Note: Odd that as much of a BABYLON 5 fan as I am, I hadn't written something for it yet. But, boredom at work being what it is, here is a quick oneoff that you guys might enjoy!

UPDATE: If you go to the Samuraiko Productions website, and hit the Multimedia/Videos page, there's a BAB 5 video up for your enjoyment!


Coffee Stirrers and Kharmic Debt

Ivanova was in the middle of eating breakfast with Garibaldi and Sheridan when she first noticed it. For a moment, her mind dismissed what she was seeing, but then the rest of it - the practical part that just KNEW she was not going to like what she was about to find out - hauled her attention back to him.

"What the hell is he doing NOW?!" she grumbled, leaning back in her seat to peer myopically across the cafeteria.

"What the hell is who doing?" Garibaldi asked through a mouthful of food before swallowing.

"Hang on just a second." She got to her feet and wove her way through the crowd to where Marcus was working his way along the tables picking up stuff.

"Marcus... what in the world are you doing?"

"Ah, Commander," he said brightly, quickly shoving his hands behind his back and putting on that expression of supreme innocence that drove her insane.

"Come on, let's see it."

"See what?"

"What you're hiding from me."

"I'm not hiding anything," he protested, edging his way along the table to try and get away from her, but faster than he would have given her credit for, she'd grabbed hold of his wrist and twisted it.

"Coffee stirrers?" she said in disbelief, and Marcus went bright red. "What in God's name are you collecting coffee stirrers for?!"

"Ummm..."

"And the other day, you were collecting straws. The day before that, the bartenders in the Zocalo said you'd picked up.. what was it? About fifty separate drink coasters? Have you all of a sudden developed some bizarre form of kleptomania, or is this just something you're doing to annoy me?"

"Well, you remember a little while ago that I'd drawn you a model," he admitted. "But as I kept working on it, I realized that paper is just not a sufficient medium for expressing the organizational structure of Babylon 5, so I thought I'd go three-dimensional."

Ivanova waited for him to continue in the hope that he would say something that made sense. It was a vain hope.

"And... so... now you're stealing coffee stirrers... why?"

"To build my model, of course. You see, it's actually quite complex. I'd asked Stephen for some of those glass tubes they use in Medlab, but he got rather huffy about it. I guess some people just don't have any interest in art."

"So... you're going to build a model of Babylon 5's... organizational structure... out of coffee stirrers..." she said slowly. "And straws, and coasters, and-"

"Exactly!" His green eyes were alight with the enthusiasm that usually spelled a very, very, VERY big headache for her.

"And WHY are you doing this?"

Marcus blinked at her, as though surprised she had to ask. "Well... you wanted to know where I fit in. Personally, I consider myself something of a non-conformist, but I gather you have a problem with that consideration. And as I'd said, the drawing didn't quite seem to convey the complexity that is Babylon 5. So I am branching out into three dimensions-"

She waved her hands to stop him before he got into full flow.

"Okay, okay, okay, I'm sorry I asked. Just..." She let out a loud sigh. "Go... make your model. Thing. Whatever."

Marcus eagerly bounded his way out of the cafeteria and Ivanova went back to her breakfast, where Sheridan and Garibaldi had been watching the whole scene with interest.

Very deliberately, Ivanova turned her gaze to the two men, both of whom immediately lowered their heads and stared at their plates as though they contained the secrets of Epsilon 3 in their morning porridge.

"If either one of you says a word, I'm going to stick those forks up your noses," she grumbled.

Both men nodded, and Ivanova let out a grunt as she picked up her fork.

However, just as she took a mouthful of food, Marcus re-appeared in the doorway of the cafeteria.

"Oh, and by the way, Susan, you WILL come by to my quarters later and admire my masterpiece, won't you?"

The Ranger's words carried clearly across the mess hall just as conversation had reached one of those horrendously inconvenient lulls, and every eye in the room went from Marcus to Ivanova, who was now choking on her breakfast. As she gasped and wheezed, trying to remind her lungs that they were meant to handle air and not food, Marcus blew her a kiss and disappeared again.