A grand long fanfic (104 Chapters!) by Lord of Misrule of Babylon 5's most neglected part of its Back Story; the war against the Dilgar that established Earth Alliance as a major power in the galaxy.The story, initially as told by Warmaster Jha'Dur - aka Deathwalker - to the Minbari during the Earth-Minbari War, tells of her brother Sha'Dur discovering that their world's sun was going to nova in 15 years. Although their immediate superiors scoff, the Dilgar military takes the warning seriously and recruits the siblings for a solution. Deciding that going public would be equally devastating with the probable mass panic and asking for help by neighboring worlds with an evacuation would mean being ruthlessly exploited, the Dilgar military decides to find a new home and secure it by force by absolutely any means necessary.Ten years, Jha'Dur and Sha'Dur have become senior officers as we follow their and comrades' bloody conquests against the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. Driven by the threat of their species' pending extinction, the Dilgar, already known as ruthlessly militaristic and species-centric, become horrifically brutal in their campaigns with Jha'Dur becoming both the most skilled and most depraved of the commanders both on the battlefield and in her sadistic laboratories respectively. Not only do she and her brother inflict terrible genocidal havoc, but they have to deal with internal political rivals even as a foster sibling, Ari'shan, becomes the supreme Dilgar Ace Pilot, albeit with a code of honor and a strong conscience for his species.Parallel to this, we follow the desperate efforts of the various League members trying to defend themselves, crippled by their own disunity. Furthermore, help from the major space powers proves impossible: the Centauri would enslave them all again, the Narns prefer to keep out of the Dilgar's way to focus their operations against the Centauri and the Minbari talk to no one, period. Regardless, the genocidal Dilgar steamroller presses relentlessly ahead, crushing all hope and life in its path.However, there is one rising hope from a newcomer into the galactic stage, Earth. Realizing the growing threat of the Dilgar, tentative steps are taken to understand the full situation and the story follows various Terran heroes as they are drawn into the conflict. These include Sgt. Alfredo Garibaldi and his trooper comrades, originally of the Persephone, a heavy cruiser which during a scouting mission under the cover of a humanitarian gesture fell in heroic defense of the innocent victims of Dilgar brutality. There is also the crew of the freighter, Space Race who find themselves in the thick of the resistance with their secret agent friend, Jenny Sakai. Together, this ragtag group of soldiers and civilians stranded on a Dilgar controlled world strike the first unofficial Earth blow on the ground against the enemy, including Deathwalker herself, and escape with invaluable intelligence in an adventure that would be the first of many for them all. The opening skirmishes are not just in the frontier as Jenny fights subtler threats like hunting a deadly Dilgar spy on Earth with the help of Francis O'Leary, teenage hacker turned intelligence communications analyst extraordinaire.All this leads to when Earth finally decides to take a stand and joins the fight for real...This work contains examples of the following tropes:
Ace Pilot: Bill Hague is assigned to the ace-only Ghost Riders squadron right after training, and quickly proves he belongs there. The squadron leader, David Sinclair, is introduced as Earthforce most lethal pilot in virtue of his unmatched tally.
Earlier we have Ari'shan, the best pilot of the Dilgar Imperium (who will give Sinclair a desperate run for his money), and Tullaq, one of the best Cascan pilots.
Londo Mollari and Urza Jaddo shoot down plenty of Narn fighters at the Battle of Gorash. Somewhat diminished by their fighters being superior to the Narn ones, but they still did quite a good job and survived having over a hundred Narn fighters chasing them without using their superior speed to simply leave them in the dust.
All There in the Manual: The basic plot and all the ships come from the Babylon 5 GDR and the Babylon 5 Wars tabletop game, so anyone having read the background material about the Dilgar War will know part of the story and Jha'dur's ultimate fate: she accepted Morden's offer and escaped the initial Vorlon assassination attempt, but her escape pod was the objective of a free-for-all for her capture until the Brakiri managed to take her away. The ship with Jha'dur never reappeared, and the ambassadors at Babylon 5 received warning that they really were not ready for immortality.
Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted that at the Dilgar in a desperate military crusade to secure a new home before their home world's sun goes nova. Unfortunately, the Dilgar culture, already xenophobic and militaristic, takes this as a justification to enslave, exploit or simply exterminate all other species in their path in the name of this goal, which means that they rile up a lot of species determined to stop them, especially Earth.
Jha'dur's treatment of prisoners and civilians includes things like infecting a whole colony to see how long people would take to die and inserting torture nanoprobes into a Narn prisoner (that would come to bite her back in the ass in the series, when the granddaughter of the Narn met her on Babylon 5 and nearly bludgeoned her to death, alerting the League of Non-Aligned Worlds of her survival in the process).
Awakening the Sleeping Giant: The destruction of the Persephone defending refugees from slaughter by the Dilgar proved enough to wake up Earth to a small degree. However, it was the Dilgar's moronic timing of invading the Markab territory, buffer state to Earth, just as the League survivors were giving an persuasively impassioned speech to the Earth Senate showing how despicable their enemy is, that finally got Earth into the war.
Ambassador Itala actually said "I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping Giant and fill him with terrible resolve" commenting the devastation brought by Earthforce on the combined Dilgar First Strike, Second Strike and First Line fleets at Markab.
Awesome McCoolname: Captain Manly Power of the battlecruiser EAS Temeraire, known to his crew as Captain Power (according to a character, he has the best name ever). Quite appropriately, his first appearance has his ship scaring away a Dilgar task force.
Bad Boss: Most Dilgar high officers have a tendence to execute subordinates who have been defeated or who tell them they're wrong. Jha'dur and a few others are more lenient, sparing subordinates who loses due bad luck and circumstances and encouraging them to voice their opinions, but they're rare. This results in most Dilgar officers being unable to think on their feet and bites them back in the ass at Balos, as after Jha'dur is apparently killed in battle there's noone capable to direct the battle half-decently and the Alliance can pick them off piecemeal.
BFG: Paul owns a Smith & Wesson Model 29, chambered for .44 Magnum. Upon getting hit by its bullets and discovering his body armor wasn't enough, a Dilgar Spectre died cursing "humans and their unswerving desire to always have a bigger gun".
Big Bad Wannabe: We have two of them. The first is warmaster Len'char, a shrewd politician but nowhere as smart or a capable military commander as Jha'dur and Gar'shan, with his plans continuously backfiring. Then we have Salasine of the Drakh, the man behind Len'char, who qualifies by means of advanced technology he gave to the Dilgar, having manouvered Len'char, and being The Dragon to the Shadows and the leader of the ones who would become the greatest enemy after the departure of the Shadows in Babylon 5, but he gets Out-Gambitted by Jha'dur and his masters abandon him to his fate.
Big Damn Heroes: The Dilgar surround the planet, Markab, its religious inhabitants pray with all their might for a miracle, and get one when 100+ jump points suddenly appear as Earth's space naval forces attack.
Earlier captain Manly Power of the EAS Temeraire entered the story by rescuing the League ambassadors and the Space Race via scaring away a Dilgar task force with just his presence.
Blatant Lies: Len'char's journal entry on his arrival in Earth space to try and get a non-aggression treaty was rather inaccurate, to the point that nobody present at the actual encounter could remain serious after reading it.
Boring but Practical: Earthforce disarmed the old stockpiles of nukes (including Cold War era ones) by firing them at the Dilgar. Safer for Earthforce personnel, faster than building new nuclear warheads to fit into modern missiles, and cost-effective to boot.
The Cassandra: Liman Brocat is treated as crazy when he predicts that the Dilgar will come for the Brakiri too and openly compares Jha'dur to the mythical Deathwalker. Later subverted, as the epilogue shows that when he warned about the Shadow War the Brakiri listened, and his assassination served only to confirm he was right.
Chekhov's Gun: In a modern time segment of the story, a Babylon 5 security member thinks about the guys who fail at smuggle guns aboard the station by hiding them in briefcases. Francis O'Leary smuggles Dal'shan's gun under his nose in an EIA-issue briefcase.
Chekhov's Gunman: David Sinclair was first referenced in chapter 38, when a starfury with his nose art and its squadron used the Space Race as cover during a wargame, and later in chapter 47 when he's identified as the pilot of a Spitfire at an airshow, a dozen chapter before being properly introduced as Bill Hague's new superior officer and Earthforce's best Starfury pilot.
Continuity Nod: In the opening battle of Earth vs. the Dilgar, it was Captain Michael Jankowski who prematurely starts it when his superior was just about to talk a Dilgar commander into letting them leave the system. A furious Admiral wants to dropkick the trigger happy idiot from Earth Force, but the spectacular victory and Jankowski's political connections make this impossible. This is the same idiot who years later would start the hopeless Earth-Minbari War that almost got Humanity exterminated.
We also see G'Kar's encounter with the Walkers of Sigma-957, that in the series was a Noodle Incident compared to ants risking getting stomped by passing humans (with G'Kar in the role of the ant).
The Ghost Rider squadron, Babylon 5 main starfury squadron, was embarked on the Nemesis during the Dilgar War.
When describing Earthforce logistical problems and the need for movable space stations, it's revealed that what would become the Babylon-series stations had actually been designed for the Dilgar War before a cheaper solution had been found.
Sha'dur had apparently found a way to send ships in an hellish space whose inhabitants are described strikingly similar to Thirdspace aliens. Jha'dur used his method to sent there a now immortal Len'char to get tortured forever.
Jha'dur mocking the Minbari habit of saluting other warriors with open gunports before Delenn, evidencing the stupidity of it, may be the reason why, in the series, Delenn was on Babylon 5 C&C to explain that habit right when a Minbari Warcruiser showed up with open gunports in a sign of respect.
In the Battle of Omelos the Dilgar use what Earthforce would call Bonehead Manouver, that, by opening a jump point inside an activated jumpgate, is guaranteed to annihilate both the ship using it and anything that gets caught into the shockwave.
G'Kar at one point states that his fondest wish is to strangle the Centauri Emperor to death, even if it is with his final breath. In one of the show's looks at the future, we see that this is indeed how he dies- mutually killing Londo, freeing the Centauri Republic from the Drakh influence.
In the series, Londo and Urza speak of the Battle of Gorash, in which the latter was a hero but has come to be haunted by the experience. Chapter 27 shows us the battle, in which Londo also took part.
Cool Ship: A few, but the EAS Nemesis takes the cake.
Also, the Corumai. A failed Super Prototype the Brakiri built in the attempt to bring the Nova-class concept Up to Eleven thanks to their superior technology, it massacred any Dilgar ship coming into weapons range as soon as they managed to patch her enough to move at half speed and fire slowly. And the Brakiri are mentioned as having finally worked out the design flaws.
Played interestingly with some Earthforce ships. Characters will gush on and on about Hyperion-class cruisers, Tiger-class Starfuries, and Nova-class destroyers, but those who watch the show know that all of these ship designs will be obsolete by the time the series proper starts by Omega-class destroyers, Nova-class Starfuries, and more.
Crazy-Prepared: According to Jha'dur, Earthforce is this. Everyone else with a powerful military was expecting to use it soon (the Dilgar against the League, the Drazi against Dilgar, Narn, Hurr and maybe the Centauri, the Hurr against the Drazi, the Abbai and the Cascor against the Dilgar, Hyach and Brakiri against Narn and Centauri, the Vree armed their fleets because they actively explored potentially dangerous space, and Centauri and Narn against each other and maybe the League). Earth kept around a fleet of ships that outgunned everything the Dilgar had of similar size, the best army in local space and a nuclear arsenal so huge that bordered on insane even by Dilgar standards, just in case - and when they realized war was imminent, they started a build up. Jha'Dur herself admits that she is quite unnerved by a race that takes its military preparedness that seriously.
Crowbar Combatant: Alfredo Garibaldi mauled a Dilgar Spectre to death with the first thing he grabbed. Guess what it was?
Deus Ex Nukina: Humans love their nuclear weapons, to the point that what they consider acceptable to hit a routed Dilgar fleet is openly considered insane by the Dilgar (who after Earthforce are the biggest users of nukes) for anything less than bombing a planet into oblivion. After that, they decide that the only way to attack Earth is a stealth ship armed with biological weapons, because a direct attack would be met with enough nukes to make the earlier display look like a fireworks show.
"Earth Force rule of war number one, Nuke it. Nuke it twice, then nuke it a third time just to be sure."
Also during the Dilgar assault on the Abbai homeworld, the Abbai repeal the attack with liberal use of nukes, verging on Superweapon Surprise as the Abbai are Actual Pacifists who fight only in self-defense and had never used or even built nuclear weapons before (these had been bought from the Drazi and the Brakiri).
Didn't See That Coming: Jha'dur's attempt at poisoning Earth failed because the plague ship was ambushed by a Minbari warship searching for them.
Francis O'Leary using the Dilgar's own jamming to keep contact between Earthforce command and the allied army trapped on Balos. When informed, Jha'dur actually asked "How is that possible?"
The Dilgar Spectre got some stealth suits from the Drakh, suits that make the wearer invisible to naked eye and pretty much all sensors. Then a Spectre trying to infiltrate Earthdome discovered the hard way that dogs can locate invisible Spectres just fine, and react harshly.
Dreadful Musician: The Dilgar's first reaction at hearing bagpipes is of pure fear. Years later, Jha'dur would play a recording of bagpipes to Delenn, making her cringe at the sound and gawk at the reveal that the warmaster grew to love them. Also lampshaded by Jha'dur herself when she describes bagpipes as "a musical instrument to some, or torture to others".
Earth Saves The Day: Earth is the obvious analogy for America in this version of World War II and its entry into the war is an equal moment of celebration.
Everybody's Dead, Dave: Subverted in a bombshell told to Jha'Dur when she was held on Babylon 5, years after the Dilgar's homeworld was destroyed, that her foster brother, Ari'shan, and small colonies of Dilgar are still alive and hidden by Earth to allow them to reestablish themselves as a viable and peaceful population in the galaxy.
Evil-Detecting Dog: The Dilgar's secret Spectre troopers, armed with an advanced cloaking tech that makes them invisible, learn the hard way that dogs can still find them.
Fate Worse Than Death: To quote from the story: '"I promise I will not kill Len'char." Jha'dur said solemnly. Then she broke into the most evil grin Ari could remember seeing. "No matter how much he begs for it."'
Fling a Light into the Future: Towards the end of the war, after Jha'dur's final defeat at Balos, Gal'shan sends thousands of people away on sleeper ships, so that the Dilgar will be able to settle and make a comeback some day in the future.
In the last real time segment, set on Babylon 5 herself, Jha'dur openly talks of an incoming war the Minbari Warrior fears, and anticipates both the Minbari Civil War and Clark's aggressive external politics and military build up.
For the Evulz: Apparently Jha'dur told Delenn the story just to get her curious on how the war ended only to admit she had no idea and suggest ask the humans. Jha'dur was really bored as a Minbari prisoner...
Fragile Speedster: Dilgar ships are remarkably fast and well armed, but their armor is rather thin. Drazi and Vree employ small ships of similar conception, only faster (and, in the case of the Vree, more heavily armed than anything of similar size) and more thinly armored.
Godwin's Law: Justified here in that Ambassador Sheridan quietly advises the League to play up the Diglar's parallels to the Those Wacky Nazis to the Earth Senate in order to persuade them to help. Considering that the Dilgar are engaged in outright genocidal wars of conquest and horrific exploitation of subjugated peoples such as Deathwalker's sadistic experiments, the parallel is perfectly apt.
Heroic Sacrifice: When the EAS Persephone chooses to stay and die fighting to defend innocent alien refugees from the Dilgar's murderous brutality, an act that does wonders for Earth's reputation as a heroic champion.
Subverted by Paul commanding the Space Race into certain death to enable his friends to escape. By the time he's cornered by the Dilgar and about to blow himself up to deliver one last blow, Earth Force ships storm in to rescue him.
Hollywood Tactics: Played with at one point, where they're actually useful- Paul mentions that he's seen enough movies to know that full-auto weapons fire in an enclosed space isn't a good idea, and advises his crew to pick their shots carefully (both to avoid friendly fire and to conserve ammunition).
Hope Spot: G'Kar seems open to having the Narn help the League fight the Dilgar, only to be instructed at the last minute to turn them down.
Humans Are Warriors: They certainly impress Jha'Dur who sees one Earth ship, EAS Persephone, fight to defend the innocent from the Dilgar and proving much tougher than any Dilgar expected. It is that story that convinces the League survivors that Earth is their last hope, and it does not disappoint.
I Surrender, Suckers: Dilgar infantry pulled this at least once, faking surrender to advancing Earth troops before blowing themselves up. Given this incident resulted in Earth troops ceasing taking prisoners (the same reason fake surrender is a war crime in Real Life), there's no notice it happened again.
Ignored Expert: Jha'Dur is both the Dilgar's best military commander and a brilliant scientist and even she can't convince most of the Dilgar's Joint Chiefs of Staff to act rationally concerning dangerous potential enemies like the Minbari and especially Humanity.
Stro'kath is in the same position: the only Drazi general capable to defeat the Dilgar, the government consistently ruins his plans, costing the Drazi thousands of lives and their one possibility to defeat the Dilgar alone.
Irony: Invoked at Balos by Jha'dur, when she notes her flagship Vendetta is about to be blasted apart by the EAS Nemesis. The fact she had previously called Earth Alliance as the nemesis (meaning someone extremely similar to you but different in one detail that makes them your sworn enemies and the one thing you can't defeat) of the Dilgar made this even more ironic.
Len'char wanted to have supreme power over the Dilgar, and Jha'dur opposed him. Len'char becomes emperor as a side effect of Jha'dur finally snapping and nuking the rest of the Dilgar nobility and personally killing the emperor. Jha'dur found it quite funny, before returning to torture Len'char.
Jerkass Has a Point: Harry Brogan wanted to get the facility where the Dilgar were producing a smaller version of the missiles used by the Shadow Planet Killer because they and their technology would have been very useful in case Earth was attacked by a superior power, like the Centauri... Or the Minbari.
Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Earth armed the Olympus-class corvettes and the Artemis-class frigates with railguns. Dilgar ships of similar size are openly described as being wrecked by a single armor-piercing railgun round due to thin armor.
The Dilgar use the Colony Drop variant in orbital bombardment (dropping asteroids is just more powerful and cost-effective than using conventional weapons).
Large Ham: Both Londo Mollari and Susan Ivanova appear in the story (the latter only in the segments set during the series). Londo is usually too busy to fully unleash his hamminess, but Ivanova finds the time to declare "And next time, don't try sneaking around on my station, I'm like he oracle, I see everything. Pleasant flight".
La Résistance: The Free Balosian Navy, still raiding Dilgar supply lines over a year after their homeworld's surface was occupied by the Dilgar and ruining Sha'dur's first assault on Brakos. Also the majority of the Balosian population, having sheltered themselves under the surface and making raids on the Dilgar occupation force.
Leave Behind a Pistol: When battlemaster Yeg'dra screwed up and reported for punishment to Jha'dur without justifying himself, Jha'dur spared him whatever horrible punishment she was thinking about and gave him paper, pen, a pistol and two minutes to leave a message for his family and kill himself, allowing him to die with honour.
Subverted by Jha'dur: when Par'nan tried to get her to do this by telling her how her Morality Chain had died in battle and her mentor was comatose and invoking whatever guilt she may have felt for the devastating defeat at Markab, Jha'dur cut his head.
Manly Tears: Joe Tennant shed them when he found out the maintenance crew have painted two Jolly Rogers on his ship.
Mighty Glacier: Earthforce ships are notable for being ugly, slow, capable to take a lot of punishment and hit HARD, as shown by the Persephone destroying approximately five times worth her own mass of Dilgar ships (made out of three cruisers, two destroyers and four frigates) and could still fight. And the Persephone was a mere heavy cruiser, that is both faster, less armed and softer than the Nova-class dreadnoughts, one of which, the Nemesis in a battle was hit by a kiloton-level nuke, innumerable plasma and laser shots by Dilgar weapons, a Starfury shooting at the fuel lines (the nuke had destroyed the ship's ability to maneuver, that was the only way to make her change course) and HER OWN WEAPONS (they had to kill a Dilgar gunship, and the hull was in the way), and all she needed was a couple months in spacedock before returning fighting capable and scoring the first killing of a Dilgar Sekhmet-class cruiser.
Mook Horror Show: The ground part of the Second Battle of Comac is shown from the point of view of the outnumbered, outgunned and outmatched Dilgar soldiers.
The start of the ground battle at Balos sees the Dilgar dealing with two millionsGaim warriors dropped on them. Said warriors are tough enough to shrug off small arms fire and fight by clawing, tearing apart and eating anyone slow enough to be caught in their claws. Earthforce officers actually wondered if they were committing a war crime by dropping the Gaim on the Dilgar...
Morality Pet: Sha'Dur, Jha'Dur's beloved brother. However, this is in very relative terms considering that he himself is an efficient ruthlessly genocidal military leader himself, with an initial fanatical machismo his sister manages to make him grow out of. However, his death thanks to a superior's betrayal and the enemy's newfound might removes the final personal restraints from Jha'Dur and become even more desperately fanatical and vindictive moves to both save her people and more importantly lash out against the universe.
More Dakka: a standard Earthforce tactic in fleet battles is to deploy thousands of multi-megaton nukes (according to the story, at Markab they deployed a dozen of them for every Dilgar ship).
Earthforce's entire philosophy of combat, including strategy, grand strategy, and logistics. Earth Alliance is technologically behind pretty much everyone, but uses its vast economy to compensate for it by brute force. Earthforce vessels are neither elegant nor subtle, and consume supplies like nobody's business, but they are vast, heavily-armed and armoured engines of destruction, and are produced in vast numbers.
Mugging the Monster: When telling his story, Victor Chapel mentions how he met his wife: she was a waitress in a bar that got held up when filled with Army Rangers and Special Forces. The robber is described as the unluckiest guy in the entire Earth Alliance, and Vic adds that "he was just happy to have enough bones intact to walk to the police truck."
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Dilgar dreadnoughts tend to have names like Conqueror, Overlord and Terror, but Jha'dur's second and third flagships, Deathwalker (named after the Brakiri avatar of death and the way they called the warmaster) and Vendetta, takes the cake.
Some Earthforce ships have equally ominous names, most notable the dreadnought Nemesis (Joe Tennant's ship and the vessel that gutted the Vendetta) and the Thanatos. Also the Ghost Riders squadron, assigned to the Nemesis during the Dilgar War and later part of Babylon 5 defense force.
Neutral No Longer: Earth remained neutral for most of the story due to the Senate's opposition to the war. Then, between the League's ambassadors invoking Godwin's Law before the Senate and convincing it the Dilgar were an impending danger and the Dilgar's timing in invading Markab, Earth entered the war and proceeded to kick Jha'dur's ass.
Never Found the Body: Played straight four times. The first time is when Dar'ro drives a car in the sea at Manhattan and his body isn't found (the EIA agents immediately wonder where he'll reappear). The second time is Dar'ro again, who apparently falls to his death after jumping from the Ten Thousand Tower (a skyscraper ten thousand feet tall), and when he reappears Jenny plunges a knife into his heart, barely a second after he was shot in the back, just to be safe. The third time is when Jha'dur's battlecruiser is destroyed by the Nemesis over Balos, with Jenny asking if they found the body (when Earthforce searched the relic, they discovered that the body was missing and the ship had been finished by unknown weapons). Finally, in the fourth, we have the canonical death of Jha'dur as happened in the series, with her shuttle disintegrated by the Vorlons... And the knowledge that the Shadows had offered to save her, and no idea if she accepted or not. Being Genre Savvy, the EIA considers Jha'dur still alive...
No Kill Like Overkill: Nova-class dreadnoughts are armed with eighteen twin laser turrets, powerful enough that four or five are more than enough to kill anything the Dilgar have (at Markab, a full barrage from forty-nine of them was enough to kill a third of the Dilgar First Strike Fleet in seconds, and would have killed more if the hulks of the leading ships had not absorbed part of the salvo), and two plasma cannons that have more firepower than everything else on the ship. Also, see More Dakka.
The liberation of Tiree is a truly egregious example. The planet was garrisoned by eight regular Dilgar divisions, one Stormtrooper division (low quality thugs in uniform) and one Guard division (elite). As a starter, Earthforce launched an orbital barrage with plasma and 'tactical' nukes of two megatons each that destroyed air and artillery support and reduced the eight regular divisions to fifteen thousand shaken soldiers who took refuge in a city near a concentration camp filled with Markab civilians. Earthforce couldn't nuke the surviving Dilgar, so they deployed ten divisions (two of them armored) and devastated the city with orbital, artillery (conventional and rocket) and aircraft bombardament, with similar effects to a nuke. Then they deployed thermobaric weapons, before having the ten divisions advance. Amazingly, the only Markab losses where among the unlucky ones used as shields to protect the trench line hit by the artillery.
The facility where the Dilgar produced their final superweapon, the missiles of the Shadow Planet Killer, was deemed a target to destroy at any cost, but was buried deep in an ice moon. So, what they did? First, they had a Hyach ship fire the most powerful laser in the galaxy to boil off all the ice over the facility, then they fired the four biggest nukes ever deployed by Earthforce. The facility did not survive the first nuke, but just in case...
Nothing Can Stop Us Now: Jha'dur says it after destroying the Hyach's main fleet, justifying herself that with the Abbai and the Brakiri now bottled up in their own homeworlds, the Drazi fighting for their lives and the Hyach deprived of any mobile force, there was nobody else that was both capable and willing to defeat them. And she was right: Earthforce wasn't capable yet, as the necessary build up was taking time.
Not So Different: Humans and Dilgar, according to any character who knows both races' history. From Jha'dur's musings, it appears that on Omelos a regime similar to Nazi Germany took over the world with nuclear weapons and evolved in the modern Dilgar Imperium after enslaving or killing every Dilgar who wasn't a Dilgar Prime. From that emerged two similar but different nations, and so on. The similarities are so great that Jha'dur is clearly unnerved by Earthforce and consider it the nemesis to Dilgar armed forces.
Jha'dur also points out that the Minbari warriors are not that different from the Dilgar, and possibly even worse: after all, the Dilgar rampage was motivated by their need to escape their sun going nova and their inability to even consider asking for help, while the Minbari are doing it to avenge one man. She also compares Delenn with herself, declaring that if the humans knew who had cast the decisive vote to start the Earth-Minbari War, her name would be reviled among them as Deathwalker's is among the League.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: A majority of the Dilgar Warmaster Council acts like this after the Drazi's Operation Retributive Strike nearly broke their lines, vetoing Jha'dur's plan to spare time and bring the war to the Drazi's homeworld itself because that would have meant entering at war with a few weak races that they would have attacked later anyway (and one of which joined the Drazi in time to give Jha'dur the excuse to devastate their homeworld early). Luckily for the Dilgar, Operation Retributive Strike had been sabotaged by the Drazi's own Obstructive Bureaucrat ruining the timetable under the assumption that the Dilgar's rout had actually been a feigned retreat and taking Stro'kath from the frontlines for pursuing the Dilgar with his personal fleet (not enough to annihilate the Dilgar forces on the Drazi front), thus giving Jha'dur the time she needed to reach the Drazi front.
Oh, Crap: Ari'shan's reaction when his squadron takes on Earth's starfuries for the first time and its nearly wiped out in a few seconds.
Also happened earlier when he encountered the refitted Space Race and saw the ship wiping out twenty out of twenty-three fighters he had with him (just rookies, but they had still been wiped out in less than a minute and himself had barely survived) before taking down a frigate that had come in support, and, as he was alone after leaving behind the surviving fighters, saw all the Interceptor turrets rotate in his direction.
In the same occasion he got another one when one of his surviving wingmates fired nukes at the Space Race in spite of orders of capturing the ship. After the Race escaped, the one who had fired the nukes took responsability and killed himself to prevent Jha'dur from executing the survivors for disobeying a direct order.
Jha'Dur gets TWO at the Second Battle of Markab, the first when she realizes she has just put her main ships (including her flagship) are in the best firing arc of Earthforce dreadnoughts (to quote Jha'dur herself: "Gods! I've killed us all!"), and then, after surviving that thanks to the Heroic Sacrifice of her escort and ordering a full retreat, when she's told that Earthforce just fired a nuclear saturation strike of more nuke-tipped missiles than the Dilgar had ships in the battle.
Happens to the Dilgar ground troops on Balos, when Earthforce and the League have the ground invasion spearheaded by the Gaim, whose warriors are ferocious insectoids offering us a Mook Horror Show from the viewpoint of the Dilgar unfortunate enough to meet them first.
Warleader Stro'kath of the Drazi provoked two at the Dilgar in two consequent chapters: first when he outwits battlemaster Yeg'dra by pulling him away from his target, buying enough time to wipe out Jha'dur's supply convoy with no loss at all, and then when he enters the battle of Deskartalos and launches a fleet-wide kamikaze attack on Third Strike Fleet and the Home Fleet (warmaster Dar'sen barely managed to have his ships jump out of the system after crying "By the gods!" when he realized what Stro'kath was trying to do).
Three in a single scene: first it's warmaster Dru'tal as Jha'dur lists what support he had for his planned coup and how it had been destroyed, then happens to warmaster Sen'la when Jha'dur tells him she knows he was supporting Dru'tal, and in the end the whole council save for warmaster Yor'lothan (who opted to curse Jha'dur) when Jha'dur orders her men to execute them.
Out-Gambitted: Warmaster Dru'tal tried to organize a coup against Jha'dur, only to have Jha'dur laugh in his face before she told him what had happened to his support: the Drakh were now with her as guinea pigs, the Eight Infantry Division, garrisoning Omelos' capital city, had just lost its command staff in an 'accident' involving a stalled engine and a freight train, the Circle of Supreme Justices judges had been killed when a missile in a nearby munition factory 'misfired' and destroyed the whole High Court building, and the governor of Tirrith had been killed by Starfuries while traveling to Omelos (Jha'dur blamed herself for this one because she had ordered it using four starfuries captured earlier in the war). As Jha'dur pointed out, that's what happens when you organize a coup against the one person who owns your intelligence community.
Jha'dur standard modus operandi in battle is to outgambit her enemies, hitting it exactly where it hurts most and transforming their strengths into weaknesses. Then at Markab admiral Hamato of Earthforce outgambitted her thanks to their ability to listen and decode her orders in real time. At Balos, finally, Jha'dur outgambitted him back, and would have forced an armistice if it hadn't been for a Spanner in the Works.
Warleader Stro'kath of the Drazi was a professional outgambitter, first ruining the Dilgar counteroffensive against Operation Retributive Strike by hitting their supplies, and then launching a counteroffensive against warmaster Dar'sen (who was ready to defeat either a Drazi fleet or an Earthforce fleet) by attacking with a combined Drazi-Earthforce fleet (where Dilgar plans against a Drazi fleet meant exposing themselves to Earthforce superior firepower and endurance and the ones to deal with Earthforce meant opening wide open for the Drazi wolf pack tactics).
Overshadowed by Awesome: Happens to Alfredo Garibaldi, who had become famous for beating to death a Dilgar Spectre (special force with uniforms that make them invisible) with a crowbar. He is universally considered a badass for that, and gets a promotion to sergeant... Then, on Gamma 7, captain Franklin demolished various fuel tanks, a trench line and the mission objective (a communication building that was to be captured or destroyed) with one anti-tank missile. They immediately tell Garibaldi he's still badass but Franklin is more, and Garibaldi accepts it.
Paranoia Fuel: An in-universe example is Jha'dur's ultimate fate. Did the Vorlons actually kill her? Did she join the Shadows and/or Drakh? Did she recreate the Drafa Plague to exterminate the Markab in a way that made them unwilling to even consider searching for a cure?
Playful Hacker: Francis is one, and proves it in his very first scene by casually penetrating the protected area of the site of Earthforce to impress a girl. Then the girl admitted being a member of the Earth Intelligence Agency, and had him choose between serving prison time or join the EIA and getting paid for being a Playful Hacker.
Properly Paranoid: Battlemaster Dal'shan, scouring Earth space to attack supply lines with a Sekhmet-class cruiser (capable to outgun everything Earthforce had that was fast enough to reach weapons range and to either outrun or mission-kill from range Earthforce dreadnoughts) and two destroyers, aborted an attack on a convoy of four super freighters and seven relatively smaller bulk freighters when the convoy escort of four corvettes ran away. His first officer thought he was being paranoid. Then they barely escaped the dreadnought hidden between the superfreighters, the missile cruisers inside the superfreighters and an Hyperspeed Ambush from a battlecruiser. An identical raiding force had been marginally slower into spotting the ambush and was annihilated before being able to scream in fear, without the missile cruisers having to show themselves.
Rage Against the Heavens: Jha'dur invokes this as, after all the sacrifices of her people, they were winning and had found Mitoc as the perfect new homeworld when Earthforce showed up to kick their asses and taking what they had gained in battle, saying that it was a mockery of the gods that Mitoc was snatched from them like that. Then she acted accordingly on Mitoc.
Ramming Always Works to knock down both the ramming ships and its target. The Dilgar are usually at the receiving end of a Drazi ramming attack, but at Balos it's Earthforce to be at the end of ramming attacks from nine thousand suicide frigates.
Refuge in Audacity: Stro'kath's plan at the battle of Deskartalos was to scare Dar'sen away with a fleet-wide ramming attack with the only purpose to hide the fact the whole Drazi military had ammo and fuel for only half an hour of battle. It worked.
Doubles as Xanatos Gambit: had Dar'sen not run, his fleet would have been annihilated, and the Drazi would still have had enough ships to attack Omelos (with the way now open) as soon as the supply ships arrived.
Salt the Earth: Jha'Dur does this to the planet Mitoc, the planned new homeworld for the Dilgar species, when she deliberately turns its orbital weapons on to depopulate it of both the natives and her own people, including the 8 year old heir to the Imperial throne, rather have it fall to Earth's rapidly advancing forces and allies.
Smug Snake: G'kar, of course. He's still learning the trade, but he's already quite good.
Shoot the Bullet: as in Babylon 5 proper, Earth warships are equipped with Interceptors, energy-based CISW capable to shoot down incoming fire from plasma, particle and missile weapons (lasers are trickier, as they need that the laser is firing directly at the Interceptor), and treat enemy fighters as target practice. Their only glitch is that they overheat fast in pitched battles, so they're more a way for Earthforce ships to close in and make their superior firepower count.
Spanner in the Works: Francis O'Leary, a young hacker who got voluntereed by Earth Intelligence Agency as a codebreaker with the express purpose to make him one for The Mole in the Codebreaking section. Francis outed that The Mole was the head of the Codebreaking section. Later he did again at Balos, when he realized that killing Jha'dur meant that her fleet at Balos would lose any coordination and managed to send Hamato the message 'It's not an hydra', prompting him to launch a final desperate counteroffensive against Balos aiming exactly for Jha'dur's ship.
The Strategist: Warleader Stro'kath of the Drazi. Usually the Drazi's standard tactic and strategy is to Zerg Rush in the wall of fire of the Dilgar ships, but the ones under his command (or the one of his students) fights more intelligently, forcing the Dilgar (who, after an initial blunder, sent against them their best commander after Jha'dur) to a standstill, and would have probably won if not for political meddling. Also, as a junior officer, he's the one Drazi who killed Ari'dur, but he never found out until much later.
Supreme Warmaster Gar'shan is the Supreme Warmaster for a reason: defeating Jha'dur in battle it's actually easier than dealing with him.
Sufficiently Advanced Alien: while attempting to stop a political rival from giving the Dilgar Earth's coordinates, G'kar and said rival stumble on an alien ship that nearly destroy the Narn vessels by merely passin nearby and without even noticing. When remembering this in the series, G'kar will simply say that in space there are aliens that make the Narn and Humans look like ants.
Super Prototype: the Sekhmet-class cruisers, made with new alloys and advanced weapons, Deflector Shields, artificial gravity and gravitic drives taken from destroyed League vessels (and, in the case of the Vendetta, the interceptors of the EAS Persephone, increasing the point defense and getting the ability to shoot down incoming fire). Their production was stopped by Jha'dur at twenty ships because they were massively expensive, each being worth a couple dreadnoughts, and they STILL can't survive a salvo from a Nova-class dreadnought.
Subverted by the dreadnought Corumai. The Brakiri designed her on the example of the Nova-class, putting on her as much armour and guns as physically possible... Only to realize their best reactors can barely move the ship, having to design more powerful ones, and then even more powerful in the hope they'll work. The ship was the last hope of the Brakiri against the Dilgar assault.
Then Double Subverted when they finally managed to make the Corumai move at half speed and fire slowly. Given the advanced technology of the Brakiri, the Corumai manages to massacre any Dilgar ship coming into weapons range, before pulling an Heroic Sacrifice. It's later mentioned the Brakiri finally managed to work out the flaws of the design and are building another.
Superweapon Surprise: When the Dilgar assaulted the Abbai homeworld they discovers that the Abbai, a species of Actual Pacifists who only fight in self defense and doesn't even know how to build nuclear weapons, had recently bought thousands of nukes as a last resort against a Dilgar invasion and decided that the Dilgar cannot be allowed to come into weapons range of their homeworld.
Earthforce actual power can come up like this. Everybody knew about Earth technological level, but pretty much no one but the Centauri (Earth best trading partners at the time) and those aliens who had fought some skirmish with Earth (Narn, Ch'lonas and Koulani) knew how deadly Earth warships actually were. Even after the encounter with the Persephone the Dilgar underestimated Earthforce, not knowing the actual very high numbers of ships Earth had (nor the obscenely high numbers of nukes Earth had) nor (apart Jha'dur and a selected few) understanding the difference between idealistic Actual Pacifists like the Abbai and the idealistic nuke-loving Technical Pacifists of Earth.
Earth does this again later: when it's discovered that the Dilgar are producing the missiles of the Shadow Planet Killer, Earthforce reveals they have a small number of multi-gigaton nuclear warheads for planetary bombardament and fires them all against the facility producing the superweapon. It's not a new weapon, as the Dilgar have used similar weapons many times, but the fact Earthforce kept a few just in case is a surprise for pretty much everyone.
Synthetic Plague: Jha'dur job other than leading the war against the League was creating lots and lots of these, bringing entire planetary populations to extinction. There are even hints that she created a plague mimicking the mythical Drafa Plague to exterminate the Markab in a way that would leave themselves unwilling to try and heal themselves and even think they were deserving to die because they had killed her brother.
Take a Third Option: When Salasine asks Jha'dur to choose between Order and Chaos, she chooses both, and casually shoots down his attempts at getting her to choose one (preferably Chaos).
Take That: While discussing the newest Godzilla movie in 23rd century it's pointed out that Earthforce could kill Godzilla with a single railgun round from orbit, making an indirect dig at the inability of the various alien invaders to kill the various kaiju without resorting to another kaiju.
Taking You with Me: Stro'kath tries to pull this on the Dilgar Third Strike Fleet and Home Fleet at Deskartalos, by entering the battle and launching a fleet-wide kamikaze attack. After a major Oh, Crap, Warmaster Dar'Sen manage to retreat just in time.
The Dilgar plan at Balos was based on this and nine thousands ships specifically made for the job.
Battlemaster Dal'shan after his ship was disabled by a ramming from Earth corvette EAS Shannon activated the self-destruct to prevent capture and blow up the Shannon (and Earth Intelligence best computer expert when he realized he had boarded his ship too).
At Omelos Gar'shan and Hamato simultaneously decide to ram each other after they see both their flagships are crippled and can't do much else.
Tempting Fate: After the Dilgar defeated Earthforce's main fleet over Balos, Jha'dur declares they have won the war. The following chapter has her realizing that Earthforce is preparing for another assault, and the following battle would see her fleet wiped out.
Too Dumb to Live: The majority of Dilgar High Command for bonehead stupid moves such as issuing standing orders to fire on the Minbari (The same ones who would later curb stomp Earth in the Earth-Minbari War) upon contact and ignoring Jha'Dur's advice to not provoke Earth and thus they provide the perfect excuse for Humanity to join the fight full bore.
In their defense, firing on a ship as excuse to talk the owner of the ship into an alliance had already worked with the Narn. Still, provoking Earth after that gamble utterly failed and seeing what an Earth heavy cruiser could do was beyond stupid, and the fact the Centauri were utterly scared by the Minbari (and their lack of knowledge about the Minbari apart the fact they existed and were well armed, as pointed out by Jha'dur) should have rang a bell...
A literal example comes with Par'nan. Jha'dur had threatened to skin him alive for incompetence and speaking out of order at their first meeting. Yet, after she recovered from the coma Earthforce nukes had thrown her at Markab he went to her without knocking, announced her he was a warmaster due her brother's death during her coma and that the Supreme Warmaster was comatose, and then tried to drive her to suicide. Or, in simpler words, told her that her Morality Pet was dead and the one person that could order her to stop and would actually get listened was comatose. All of this backstabbing Len'char, who had got him the place in first place. He got off easy, as Jha'dur simply killed him on the spot before capturing Len'char (Gar'shan had ordered her to not kill him. Len'char would have preferred deathlong before Jha'dur was halfway showing him her disappointment), subduing his supporters in the Warmaster Council and basically taking over the Dilgar Imperium.
When owned by the Centauri, the system Sigma-957 had been quarantined in spite of being quantium-40-rich, and refused to go in the quarantined area for any reason when they owned the system. In the series we've seen that when they quarantine some place there's a damn good reason (like the Nakaleen Feeder, a quasi-sentient predator that will get the drop on you and reduce you to a vegetable and lives on a planet the Centauri quarantined). Yet Ta'kai choose the system for her meeting with the Dilgar. After the Dilgar went on their way, the reason for the quarantine passed by: a group of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens often pass in the system, and should you go too near their ships they may accidentally kill you without even realizing you're in the area. This is a Continuity Nod to a Noodle Incident from the series: G'kar was there, having tried to prevent the meeting but arrived late, and would later reference to this as like being an ant and going too near a giant.
After finding out that Jha'dur had jammed his technology and could actually keep the threats she made at him, Salasine tried to talk his way out of trouble by telling her he and the other Drakh had manouvered Len'char to make her the champion she had become. The process involved killing her brother and poisoning her paternal figure, and she considered herself a monster. Salasine will never die, no matter how much he wish for death.
Weak, but Skilled: In purely material terms, the Dilgar military power at the start of the war was matched by Cascans, Markab and Brakiri, inferior to the Vree or the combined force of the Drazi/Abbai alliance, and laughable when compared to the Hyach. Due to Dilgar tactical and strategic skill, Cascan and Brakiri lost their whole fleets and found themselves forced to entrench behind dozens of combat satellites, the Hyach lost more than half their fleet literally caught with its pants off and were too scared to try and break the siege of their homeworld, the Abbai found their renomated defenses were inadequate and lost most of their fleet and two colonies before entrenching on their homeworld, the Vree got a devastating defeat and decided it was best to entrench themselves on their worlds, and the Markab were on the verge of being wiped out before Earthforce intervened, with only the Drazi able to actually hold the line. Earthforce was in a similar situation, outnumbered by the Dilgar fleet but about as skilled in battle, assisted by the best codebreakers in the war and armed with insane numbers ofnuclear weapons.
We Have Reserves: The Dilgar pulled this on Earth at Balos, countering Earthforce's superior ships with immensely superior numbers. On the Drazi front, however, the Dilgar have been at the receiving end of this, as the Drazi employed such numbers of small ships that they enjoy a superiority of about four or five to one in every battle.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Jha'Dur and Sha'Dur in that they are doing all this purely so they can save their people. However, the fact that they feel everyone else has to die to achieve that is a problem.
What a Piece of Junk: The Space Race after its first major adventure when it was upgraded with new high performance propulsion system, weapons and armor to become the toughest freighter imaginable. Also the Delphi, a seemingly beat up, but perfectly jump capable, military spacecraft that is the Space Race's armed support and means of escape during its secret missions.
What the Hell, Hero?: The League ambassadors begging the Narn for help had this reaction when they accepted to meet them just to tell them 'No'. G'kar (the Narn envoy) wholly agreed, but at the time couldn't really help...
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Jha'dur, sort of. Her lot in life had been quite bad, and she had grown hard and cold, and perfectly willing to bring devastation on an untold scale to save her people. She had the means to destroy worlds, but wasn't willing to do so. Then Earth enters the war killing one of her few real friends (almost a brother) and nearly killing her, and when she recovers from the coma she discovers that her father figure is comatose due an unknown poison and her brother had been forced to fight an unwinnable battle and, due the circumstances of the destruction of his ship, he's either dead or worse. You feel sorry for her, even if she's now a borderline Omnicidal Maniac (by the time of her appearance in Babylon 5, she has fully became one).
Worthy Opponent: A few Dilgar feel this way about Earth and, in minor part, the Drazi. Warleader Stro'kath of the Drazi and warmaster Dar'sen feel this of each other, with Stro'kath openly expressing the wish to personally kill Dar'sen in a battle epic enough to homage the Dilgar's valour.
The Cascan declared this in battle to Jha'dur by having their best fighters from their flagship striking at the Deathwalker. Jha'dur replied in kind by setting Ari'shan and her best fighter squadron wipe out the fighters that had hit her ship.
When unexpectedly finding himself face to face with him, battlemaster Dal'shan told Francis that Jha'dur had declared him one by virtue of sending Dal'shan to kill him, and that he would kill him as her representative. Sergeant 'Jaws' Jackson of the Assault Rangers didn't feel this way and shot him in the back.
According to Jha'dur, Francis O'Leary was such a worthy opponent to the Dilgar intelligence that they built him a shrine. She then admits exagerating, but not by much.
Xanatos Gambit: Warleader Stro'kath, a Drazi, pulled a truly magnificent one with his fleet-wide ramming attack. The Dilgar chickened and jumped out, so he won the battle and successfully hid his fleet was practically out of fuel and ammunition, but had the Dilgar not escaped and got rammed he would have obliterated the entire combined force of the Third Strike Fleet and the Home Fleet, inflicting crippling losses in ships and manpower (veterans at that), killing one of their best fleet commanders and forcing the Dilgar to either retreat from the League or leave the way to Omelos wide open.
You Have Failed Me: Jha'Dur is a partial subversion in that she is perfectly willing to kill incompetent subordinates as per the Dilgar's usual policy; she also understands how defeats can arise from pure bad luck as well as genuine enemy surprises and acts accordingly.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Subverted in that only thing that saves Ari'shan from Jha'Dur from executing him refusing to kill innocent refugees is that he is simply too valuable a fighter pilot to lose.
You Killed My Father: Part of the reason Jha'dur grew up cold and though was her father's Ari'dur death in a skirmish with the Drazi when she was a child, and the discrimination she and her family had faced from the Dilgar nobility that brought her mother to her death. That's the reason for her hate for both the Drazi and the Dilgar nobility, the latter of which she managed to eradicate. Later in the story we find out WHO had killed Ari'dur: a young Stro'kath, who never found out until Earthforce brought him Jha'dur records.
Zerg Rush: The favored tactic of the Earth/League alliance members, The Gaim, a ferocious insectoid species who ferociously overrun a Dilgar occupied planet. However, after an initially devastating beginning, the Dilgar eventually manage to keep them at bay with air strikes and heavy artillery.
Also initially done by the Drazi, who regularly outnumber the Dilgar by fielding small and fragile but fast and well armed ships. Later warleader Stro'kath teaches them how to fight better, using flanking manouvers, tactical retreats and bluffs (even launching a fleet-wide kamikaze attack to hide the fact his ships were almost out of fuel, causing a Dilgar retreat).
90% of Your Brain : While Jha'dur is talking to Dal'Shan her lover, she goes on about how having large brains and only using a portion of them is against evolution and comes to the (unsubstantiated) conclusion that some unknown species has been tampering with the local life.