor. It had enough firepower to kill even the mighty Shargotti warcruisers... And it mattered very little due the still unbroken Minbari stealth. With surprise and one on one, Medea could shoot out of the skies the smaller Minbari ship classes, but against four alert Tigara attack cruisers (reporting name: Deep) all she could do was run, and hope they were too busy checking the civilian vessels for weapons to see her in hyperspace.
"Contact correction: it's two Deeps, one with Wind Sword ID, one Altum and one French. And they're intercepting."
While the presence of the Leshat (reporting name: French) and the Teshlan (Altum) wasn't too bad, as the Leshat would not engage an Hyperion and the neutron lasers of the Teshlan had more problems in hyperspace than the slugs of the railguns, the Tigara with Wind Sword ID was: now that they had Medea as excuse, they would try and shoot down the other civilian vessels, even with the rest of the force trying to follow their rules of engagement.
"All ships, course to Solta Gan." Panaccio ordered. "They'll kill us, but if we make it the garrison will bring the civilians to safety, for now. Mr Garian, prepare a mine and a couple duds for our pursuers. Launch on my mark."
Panaccio waited for when the Minbari ships (more visible in hyperspace) were in the right position, then dropped the mines, hoping to score a kill thanks to the strange nature of hyperspace hiding the actual one and then amplificating the explosion. Normally the decoys wouldn't have been necessary, but the Leshat's superior sensors could detect them and direct the point defense fire. And its sheer volume of fire shot down one of the decoys very quickly, prompting Panaccio to detonate the mine early.
"Shockwave incoming." was the bored warning coming from the sensor station.
The cruiser and the score of civilian vessels it was defending were hit hard by the shockwave, sending them off-course.
"Sensors on line."
"Weapons on line!"
"Reactor on line!"
"Hull integrity: 100%!"
"Good." Panaccio stated. "Hasegawa, what happened?"
"The fusion mine initiated near an anomalous gravitational current, amplificating the shockwave in our direction." lieutenant Hasegawa stated from her sensor station. "Bad news is that we're going somewhere, and I've no idea on how to stop. Good news is that all civvies are following and there's no Minbari around."
"Let's hope we'll be able to stop..."
It took them four days, but the gravitational current stopped pulling the Earth ships, and they were able to lock on a nearby hyperspace beacon.
"Does the beacon say the name of the place?" Panaccio asked.
"Neutral World of Canchika. They specify Neutral World." the first officer announced. "The beacon signal follows both Centauri and Minbari standards."
"Hail Canchika. Announce our arrival and request sanctuary for the civilians and a chance to trade."
A few minutes later, the convoy passed the Canchika system jumpgate, being welcomed by an unknown vessel.
"Unknown vessel estimated size: over five million tonnes. Power comsumption indicates twice our firepower. They've locked on us."
Checked with a map from the B5 Wars game and the Galactic Guide of the RPG: Myoto colony is actually placed at spitting distance from Minbar itself. The Minbari probably thought the colony had been long evacuated, and when they bothered to check they were obviously furious, even if Earthforce never actually located Minbar.
The reporting names I've assigned Minbari ships are fish themed, with variants of the Sharlin hullform based on angelfish species (the Royals mentioned here are in fact the basic Sharlin) and the Tinashi on sharks (the Lanterns are Esharan, anti-fighter variant of the Tinashi). The whole list can be found in the scraps of my Deviantart profile at lordmartiyaDOTdeviantartDOTc om.