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Fan Fic / The Last Star

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A Babylon 5 fanfic written by Lord of Misrule, The Last Star is set in the last months of the Earth-Minbari War and details the desperate efforts of Earthforce and the Earth Intelligence Agency to stop the Minbari on Proxima, or at least slow them down long enough to rebuild the fleet with ships that can at least fight back the Minbari.

The Tropes:

  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The Minbari Wind Swords clan use this as basic tactic and strategy. This bites them in the ass multiple times, but they still continue charging into obvious killing zones even when they could stop and wait for EarthForce to have to charge and ditch the prepared defense positions.
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  • Badass Boast: Neroon's reply to a fellow warrior threatening him.
    "Your threats only work if you can carry them out, and we both know if you fight me it will end with you flat on the floor and me doubled over in hysterical laughter."
  • Blood Knight: The Wind Swords clan is this, and its members live only to smite the enemies of Minbar (military or civilians, they don't care).
  • BFG: EarthForce snipers use rifles chambered for .50 BMG rounds. Specialist Lisa Cavendish's rifle fires a 25mm rocket-propelled grenade to over 11 miles.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Joe Tennant, Lord of Misrule's own example, shows up to disintegrate a Minbari freighter convoy as soon as the escort ships do a blunder.
  • The Butcher: Sheridan is considered as this by the Minbari, to the point that a convoy escort sighting his ship will abandon the convoy to try and kill him (see Bunny-Ears Lawyer entry for what happened then).
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  • Cold Sniper: Specialist Lisa Cavendish, of the Eartforce special forces, acts like a psycho and can put an headshot at over eleven miles.
  • Continuity Nod: Many, both from the series and the fanfic The Dilgar War (of the same author).
    • In the space battle of Proxima, the kamikaze attack of the EAS Medusa is told in a way that makes the reader identify the ship as the one shown ramming a Minbari Warcruiser in In The Beginning.
    • In a double nod, it's explained that the O'Neill-class stations like Io Prime and the future Babylon 5 had been originally designed during the Dilgar War to deal with the logistical needs of the war and discarded when a cheaper solution had been found, but during the peace Io Prime and the midrange bases at Beta Durani and Proxima had been built to see if Earth could actually build something that big (Io Prime) and make it self-sufficient (the midrange bases, equipped with advanced hydroponics to make them autonomous for food), in a project that should have culminated with seven gigantic stations named after the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, starting with the Colossus of Rhodes and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
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    • The secret world of New Eden is revealed to be both the residence of the surviving Dilgar (mentioned in The Dilgar War) and the last refuge of mankind if the Minbari glass Earth.
    • EarthForce tactic of rigging freighters to make them seem warships on long range scans had already been successfully used by Jha'dur herself in The Dilgar War.
    • Anna Sheridan mentions IPX has found a dead world with ruins containing advanced technology. In the series, she died on a dead world with ruins containing advanced technology when the exploring team awakened the Shadows hybernating on their homeworld.
    • Neroon complains that he had won his clan command of the Black Star for five years only for the Wind Swords losing the ship to Sheridan's nukes in the last days of their command.
    • Major Starling of the Radvedchik Regiment (deep recon) was given the suit of the one Dilgar spy who had succeeded into infiltrating Earthdome.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Earth Alliance discovered New Eden early during its expansion, but kept its existence secret so the world could serve as an hidden sanctuary just in case someone decided to exterminate mankind and Earthforce couldn't stop them.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Branmer. Hearing a member of the Grey Council lamenting that humans don't fight fair, he asks if the fleet should fight EarthForce with stealth deactivated, weapons at half power and close the range before opening fire.
    • Neroon too. When a Minbari general announces he'll attack a human one that has prepared a killing zone, he wishes him luck, and when the general says he doesn't need it Neroon replies "True. What you need is a miracle".
  • Death from Above: EarthForce has a lot of artillery (both guns and rockets), fighter-bomber airplanes (that in the atmosphere can actually outfly the Minbari fighters) and even gunship planes (rarely used due the need for air superiority, but absolutely lethal against the ground forces). The Minbari ground forces have less artillery, but it fires shells filled with antimatter, and can call upon devastating orbital bombardment strikes.
  • Didn't See That Coming: On Proxima the Minbari expected the stubborn and entrenched EarthForce army and thousands of small-scale ambushes they found, but they missed the two bigger and better equipped armies hidden underground to attack their rear echelons.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Earth has reached and passed it. As a consequence, the Minbari invading Proxima found themselves dealing with incendiary weapons (for Earth they are a war crime when used against everyone but the Minbari), EarthForce has reformed the Panzer Lehr division (an armored division crewed by instructors, a move actually done by the Third Reich in WWII), and the evacuation of Earth for New Eden has already started.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Proxima orbital defenses and fleet fought the Minbari assault with immense courage, with the ships and battlestations firing even as they exploded (and in the Medusa's case after). They were slaughtered, but they actually slowed down the Minbari and inflicted them more losses than in any other space battle of the war.
  • Driven to Suicide: Victor Chapel, director of the EIA, drives Jankowski to suicide and gives him a gun to shoot himself.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Invoked by EarthForce officers who compare the Minbari to the Dilgar Imperium and conclude the Dilgar were the better people: the Dilgar went on a genocidal war to find a world where they could evacuate their people and escape extinction when their sun would go nova, the Minbari went on a genocidal war for the death of one man.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: The evacuation to New Eden. Even if the Minbari destroy Earth and kill any inhabitant of the Earth colonies and the refugees sent into neutral territories, the people on New Eden will survive unnoticed, thriving until the day they'll be able to return safely.
  • Foregone Conclusion: This is set in the canonical Earth-Minbari War.
  • General Ripper: Alyt Leklann.
  • Godzilla Threshold: After the defeat of the Wind Swords on Proxima, Satai Coplann was willing to do anything. Even consult Jha'dur.
  • Hold the Line / You Shall Not Pass!: The whole point of the Battle of Proxima is stopping the Minbari there.
  • Hopeless War: Sort of. On one side, the Minbari superior technology makes them all but undefeatable in a straight battle in space. On the other side, ground battles are much more close due the stealth being useless in an atmosphere, the Minbari inability to think fast or deal with guerrilla make their supply train very vulnerable and open them to traps that a human force is trained and equipped to be unable to fall into them, Earth is starting to build new ships that can fight back decently, and the Minbari are on the verge of exhausting their resources to sustain the offensive.
  • Hypocrite: The Minbari Warrior Caste, as Jha'dur gleefully lampshades.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: By orders of Branmer, Neroon gave as little help as possible to Leklann so he'd be defeated by EarthForce. This was in order to reduce the Wind Swords influence and prevent them from being able to command the incoming Shadow War.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: With her 20mm rocket-propelled grenade launcher, Lisa Cavendish can perform an headshot at 11 miles. At lesser distances she could theoretically shoot down a fighter and mission-kill Minbari tanks with a few well-placed rounds, and has performed a double headshot on the pilot and the commander of a moving Minbari IFV.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: The armor of Minbari vehicles and starships is extremely effective against energy weapons, but mechanically fragile. In space combat this has little consequence due EarthForce inability to hit the Minbari ships, but on the ground Minbari fighting vehicles are vulnerable to the chemically-propelled rounds of heavy machine guns, autocannons and tank guns and to anti-tank missiles (both the cheap kinetic kill missiles and the more powerful Hammers), with the partial exception of the Wind Sword super-heavy tank (that can be destroyed only by air support or anti-tank railguns).
  • Lost Colony: New Eden invokes the trope twice. First it's the site of a Dilgar colony intentionally lost to the galaxy at large in case the League decides to try and finish the job, and it's also the site of a rapidly growing human colony that, if Earth is destroyed, will get lost to allow mankind to survive.
  • Magnetic Weapons: EarthForce makes use of railguns. While they have little effect in space due the sheer difficult of actually targeting the Minbari, the ground-based railguns of Proxima 3 took an heavy toll on the Minbari landers, and the new 90mm tank railgun can destroy any ground vehicle in the Minbari armor, even the almost invulnerable Wind Sword super-heavy tank.
  • Minbar's Strongest Warrior: Neroon is the third best, and, due the best (who taught him) being a Ranger and the second best being otherwise busy, there's around no Minbari who can take on him.
  • More Dakka: Due Minbari IF Vs being armored in a way that makes them highly resistant to heavy PPGs, Earthforce brought back in action older weapons like the M2 Browning and similar heavy machine guns, whose bullets can actually pierce that armor and even damage the one of Minbari tanks.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Jankowski's reaction at the massacres on the frontline caused by his final foolishness.
  • Nuke 'em: Apart John Nuke'em Sheridan, EarthForce makes a rather liberal use of nukes every time they think they can hit the target.
  • Only Sane Man: Neroon is this for the Minbari army on Proxima.
  • Poisonous Captive:
    • Jha'dur is a 'guest' of the Wind Swords, who sometimes ask her advice for battle. In at least one occasion, her advice was a recipe for perfect disaster.
      Jha'dur: "“Exploitation? A subject dear to my heart. Ever heard of the expression never hustle a hustler?"
      Satai Coplann: "No."
      Jha'dur: "Then please proceed Coplann, I am completely at your disposal."
    • On the other hand, if you are willing to fully listen Jha'dur her advice will be quite good. You won't like it, but it will be your best shot.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Minbari Warrior Caste is composed exclusively by this. Then again there's Minbari warrior and Minbari warrior, and the Star Riders are showing considerably more brain...
  • Ramming Always Works: The EAS Medusa, Earth's mightiest warship, was forced to fight even before being completed, and, after showing the Minbari the immense firepower she already had with only half of her guns operative, concluded her short career ramming a Minbari warcruiser. The Sharlin exploded first, destroying the Medusa, and causing her pieces to cripple three other Sharlins.
  • Rock Beats Laser: On the ground and in an atmosphere, Minbari fighters are quite vulnerable to heat-seeking missiles, and their tank armor, while exceptionally resistant to energy weapons, is extremely vulnerable to projectiles, no matter if they are 90mm railgun slugs, more conventional chemically propelled 135mm shells or sabots from tank guns, anti-tank missiles, anti-tank rods or even .50 BMG rounds (tanks can resist the latter for a while, but anything lighter is easily destroyed).
  • Summon Bigger Fish: There's an hilarious example made by Branmer: while Minbari warriors discipline unruly subordinates with a good beating, Branmer, being originally from the Religious Caste, cannot personally do it, so he'll use his aide Neroon as a threat, causing even the most unruly Wind Sword to have an Oh, Crap! face and back down.
  • Super Weapon Surprise: EarthForce aims to spring one, resisting the Minbari long enough to counterattack with ships that can fight them back.
  • The Strategist: The Minbari have three: Branmer, his aide Neroon and Jha'dur. Too bad that sometimes Branmer has to let the Wind Swords do as they wish (and get massacred) and Jha'dur sometimes gives advice she knows it's bad...
  • Tank Goodness: Both EarthForce and the Minbari have quite the assortment of tanks, culminating in lethality in the Wind Sword siege tank (a huge tank with enough armor to shrug off the fire of normal Earthforce tanks, operated exclusively by the clan it was named after) for the Minbari and the Thor Firefly (a Thor tank that replaces the 135mm tank gun with a 90mm railgun that can kill a Wind Sword tank) for Earthforce.
  • Title Drop: Proxima is declared pretty fast the last star before the Minbari can attack Earth itself.
  • We Have Reserves: According to G'Kar, what EarthForce has fought until now and brought to its limits is the Minbari peacetime force, and they still have to fully mobilize, both militarily and economically. The truth is a little funnier: the Minbari do have reserves, but, with the exception of the elite ground force of the Night Walkers clan (held in reserve for the expected Shadow War) and the all-around elite of the Rangers (who consider the war senseless and refused to take part in it citing the imminent Shadow War), they are either lazy warriors who had let their training slip and the barely trained forces of the Religious and Workers Castes, and in combat would have got slaughtered by the technologically inferior but more cunning and skilled human forces. In fact, part of the reason Branmer is advancing so slowly is to have an excuse to give the lazy warriors and the military of the Religious and Worker Castes a much needed kick in the pants so they'll train and become as good as they're supposed to be, and the destruction of the Wind Swords army on Proxima has effectively crippled the clan's ground forces


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