Babylon 5, and all characters created by J. Michael Straczynski are borrowed with the utmost respect, and no intended infringement of any type.

 

 

 

Decent into madness...

-- Kellan

 

 

 

Michael Garibaldi struggled against the weight of unnatural sleep, his vodka hazed mind insisting that something was wrong. He opened his eyes and blinked, desperately trying to bring the world into focus. An ear piercing beep came from the console on the wall.

I've got to change that to a softer tone, he thought to himself as he called up the message. That sound could drive someone to drastic measures, he mused as the com screen popped up the image of Dr. Franklin.

"Michael, I've been looking all over for you. I wanted to tell you this myself.. But I have to leave and I don't want you to hear it from someone else. I've accepted a position off-station." Franklin paused, his brow creasing.

"Damnit... I wanted to tell you this face to face, but I have to leave and take care of a few things. I'll be back in a day or two, and when I come back I want you to level with me Mike.. I know something is wrong.. I asked you, and you said everything was cool between us.. But I know something is not right.. Take care old friend"

As the Bab-Com 5 image reappeared on the screen Garibaldi knew he was in trouble. He turned around and looked at his quarters. he was not a neatness freak by nature, but this was way out of character for him. Clothes littered the floor, dishes sat, unwashed in the sink... This wasn't like him at all..

"And what is that ungodly smell" He muttered to himself.

You know what it is. His mind whispered back to him. It's YOU Michael.

Rather than ponder that little voice, he turned and walked straight into the bathroom to shower.. He was running very late.

 

 

"Hey Chief!" Zack Allan called as soon as Garibaldi stepped from his quarters. He winced, making a mental note to stop by Med-Lab and get something for his headache before going to breakfast. His stomach rolled at the thought and he decided breakfast wasn't such a grand idea, and turned to face Zack.

"Morning Zack" He mumbled, idly rubbing his temples.

"You still feeling under the weather?" Zack asked, as he handed Garibaldi the days activity log.

"Yeah, I guess so." He lied easily. Focusing his attention on the data in his hands.

"Maybe you should have yourself checked out in Med-Lab" Zack said as he took back the approved report.

Garibaldi cracked a humorless smile.

"Thanks Dad. Maybe I'll do that" He winced at his own sarcasm, and walked away, leaving Zack to stare at his back, bewilderedly.

 

 

President Sheriden sat behind his desk in a rare moment of peace. Or rather in the illusion of peace. There were no papers spread out on his desk for him to sign, no waiting messages, no meetings. And that was precisely what was bothering him. He got up and paced around his office. The same question that had occupied his mind, day and night, came back once again. Who was behind these attacks? He stopped to gaze out his window, but not seeing anything.

He almost jumped when the door buzzer sounded.

"Come" he called, turning around quickly.

The door slid open, and Zack walked in hesitantly.

"Are you busy, Sir?" He asked, glancing around to make sure they were alone.

"Far from it, Zack." Sheriden laughed. "What do you need?" He sat down casually behind his desk, and motioned for Zack to sit as well.

"It isn't what I need, it's what I think someone else needs" He said, as he sat down.

"I don't follow you" Sheriden answered, cocking his head slightly.

Zack squirmed for a minute. He knew he may be crossing a line, but he continued.

"Sir, has Garibaldi been acting strange lately?"

Sheriden shrugged. "I haven't noticed anything. Why, have you?"

"He just about bit my head off a few minutes ago. Said he was feeling under the weather. He doesn't look so hot either. In fact, he looks like hell."

Sheriden could plainly see the concern in Zack's face, and he knew that Garibaldi had been working himself harder than ever lately.

"I just wondered if he seemed... out of sorts to you?" Zack broke the momentary silence. "But, maybe I worry too much"

"Then again, maybe not." Sheriden mused. "Thanks for pointing it out Zack. But if he takes a day or two off.. Even one day." Sheriden shook his head. "You know I need him looking into these attacks."

"And you know I'll be glad to keep an ear, and eye open for a day or two. Sir, I think he could use the rest."

Sheriden nodded, smiling. "I had a feeling you'd say that. Besides. if anything were to happen, we could always find him"

Zack nodded in agreement.

"Will you let me know what you find out?" He asked, standing up. "I mean, I doubt seven demons straight from hell could make Michael take a break, but... He just isn't himself."

"Count on it." Sheriden answered, rising to his feet. "Come to think of it, Garibaldi and I haven't had lunch together for a while."

Zack chuckled as he left the Presidents office.

Garibaldi needed many things. First, in his mind, was a good drink. Second was some answers to the question hovering over all their heads. Who was attacking the ships of the alliance? He reviewed the files he had been working on, and finally slammed them down on his desktop in aggravation. What he really, truly needed was one good lead. His eyes were drawn to the cabinet above the sink. He licked his lips. One drink won't hurt anything... Might even help me think better...

He walked over, taking down the bottle and reaching for a shot glass when his door buzzer sounded.

"Shit" he muttered softly, stashing both of them back into the cabinet. He straightened himself up, and casually turned calling "Come"

The door opened, admitting Sheriden and Delenn, and Garibaldi was a bit surprised.

"How are you Michael?" Sheriden asked, as the pair walked in.

"Great. Still not getting anywhere with these attacks yet." He gestured to the disarrayed file on his desktop.

"That is what I came to see you about... Sort of.." Sheriden answered vaguely. "Michael, I think we are stuck on this deal, until another attack occurs. The Drazi and a few others of the alliance are sending out fighter ships with the transports. Maybe that will decrease the attacks"

Garibaldi nodded, listening, but not believing a word of it.

Delenn spoke up, her voice soft and sweetly concerned.

"Michael, Zack mentioned that you weren't feeling well. Are you all right?"

"Fine" Garibladi answered, a little too quickly. Noticing the quick glance that passed between the couple. "I just haven't been sleeping to well lately."

"We are going to lunch in the Zocalo. Come with us?" Sheriden asked, gesturing toward the door. "There is something else I'd like to talk to you about."

"Sure, if you are buying" Garibaldi laughed.

Seated at a table in the Zocalo the trio ate, and talked. Mostly of politics, but eventually turning toward the raids.

"It's driving me nuts, John." Garibaldi stated after lunch. He leaned closer, to make sure no one else heard what he was saying. "We know from the button that I picked up when I was attacked, that the Centauri are involved somehow. But why? What can they gain from it?"

Without waiting for a reply, he continued.

"What kind of game are they playing?"

Delenn watched him as they talked, and Zack was right. Something was very wrong with Michael. She discretely squeezed John's knee under the table, as a gentle reminder. He took the hint.

"Michael, maybe you need a break for a day or two. You look stressed. Like this really is driving you nuts." Garibaldi waved his words aside, before he even finished speaking.

"I'm fine. I just want to know the answers" he shrugged.

"No, I mean it" Sheriden insisted. "Take a few days. Get some extra rest." His tone said it was an order.

"Maybe I'll do that." Garibaldi answered, not intending to at all. But his old Captain knew him too well.

"Good. Then you won't mind if I borrow that file, will you?"

"Well..." Garibaldi hedged, knowing he was trapped.

"Great. I'll pick it up as we head back to the office. With nothing going on there, I could use the distraction of having something to do!"

"John" Delenn spoke up softly. "We've worked to hard for this to all fall apart now"

Sheriden looked over at her, his face softening into a smile. She was his inspiration, and his life-mate, and always, his hope. He reached over and squeezed her hand, reassuringly. Then turned back to Garibaldi.

 

"Michael, I'm serious about this. I need you now, more than ever. But you are starting to look ragged around the edges. People are noticing. Give yourself a day or two off. If anything happens, I'll let you know... OK?"

"All right John" He sighed. "You win"

"He always does." Delenn answered with a smile.

True to his word, they all walked back to Garibaldi's quarters, and he took the files with him. But Garibaldi knew the truth. Sheriden knew that without the files in front of him, he had a better chance of relaxing. The problem was, he didn't need to relax. He needed a drink.

After the couple had left, he occupied himself for all of ten minutes before he went to get the bottle. After a couple of generous shots he felt better. He just needed to relax in his own way.

 

His first thought on waking up was pain... Sharp and bright flooding through his head. He opened his eyes once, only to quickly close them again. It wasn't just his head... His entire body ached.

Michael Garibaldi felt as though he had been beaten within a inch of his life. He tried slowly stretching, and his right arm came in contact with a wall that shouldn't have been there..

Where the hell am I? He wondered. He opened his eyes again, shielding them from the light. He looked around, trying to figure out where he was, and how he got there. Where he was, was Down Below. The one place he hated worse than the Grey Sector.

How the fuck did I get here?

He sat up shakily, and looked himself over. He raised his hand up to cradle his aching head, and stopped. Staring at them in shock.

Both of his hands were covered in dried blood.

Human, from the look of it...

He made it back to his own quarters, using access alleys, and back corridors that he and few others even knew about. Keeping his hands hidden, even though he encountered no one. His mind tumbling over, and over.. What happened?

Whose blood is on my hands?

What have I done?

Safe in his quarters, he looked at them closely. Dried blood had matted the hair on the back of both his hands, it was caked under his fingernails, and went most of the way up his forearms. Unable to stand the sight of it anymore, he went to the sink. The water was hot enough to make him wince, but he didn't draw back. He scrubbed both his hands, almost taking off his skin, as he washed away the blood. When he couldn't take the heat of the water any longer, he shut it off. Staring at his hands. The skin was pink, scalded, from the heat of the water. Only then did he look down at his clothes. His shirt and pants were both ruined. Dark maroon stains covered both his legs, as if he had been kneeling in a pool of blood.

BUT WHOSE? His mind screamed.

He ripped off his shirt, two buttons flying across the room, lost forever. He kicked off his shoes, and unbuckled his pants, dropping them where he stood. There was not a mark on him. The blood had seeped through his pants, and left stains on his skin. Even his shoes bore the marks of something...

Michael stared at his clothing, as if it would tell him what had happened. After a minute he realized he was shaking. He turned and walked into his bathroom, leaving his clothes where they lay. He showered, checking every inch of his body again.. But found nothing, not so much as a scratch. He stepped from the shower, wrapping a towel around his waist, and looked at himself in the mirror.

"Wait a damn minute" He muttered.

But his reflection didn't lie. In fact it told him more than his clothes had. The growth of beard on his face was at least 2 days worth.

"This is not happening" He repeated over, and over to himself, as he shaved.

This is just a nightmare... It HAS to be...

Shaved, and clean, he went straight to his com-console, and checked the date. He sat down slowly, as the full reality hit him.. He had lunch with John and Delenn two days ago.

Damn I need a drink

 

 

Ambassador G'Kar sat in his quarters, enjoying his first moment of peace since returning from Centauri Prime. He had, as politely as possible, asked all of his followers (all bearing their beloved Book of G'Kar) to give one evenings peace, or he would begin removing body parts in no particular order. Not surprisingly it had worked.

He relaxed in a near meditative state, his mind and body both at peace, until the Com-console began to beep.

"What now?" He growled angrily. He went to the console, prepared to bring down wrath upon whoever it might be.

"What in the name of all that is holy..." He trailed off as the image of Michael Garibaldi appeared on his screen. This was not the Mr. Garibaldi that he knew. The man whose image he saw looked haggard, and worn, and uttered only four words.

"I need your help"

"I'll be right there" G'Kar replied, shutting off the console, and leaving immediately.

 

"I don't know what to do." Was all Garibaldi could say when G'Kar arrived a few minutes later.

"I don't even know what I have done" He laughed bitterly.

"And I don't know what you are talking about" G'Kar answered, seating himself on the couch. "What has happened to you?"

Garibaldi paced around nervously. "I wish I knew" He muttered.

"Then why not tell me what you do know, Mr. Garibaldi?" G'Kar asked quietly.

"Nothing. I don't know anything. The only thing I know is that two days ago I had lunch with John and Delenn, and this afternoon I woke up, down below, wearing these" He threw his clothes at G'Kars feet, and continued pacing around the room.

G'Kar picked them up.

"By G'Quan." He whispered softly.

"G'Kar" Garibaldi rasped. "What have I done?"

G'Kar looked up at his friend, wishing he had an answer.

 

"The first thing we have to do is find out if a crime has been committed" G'Kar said softly. Although looking at the pile of clothing at his feet, he had no doubts that a crime had been committed.

"You mean we need to find out if a body has been found, don't you?" Garibaldi asked sarcastically.

"We need to find out what happened" G'Kar answered. "Who else knows about this?"

"No one. I just sat here, when it really hit me, I just sat here." Garibaldi replied, still pacing. "I knew I couldn't ask Zack, or Sheriden for help.. You were the only one I could think of." As the words tumbled out, he seemed to run out of energy and dropped heavily into one of the chairs across from the couch.

"I can't hide this, can I?" He asked, looking grave and serious.

G'Kar shook his head. "No, Mr. Garibaldi, I don't think you can."

They sat in silence for a minute, before G'Kar spoke again.

"Whom do you want me to call? Mr. Allan, or President Sheriden?" He asked quietly.

Garibaldi leaned forward, resting his head in his hands, and replied "Both."

 

G'Kar called both of them, speaking in hushed tones, and asking that they come quickly. Whether it was the lateness of the hour, or the strangeness of the call, they both arrived in short order. G'Kar had picked up the bloody clothing and found an old shopping bag to put them in.

Garibaldi still sat, his head still resting heavily in his hands. When Zack Allan arrived, G'Kar let him in.

"What is going on?" Zack asked, as soon as the door had slid closed behind him.

"I think it would be best to wait for President Sheriden to arrive, before trying to explain" G'Kar answered, when Garibaldi made no sound. Zack nodded to G'Kar, but watched Garibaldi closely. A heavy sense of dread washing over him.

"Chief, you OK?" He asked after a few minutes.

"Don't ever call me that again" Garibaldi muttered, not even looking up.

Sheriden arrived, and G'Kar quietly related the story to both of them. The stunned silence in the room grew heavier as he showed them the clothing in the bag.

"Michael, how long have you been drinking again?" Sheriden asked at length.

"A few weeks" He replied, refusing to look at any one in the room.

"Why didn't you come to anyone for help?" Zack asked disbelivingly.

"Help?" Garibaldi asked incredulously. He turned and looked at all three of them.

"Help? How can you help me? How can you take away all the things I have seen and done?? All the people I have lost? How can you take away the images I see every night when I close my eyes?" His voice rose as he went on.

"Can you do that Zack? Can you take away the loss of Captain Sinclair? The one person who still thought I was worth a shit? can you take away the loss of Lise?" He advanced slowly on Zack.

"Can you take away the fact that I betrayed Sheriden, and almost killed him? His eyes cut over to Sheriden, and the hurt was visible to both of them.

"Michael, what Bester and Psi Corps did to you was beyond your control.." Sheriden started.

"Bullshit." Garibaldi shouted. "That's utter bullshit and we all know it. It was me!" He smacked his chest with his hand for emphasis. "I should have been stronger, better...."

"Impervious?" G'Kar asked thoughtfully.

That brought Garibaldi's tirade to an abrupt end. He got the meaning.

"No man is a rock and an island unto himself." Sheriden said angrily. "But Michael, you are out of control. You need help."

"What I need, is to know what I have done." He answered.

Sheriden turned to Zack. "What happened down below the last few days?"

"I haven't heard anything, but you know how down below is. It's a whole different world down there. I'll put some people on it. See what I can find out, without giving out any names." He said, looking tired.

Sheriden nodded. "Get on it now"

"I already am, Sir" Zack nodded, walking out the door.

In control again, Sheriden turned back to Garibaldi. "Michael is there any alcohol here in your quarters?"

Garibaldi laughed bitterly. "I can't even tell you that. I don't know."

"Well, let's look.. If we find any, it goes down the drain now. Understood?"

G'Kar and Garibaldi both nodded.

They combed through his quarters, finding only empty bottles. Sheriden synthesized coffee, even though it was the last thing he wanted. Without even asking, he poured Garibaldi a cup, black. and handed it to him wordlessly.

"Thanks" Garibaldi mumbled, as Sheriden sat down across from him.

"Michael, I can't leave you here alone tonight. I'll call Delenn, and tell her that I am staying." Garibaldi nodded, not really wanting to be alone anyway.

"President Sheriden" G'Kar spoke up. "I'll be happy to stay, if you'd prefer"

Sheriden shook his head. "No, I'll stay tonight. You can stay tomorrow night, if it is necessary."

"If I'm not in the brig by then." Garibaldi said in all seriousness.

"We don't know what happened yet. Just hold that shit 'till we find out, OK?" Sheriden answered quickly. He didn't like the thought any more than any one else did.

"I don't think there is anything any of us can do, until we find out what happened." G'Kar stated quietly. "Why borrow trouble, Mr. Garibaldi?"

"Who needs to borrow it? I have plenty"

Sheriden walked over to the com-console, while this conversation was going on, and called Delenn. He had told her some of what was going on, but was hesitant in giving her the full story, since there was so much of it they didn't know.

"G'Kar" Garibaldi said very quietly while Sheriden was talking to his wife.

"I never thanked you for coming so quick, and helping me with this.... mess"

"Thanks aren't necessary. Mr. Garibaldi. But you are welcome."

"Do you think after all this that you could get used to calling me, Michael?" Garibaldi mused.

"Undoubtedly" G'Kar replied. "If you were Narn, and we had gone through this... trouble, tradition would dictate that I take you into my home, or name one of my children after you."

"And why would you want to curse a child like that?" He asked, raising an eyebrow. G'Kars deep laugh resonated through the whole room.

"It would be a difficult name for Narn child to have... particularly if it were a female." Sheriden piped up, rejoining them.

"True indeed" G'Kar answered. "But it would build character."

All three of them stared at each other for a moment then broke into insane laughter. When it had settled down, Sheriden spoke first.

"Michael, do you remember anything at all?"

"No, I wish I did." He sipped his coffee. "I remember having lunch with you and Delenn, coming back here. After you two left, I had a bottle of Vodka in the cabinet. I had a few shots.... Then I woke up this afternoon down below...." He trailed off, his eyes falling on the bag. His face hardened, as he looked at it.

"Those were the same clothes you were wearing when we went to lunch." Sheriden said thoughtfully. Garibaldi nodded.

"Everything else is just a blank." He sighed. "This is going to be one long sleepless night."

"And you are absolutely sure that you don't have any marks on you... anywhere?" Sheriden asked, a puzzled look on his face.

"I checked twice." Garibaldi replied. "Why?"

"Well, you didn't have a PPG on you at lunch time, did you?" Garibaldi shook his head No.

"Then how could you have... hurt someone, or even been in a fight, and not have scrapes or bruises on your hands?"

"I don't know," Garibaldi answered. "But with that much blood..."

"Well, all we can do is wait until Mr. Allan finds out." G'Kar injected. "Until then, it is all just speculation."

"I think we should all try to get some sleep." Sheriden said.

"It would probably be a good idea." G'Kar agreed, rising to his feet. "It is very late."

Garibaldi knew sleep would be elusive, but they were both right, so he nodded in agreement.

"I will be in my quarters, if you need me, or if you hear anything from Mr. Allan"

"Goodnight G'Kar" Sheriden yawned.

"Goodnight, old friend" Garibaldi said as G'Kar bowed, and left.

Sheriden stretched himself out on the couch, but Garibaldi remained sitting in the chair across from him.

"Michael, you have to try to sleep."

"I know, I'm just afraid of what I might... or might not.. remember." He sighed heavily.

"I know." Sheriden answered simply.

"No, you don't... and I sincerely hope you never do." Garibaldi stood up and stretched. "G'night"

"Night." Sheriden replied, drifting already.

Panic seethed through him, he had to get out of this. Even deep in his sleep, he knew he had to run. He had to get away. But he already knew it was too late. A low keening wail haunted his dreams as he tossed and turned.

Michael awoke with a start, disoriented, and confused by the sound of voices from the next room. He was still dressed, so he got up quickly to see what was going on. As he walked into the main quarters, he stopped. Seeing Zack, and Sheridan deep in conversation, and judging by the looks on their faces it was not good.

"What did you find? He asked from the doorway.

"Chief... " Zack started, but ran out of steam.

"Michael" Sheriden sighed. "They found a body down below"

Garibaldi went numb, trying to comprehend it. He looked from one to the other. Zack turned away, unable to face him.

"It's a woman" Sheridan added quietly. "Zack needs to take your clothes for DNA match." Garibaldi could only nod.

"What did she die of?" He asked, when he found his voice again.

"They don't know yet. They just found her a few minutes ago." Sheriden replied. "She is in Med-Lab, we'll know soon."

"I want to see her." Garibaldi stated matter of factly.

Zack had picked up the bag with his clothes in it. He looked at Sheriden before speaking.

"I don't think that is a good idea, Chief" He said in a low voice.

"I told you not to call me that." Garibaldi snapped.

"Don't do this to yourself, Michael." Sheriden said.

"I have to... Don't you understand that. I have to see her". Was all he could say.

"Then I'll go with you." Sheriden answered.

Zack usually loved his job, but not today. Today he hated it. And if had to actually arrest a close friend, he might hate it forever. He walked silently behind Sheriden and Garibaldi. None of them speaking at all.

They entered the glass doors of Med-Lab in silence, and Zack handed the bag of clothes to a waiting tech.

"Where is she?" Garibaldi asked, a tightness in his chest and stomach was crushing him it seemed.

"She is over here." Dr. Franklin replied quietly behind him.

Garibaldi turned and glanced at his friend, but had to look away.

"I didn't know you were back." He said lamely.

"I've been back about an hour now." Franklin answered, his eyes unreadable.

Garibaldi said nothing else, instead he followed Franklin's gesture to a covered gurney, and walked toward it slowly.

"Michael, don't do this" Sheridan said again.

Garibaldi ignored him, and lifted the sheet to reveal her face. She had been pretty once, she had also been alive once. His throat closed as he looked at her. She was young, probably no more than twenty-five years old. Her skin had been fair, offset by dark red-hair.

"How did she die, Steven?" He asked hoarsely.

"She was beaten to death... 24 to 36 hours ago." He answered hesitantly.

Garibaldi looked down at his hands, remembering the blood... all the blood. I did it, didn't I? He thought to himself.

He turned abruptly and looked at Zack.

"Maybe you'd better take me into custody now." He whispered.

Zack shook his head. "No. Dr. Franklin hasn't done an autopsy yet, and we don't have enough evidence." He kept shaking his head long after the words ended. This was one thing he would NOT do. Unless he absolutely had to.

Garibaldi looked back at the dead woman //Don't you mean girl, Michael? She is hardly a woman, really.// on the table.

"How much more do you need, Zack?" He asked quietly.

Zack looked up at Sheriden as he spoke, directing his words to him.

"I want absolute proof" He replied. Sheriden gave a single nod in agreement.

 

 

 

 

G'Kar meet them on their way back from Med-Lab.

"I do not believe you would do this thing" He said pointing a finger at Garibaldi. "Not to a woman."

Garibaldi said nothing. After all, what could he say?

"Michael, there is one way to find out right now. Lyta could...." Sheriden begin, knowing in his mind the Garibaldi wouldn't go along with it.

"No." Garibaldi cut him off. "No telepaths."

The group stopped outside his quarters, in a strained silence.

"I need you to stay put, until this investigation is over. You know that don't you?" Sheriden asked. Garibaldi understood well. He was confined to his quarters. Not that he blamed anyone but himself for that.

"I want to keep in touch with Dr. Franklin.. Find out what his tests show." Garibaldi mumbled to no one in particular, before walking into his quarters.

"This isn't right." Zack hissed, after the door had shut behind his friend, and former superior. He looked up at Sheriden, and then to G'Kar. "I know he slipped and started drinking again, but to beat that woman to death...."

"I do not believe it either" G'Kar broke in. "It is not like the man we all know."

Sheriden stared silently at the closed door.

"I don't want to believe it anymore than you two." He said after a moment of consideration. "But the evidence looks bad, and the fact that he can't tell us what did happen makes it that much worse."

 

 

 

Inside his rooms Garibaldi simply stood. He couldn't hear the conversation going on outside his door, he was lost in his own thoughts. In his own self hatred, and condemnation. His hands clenched and unclenched at his sides. and most of all.. he wanted a drink.

Zack hovered around Med-Lab. Waiting.

Sheriden and G'Kar both came and went, checking in for progress reports. But Zack stood vigil.

Finally Dr. Franklin called out.

"Zack, come look at this."

"What?" He asked anxiously. Franklin wordlessly handed him the data report. Zack read it.

"Can you translate it into English, Steven?" He asked when he was finished. He really had no idea what he was looking at.

"There are two different types of blood on Garibaldi's clothes. One human" he nodded his head toward the girl on the table. "but other is Centauri" Zack blinked in surprise.

"So who beat her to death?"

"I don't think it was Garibaldi" Franklin answered quietly.

"Who ever it was, wore a ring. Michael doesn't."

"Thanks Steven. I've got to go talk to Sheriden." Franklin took off the labcoat he was wearing.

"I'll go with you." He said, tossing it carelessly onto his desk.

 

John Sheriden sat at his desk, to preoccupied with Garibaldi to even pace and worry over the attacks on the Alliance ships. His chin rested against his interlaced fingers, and he was so lost in thought that he didn't even hear Delenn enter. She walked over to him, and placed her hand on his shoulder. He looked up at her sadly.

"Any word yet?" She asked. He shook his head. Delenn squeezed his shoulder firmly, offering him what little comfort she could. He placed his hand over hers, and squeezed back.

"Did he say why he had started drinking again?" She asked, sitting on the edge of his desk.

"Not really. " Sheriden shook his head. "Was it me, Delenn? Was I asking too much of him? Working him too hard?"

"You do not work Michael to hard." She said thoughtfully. "Michael works Michael too hard."

"I should have known. I should have seen.."

"John, you cannot know and see everything."

"But this.." He was interrupted by the door buzzer.

"Come in" He called.

"I don't think Garibaldi did it, Sir" Franklin said as he and Zack entered the room. Sheriden breathed a mental sigh of relief.

"Tell me what you found out."

"She was beaten to death, but whoever did it wore a large ring on his hand. Michael doesn't wear a ring," Franklin paused, before continuing. "But there are two different types of blood on his clothes. One human, the other is Centauri."

"Centauri?" Delenn asked, glancing from Franklin to Sheriden's darkening face. Franklin nodded.

"Is this coincidence, John?" She had seen this look on his face before, and knew exactly what he was thinking.

"I'm not sure. Zack, I want to know what Centauri people have visited the station in the last 36 hours." Zack nodded, tapping his com-badge, and requesting the information.

"We haven't told Michael yet." Franklin said. "I'd like to be the one to tell him, if that is OK with you."

Sheriden nodded. "But I want to be there. I have a few choice words for our friend" Franklin wasn't sure he liked the tone, but he understood it very well.

"I'm pulling up the entry logs for the past 3 days." Zack said during the break in conversation. "I'll bring them to you as soon as I have them"

"Good." Sheriden replied. He looked at Franklin.

"Shall we?" He gestured to the door.

"Oh yeah. We definitely shall."

 

Garibaldi sat on his couch, straining to remember what happened. If he was a murderer. His mind drew an absolute blank, no hazy memories, no vague images, nothing. His head began to throb as he tried to force himself to remember. He leaned forward, rubbing the heels of his hands against his eyes. Guilt and grief battled for supremacy inside him. You don't even know her name he thought. She is dead. Probably from your own hands, and you don't even know her name.

The door buzzer sounded, breaking his morbid revere.

"Come" He said simply. Rubbing his face again, and looking up to see Sheriden and Franklin walking in.

"Michael, you don't wear any rings, do you?" Franklin asked, setting a small Med-Pak down on the counter, and leaning back against it.

Garibaldi shook his head.

"Whoever beat that young woman to death, wore a large ring on his right hand. A seal, or signet ring." Franklin answered, still leaning casually against the counter. As if none of this phased him in the least.

Garibaldi blinked at him, not comprehending for a moment.

"Michael," Sheriden broke in. "You still remember nothing?"

"No." He answered. "I've been trying, and there is... nothing." he shrugged his shoulders helplessly.

"Steven, I want to know what type of ring it was." Sheriden said, not taking his eyes from Garibaldi.

"Already working on it. Forensics has extracted a few different images from the body, and the computer will compare it to the known symbols in the database. But it will take a little while. We haven't even got a clear impression to work from...."

"What was her name?" Garibaldi interrupted somberly.

"Kelly Moreland" Franklin replied casually. "She was from Earth. I found out from Zack that she arrived here a month ago. She has been living down below, probably working as a prostitute."

Garibaldi's head jerked up. "Did I..."

Dr. Franklin nodded.

Garibaldi felt gooseflesh breakout all over his body.

"If I had been sober she would be alive right now." He muttered. He looked at Sheriden long and hard, weighing his words carefully.

"I really screwed up, didn't I." He said, suddenly feeling ten times his age.

"That is the understatement of the year." Sheriden answered none to kindly.

"I deserved that."

Sheriden crossed the room in long strides, now standing inches from his friend.

"What you deserve, is a severe ass-kicking." Sheriden ground out harshly.

"But I think your own conscience is doing a better job at it, than I could."

"We can always put that to the test." Franklin injected, still leaning against the counter.

Garibaldi was not a man who recognized fear as an emotion. He feared nothing. Not death, not loneliness, not pain. But he felt something right now that he didn't like. Shame. He had let down two of the few friends he had, and knew that everyone else who knew about this, was disappointed in him as well. That hurt him worse than anything he had felt in years.

Franklin opened the Med-Pak on the counter, and took out a hypo-injector.

"Roll up your sleeve, Michael." He stated calmly.

"What is this?" He asked, as he complied.

Franklin pressed the instrument against his arm, before answering.

Garibaldi felt the minute sting, and the cold sensation of something flowing into his body.

"Just something to insure that no one has to baby-sit you day and night." Franklin mused. "Panzerac. It is used to treat alcoholism. You will need a weekly shot. If you fail to show up for it, I'll hunt you down." His dark eyes said he wasn't joking.

"What does it do, exactly?" Sheriden asked.

"One drink of anything alcoholic, and it makes you sick for days."

Steven grinned evilly. "It isn't worth it, from what I hear." He patted Garibaldi on the back, hard.

"Thanks Steven, but you might want to review the compassionate part of that Hippocratic oath." Garibaldi said coldly.

Michael rolled his sleeve back down, looking at Sheriden.

"I want to investigate this. I have to know what happened."

Sheriden shook his head. "Zack can handle it. You know that. You trained him."

"I know, but I have to find out.. For personal reasons."

"I'm sorry Michael. You are in the private sector now, remember? You don't have any authority to investigate it."

"Oh, I think I do. I was the last person to see her alive, or the first one to see her dead." He answered sharply.

"But you don't remember what happened..." Sheriden started.

"Someone down there saw us.. Together or separately." Garibaldi pointed out. "I can start there. I might not find out anything.. Down Belowers don't talk too much, but I need to try."

"Then I'm going with you." Franklin stated.

"I thought you just said that I didn't need a baby-sitter."

"You don't, but I think you might need someone to watch your back. And you might still need a friend."

Michael winced at those words, and looked at Steven long and hard before nodding.

"Fine." Sheriden gave in. "If you two insist on going down there, fine." He raked his hand through his hair, wondering if everyone was loosing their grip on reality.

Franklin looked at Garibaldi. "I say we start tonight. You remember where you woke up, don't you?"

"All to well."

"Then we start there and back-track." The doctor shrugged.

"You going to dress for this part?" Garibaldi asked.

"If we don't, we aren't going to get very far." Steven replied.

 

Steven was in his quarters that evening, going through his clothes for the grungiest things he could wear when his door buzzer sounded.

"Come" he called out, stepping into the main room.

"Doctor." G'Kar greeted him, bowing slightly.

"G'Kar. Good to see you, but I have to say I'm surprised." Steven smiled.

"I understand that you and Mr. Garibaldi are going down below tonight. I think this is unwise." The Narn ambassador said solemnly.

Franklin laughed shortly. "So do I, but Michael insists... and I don't think he should go alone. Do you?"

G'Kar was quiet for a moment. "I don't think the two of you should go alone." He sighed deeply. "But I know he will not agree to my joining you. So I have brought you a present."

He held out a wooden crescent shaped object to Franklin. Steven took, examining it closely.

"What is it?" He asked, admiring the entricate scroll work and the dark, almost black quality of the wood.

"Squeeze the bottom... uhh... the smaller end" G'Kar said, gesturing with his finger.

Steven squeezed the bottom of it, and watched as triple blades snapped into place from the curved wooden handle. One long jagged blade extended from the tip of the handle, and two forked blades from either side, leaving the wielders hand protected amazingly well.

"Impressive" He said, still eyeing the weapon in his hand.

"It is a G'den... a bit of a family heirloom. It belonged to my grandfather."

"G'Kar, are you sure you want me to take it with us?" Steven asked doubtfully. G'Kar nodded, remembering the early morning conversation with Garibaldi.

"Under the circumstances, it is the least I can do. Michael is my friend."

"Then why did you give it to me? Why not to Mike?" Steven asked, closing the knife back the same way he opened it.

"I know he is your friend too, and by giving it to you I am entrusting you to look after him." G'Kar explained solemnly.

Steven nodded as he slipped the deceptive looking crescent into his pocket.

"You see," G'Kar continued slowly. "On my world this is a tradition. It is passed from a father to his sons, when two of them go off on the 'Vesha'.. The 'Quest for Truth'..... Usually to the strongest, so that he always has a weapon to protect his weaker, or younger brother with."

Steven looked at G'Kar in a new light at that moment.

"I understand." He answered softly.

"I knew that you would." G'Kar smiled "Now, about your wardrobe..."

 

Zack came into Sheriden's office just before the end of his day, with the arrivals and departures log in one hand, and the report from Forensics in the other.

"You aren't going to like this." He said as he held both out to the President.

Sheriden glanced over the information quickly, then looked up at Zack.

"This can't be right." He said softly.

"It is." Zack answered. "It makes no sense, but it's right."

 

Vir Cotto sat in the Zocalo with Lennier, having a drink. The two had become good friends, and without planning to, seemed to meet this way often. Lennier had a secret passion that Vir was well acquainted with... He loved to gossip.

"So, is she really...?" Vir asked Lennier, trailing off a few words.

"Maybe." Lennier answered with a sly smile.

"Great Maker!" Vir whispered smiling. Lennier's smile broadened, and he added quickly.

"But, we have to wait and see."

"Of course." Vir answered. "How long before..." He was interrupted by a familiar voice over his shoulder.

"Vir!" Zack said with exaggerated happiness. "Just the man I was looking for." Vir cringed, he was sure he had no idea why Zack would be looking for him.

"H--Hello Mr. Allan" He said, stammering slightly.

Zack slid his arm around Vir's shoulders, intentionally intimidating him with the close, familiar contact.

"I understand you and Lando had a visitor from Centauri Prime recently." He said very casually.

Vir blinked up at him, not understanding this at all.

 

Steven buzzed Garibaldi's door that evening, looking nothing at all like his usual self. He wore a long hooded leather coat, compliments of G'Kar, and his oldest most worn out clothes.

"Come" Garibaldi called from inside. The door slid open, and Steven strolled in.

"That's a different look for you." Michael said with a laugh. "Kinda like Narn MD."

"I had a wardrobe consultant." Steven grinned, knowing he must look ridiculous.

"So I gathered."

Garibaldi looked pretty ragged himself. He wore dark gray pants, and a shirt that had possibly once been white. Now, it was an indertiminate color between beige and green. His old fedora was perched on his head.

"Are you ready?" Garibaldi asked.

"Yeah. Let's do it." Steven answered, wondering to himself if this was a big mistake.

 

 

Vir sat in Zack Allan's office wringing his hands nervously.

"So what did the royal envoy want?" Zack asked again patiently.

"Mr. Allan," Vir blurted quickly. "I don't know. I told you, he came to see Lando. They spoke privately, then he left. I did not hear the conversation."

Zack leaned across the desk, his eyes pinning Vir in his seat.

"Vir, this is very important. If you know anything, I need for you to tell me. I'd rather talk to you about this, than Mollari."

"I can see that this is very important to you, I just don't understand why it is so important." Vir answered.

"And I can't explain it to you. But I need to know anything you can tell me."

Vir sighed in exasperation. "All I know is that he brought Lando a message from the royal court.. And that is all I truly know, Mr. Allan."

Zack could see that Vir was telling the truth, so he relented.

"Thanks for your help." He said, leaning back in his chair.

"You can't you tell me what I'm helping with?" Vir asked, curiosity burning him alive. "Not even a hint?"

"I'm sorry Vir." Zack said shaking his head emphatically.

Vir left his curiosity unsatisfied. After he was gone, Zack tapped the com link on the back of his hand.

"Not much help, was he?" Zack said

"No." Sheriden replied through the link. "Let's try to catch Garibaldi and Franklin before they leave. The more I think about this, the less I like it."

"I'll meet you in the lift. Zack out."

 

Garibaldi and Franklin worked their way through crowds, avoiding people they knew, blending into the endless stream of visitors that passed through the doors everyday. The deeper they went into the station, the fewer people the saw who might recognize them.

Finally Garibaldi halted in front of an alley-way. He motioned to Franklin to follow.

"This is where I came to." He said as they walked to the end of the alley.

"Right here." He said, looking closely at the ground. Franklin took out a small scanner, and ran it over the area.

"Minute traces of blood. Nothing like what I'd expected to find though." He said when it stopped running. "I don't think she died here Michael."

"Neither do I." Garibaldi answered looking around them. If only I could remember something he thought desperately. Then he heard something familiar. The low keening wail he had heard in his dreams.

"What is that?" He spoke out loud, mostly to himself.

"That?" Franklin asked, jerking his head toward the sound.

Garibladi nodded, moving toward it.

"I think it's supposed to be some kind of off-world music." Steven answered, though Garibaldi didn't seem to hear him.

They followed a side corridor from the alley, and came to the back door of a seedy looking bar. The music came from inside.

"Michael, do you remember this?" Franklin asked hopefully.

"I think so.." Garibaldi said, staring at the door. "I heard it last night in my dreams..."

"Do you want to wait here, and let me go in?"

"No way." Came the reply. He started to step past Franklin, heading for the front door of the bar, but Steven grabbed his arm.

"You sure you can do this?"

"No, but I'm sure I have to do this."

Franklin let go, and followed him around front.

Sheriden buzzed Garibaldi's door again.

"Sir, I think we missed them." Zack said, feeling like an idiot for pointing out the obvious.

Sheriden sighed. "I know Zack, I guess I was just hoping..."

"They left about an hour ago."

They turned to see G'Kar standing in the shadows, a Narn prayer stick in his hand.

"G'Kar," Sheriden said, stepping closer to him. "You know more about this then you are saying, don't you?" G'Kar didn't answer right away, and that was not a good sign.

"G'Kar, are they in danger?" Sheriden still got no answer. The silence and the pressure of everything snapped his temper. With no warning, he shoved G'Kar back against the corridor wall.

"WHAT ARE YOU NOT TELLING ME?" He yelled in G'Kars face, then lowered his voice. "You say you are Michael's friend, if he is in danger...."

"He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time!" G'Kar shouted.

"Tell me what you know." Sheriden demanded quietly.

 

 

The high pitched tone of the music was beginning to wear on both Franklin and Garibaldi's nerves.

"Anything?" Franklin asked again.

"No. goddamnit" Garibaldi snapped, instantly regretting it.

"Sorry Steven." He said, straining to be heard over the music.

"I understand," Franklin said. "Probably more than you think. I'll bet that the one think you want most right now is to order a stiff drink, and just forget about all of this shit. To just completely lose yourself."

Garibaldi nodded wordlessly.

"I've been there," Franklin pointed out. "That's why I'm here."

Michael looked at his friend, thinking that he might very well be looking at his best friend. The din of the bar around them died down at that point.

"Thank god they stooped that noise." Franklin muttered, feeling the need to break the silence between them.

"Really." Garibaldi snorted. The bar was packed now, the patrons gathered in small clusters here and there, the conversation level almost as loud as the music had been.

"This isn't getting us anywhere." Garibaldi said, standing up. "I'm going to go talk to the bartender, c'mon."

They weaved their way through the crowd, up to the bar. The bartender, a young human man, gave them a nod and held up one finger. Michael took off his hat, and laid it on the bar next to where he was leaning. Franklin kept his hood up, knowing it hid his face from view.

The bartender worked his way through the patrons, with the skill of someone who had served drinks for a very long time. He did it with a flair that was entertaining, and amusing to everyone. He lit cigars, tossed bottles in the air as he mixed drinks, and made jokes all at the same time. Even Franklin chuckled at him.

"He's good."

"Yeah. His name is Troy." Garibaldi answered, without thinking.

"Is it?" Franklin asked pointedly.

"Yeah." Garibaldi said with conviction, looking at Franklin. "I remember."

"Well if it isn't my big tipper." Troy said, coming to their end of the bar. Franklin didn't push for any more information.

"How ya doin' Troy?" Garibaldi asked, smiling broadly.

"Good, what can I get you fellas?" He flashed an easy smile at them.

"Umm... a little information, maybe?" Garibaldi said, looking sheepish.

"What do you mean?" Troy asked, the smile fading a bit.

"Well, I was in here the other night... But um... I don't remember a whole lot..." Garibaldi laughed heartily. "I don't think I was alone, and I'm missing something I'd really like to get back." He laid a 20 credit chip on the bar casually.

"Do you remember who I might have been with?" He finished nonchalantly. Troy mopped the bar quickly with a towel, and the chip vanished in the process. He laughed softly.

"If I remember right, you were with Kell." He said with a sly grin.

"Kell?" Garibaldi played along.

"A local skank." Troy answered, using the slang term for prostitute.

"Hmmm..." Garibaldi said thoughtfully. "Did you see where we went?"

Troy grinned. "Upstairs. She usually keeps a room here."

"Got the key to it, good buddy?" Garibaldi asked, laying another chip on the bar.

"Sure thing." Troy answered, the second chip disappearing quicker than the first. He turned quickly, and opened a drawer behind the bar. and plopped the card-key down in front of Garibaldi.

"Room 8" He smiled.

"Thanks." Garibaldi said, taking the card-key. He turned, and Franklin followed him up the stairs.

 

 

In G'Kars quarters Sheriden had settled his temper down, but not his determination.

"Sit, please." G'Kar said, taking off his coat. "I will tell you what I can, President Sheriden." His voice was heavy, and sad.

Sheriden and Zack sat, neither one of them relaxing though.

"You must promise me one thing." G'Kar begin. "What I am about to tell you, you must keep to yourself."

Sheriden looked at him. "I can't promise you that."

"You have to." G'Kar said emphatically.

"I will do my best." Sheriden answered.

"Coming from you," G'Kar smiled. "That is all I need."

 

 

 

When Garibaldi unlocked the door to the room, he and Franklin were both ready for anything, except the stench that hit them headlong. To both of them it was unmistakable. The smell of death.

"Christ!" Franklin swore, covering his mouth and nose with his hand, and peering into the dark room. Garibaldi drew a deep breath and held it, groping inside the room for the light controls. He found them, and activated the dim lamp.

They both glanced around the room for several minutes, then abruptly Garibaldi shut the door again.

"We need to get Zack." He said.

Steven couldn't have agreed more.

 

 

 

"The ring impression is the same as the button Mr. Garibaldi brought back from the Drazi home world." G'Kar said, seating himself across from the other two. "I'm surprised he didn't recognize it." He continued. "You see... Centauri has something it has never had before.. a small rebellion. There are those in the Royal Court who do not agree with the current vein of politics. They are the same ones involved on the raids against our ships... Mr. Garibaldi has made himself a nuisance to them." G'Kar paused, taking a long breath.

"They traced him to here, but do not know exactly who he is. They know his face, but not his name. The envoy who arrived here a few days ago, was sent under the guise of messenger. But his real purpose was assassin.... " He looked pointedly at Sheriden.

"Does Lando know this?" Sheriden asked, his mind turning over the possibilities.

"No," G'Kar shook his head slowly. "I don't think so."

"But they will keep coming after Mr. Garibaldi. He has seen too much now. The young woman was hired to kill him. She failed, therefore she died." G'Kars voice softened as he went on.

"And the assassin who hired her?" Zack inquired.

"He never left the station." G'Kar said, barely audible. "I saw to that."

Sheriden and Zack both exchanged a stunned look.

"You...?" Zack began, not even knowing how to continue that sentence.

"The rebels on Centauri want Lando to join them, which he will not of course... The envoy tried once again to recruit him, he turned him down immediately. The envoy then turned to his other 'business' here... Disposing of the man from the Drazi home-world. When Lando told me of this, the next day, I sent someone looking for him. They found him down below. He will not be coming back after Mr. Garibaldi again." G'Kar let the full meaning sink in.

"So Michael didn't hurt anyone?" Sheriden asked, feeling his temper rise again.

"No," G'Kar said, looking down and his hands. "I had no idea he was down below, and the only conclusion I can come to is that he went back looking for the girl, and found them both dead."

"But you let him believe that he HAD killed someone?" Sheriden said angrily.

"What would you have done in my place?" G'Kar asked quickly. "You know my position! YOU want me to find out information from Mollari, without giving any information to him." G'Kar stood up abruptly, and walked around the room. "You ask me to walk a very thin line Mr. President.... "

"So, there is another body somewhere down below." Zack said, staring at G'Kar, who nodded slowly.and Garibaldi slipped out the back of the bar, without returning the card key to Troy. Once the were far enough away from anyone else, they found a public com-console, and called Zack's link.

 

"Zack, go." He said quickly, when it beeped.

"Zack, it think you had better come see what we found." Garibaldi said, glancing around to make sure no one was close enough to hear.

"Where are you?" Zack said, looking at both Sheriden and G'Kar.

"We are near the 'Kamikaze' bar.. We found another body.. Centauri..." Garibaldi said.

Absolute silence filled G'Kars quarters, as three pairs of eyes glanced from one to the others.

"OK. Stay where you are, I'll be there as soon as I can." He said quickly, then closed the link.

"This won't be easy," Zack said thoughtfully "But I have an idea."

Down below Franklin and Garibaldi found a dark corner, not far from the com-console, and sat down, to wait for Zack. Steven could clearly read the expression on his friends face.

"Michael, you didn't do it." He said simply.

"Can you be sure? 'Cause I can't."

"Well, if you had ripped his throat out, you would have had blood all over you.. From head to toe... Not just on the knees of your pants. I ran the tests on your clothes.. You had the girls blood on your shirt, but you only had Centauri blood on the knees of your pants... It just isn't possible." Franklin said.

"Did you ever consider becoming a detective?" Garibaldi asked. "'Cause I think you missed your calling.. as my Grandmother would say."

Franklin laughed quietly. "No, but I did consider going into Forensics."

"Well you'd be damned good at either," Garibaldi said. "But I think being a Doctor is what you are best at."

They sat in silence for a few minutes, before Franklin spoke again.

"Mike, I'm putting a note in your medical files so that the new chief of Med-lab will keep you on the Panzerac."

"I think that's a good idea." Garibaldi replied.

Franklin smiled inwardly at that.. It was a small step, but it was the first and most important one.

 

 

Zack took a small security group with him down below. He located the console where Garibaldi had called from, and looked around for him.

"Over here." He heard a voice say. Leaving the detail at the console, he walked over to where Garibaldi and Franklin sat in the shadows.

"What did you find?" He asked, already knowing the answer.

Garibaldi handed him the card-key to room 8.

"The bartender said I was here with the girl a couple of nights ago. He says she and I went upstairs. Franklin and I went up to the room, to see what we could find, and what we found was a dead Centauri."

Zack seemed to ponder this a minute.

"We found the girl not far from here." He said, after a few minutes.

"Where at?" Garibaldi asked.

"About 2 corridors over." Zack said, gesturing with his hand. "Sit tight a sec." He went over to the four armed guards, and spoke with them for a minute, then all of them went inside the bar.

Franklin found it amusing, to watch how many people poured out of that place a few minutes later.

"Talk about a mass exodus" Garibaldi said.

"Remind you of the old saying about rats abandoning a sinking ship?" Franklin mused, watching the crowd disperse in all directions.

Zack returned then, walking slowly toward them.

"Chief, I think I know what happened," He said, squatting down in front of him and Franklin. "Or at least, I've pieced together a theory."

"Let's hear it," Garibaldi said. "Cause we all know I can't come up with shit."

"I think you came back here, looking for the girl. You found her, and the Centauri both already dead., and he is wearing the ring we found the impressions of...I think you picked her up and tried to carry her to Med-Lab... maybe she was still alive, or you thought she was still alive... " Zack shrugged. "But you couldn't make it... So you put her down, where we found her, and tried to go on yourself, but blacked out."

"It makes a lot of sense." Franklin spoke up. "You don't have any marks any where on your body. You don't attack and kill two people, and not get off without a scratch."

"Right." Zack agreed. "But I don't think you actually had anything to do with either one of their deaths."

"Neither do I." Franklin agreed.

"So, who killed the Centauri?"

"He has two distinctive words carved into his chest.. 'For Freedom'." He pused to let that sink in, then continued. "You know as well as I do what that means. And a Narn needs no reason to kill a Centauri, only the oppurtunity, and that is what I am filing in my report. Unless you remember what happened, I think that is as close to the truth as we will ever come, and for all we know right now, it may be the exact truth."

"So you are considering it a closed case?" Garibaldi asked.

"For the time being, anyway." Zack replied.

"It all fits, doesn't it?" Franklin remarked.

"I guess it does." Garibaldi sighed. "But it still doesn't fill in those two days in my life."

"Well," Franklin said getting to his feet. "Maybe time will do that."

"Maybe." Garibaldi said, getting to his feet as well.

"Why don't you two go top-side." Zack said. "We'll take care of things here, and I'll file my report to Sheriden."

"Sounds good to me." Franklin agreed quickly, but Garibaldi remained quiet.

"You ok Chief?" Zack asked.

"Yeah... I'll be fine."

"C'mon Michael... Let's get the hell out of here." Franklin said. "I hate this place."

"Me too." Zack put in.

"Don't we all." Garibaldi said, as he and Franklin walked away.

 

 

G'Kar knelt before the altar in his quarters, meditating. Trying to find the peace and guidence that he was always in need of. His door chimed softly behind him. Sighing, and rising up from his knees, he said "Come."

Franklin walked in. "Doctor, what a surprise." He smiled.

"I thought you might want this back." Steven said, holding up the G'den. G'Kar shook his head.

"No. You must keep it." He answered.

"You knew, didn't you?" Franklin asked softly.

G'kar nodded, but said nothing.

"How... why?" Franklin began.

"I can't explain it. Just know that what was done, was done to protect someone who is dear to both of us. Someone who had to confront something terrible... Something that we could not be there for him on.." G'Kar sighed.

"And sometimes to face the truth, we have to decend into madness?" Franklin asked.

"Exactly." G'Kar answered with a sad smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

fini. 3/15/98