Yellow Brick Road



The two men were sitting at a table in Earhart's, chatting of inconsequential matters. They were off-duty, and the station was in a bit of a lull. Nothing was happening, and that suited both men just fine. At least for now, given about two more days and they would be driven insane by the quiet. Still, it was nice for once to have their Friday night cocktail time devoted to trivia.

"If I'm the Scarecrow, cause I've got the most on the ball, and you're the Tin Man, Mr. Objective Doctor, then who's Dorothy? Not Ivanova, no way."

Stephen Franklin took a sip of his Cabernet, and gave Michael Garibaldi a look. "I can't believe we're discussing this. It's like college, only without the recreational substances, and it's way too early in the evening."

Michael shrugged, "These kind of things occur to me. Often on late shifts when I'm alone in the Security office, but still. Gotta have something to talk about. A curious mind is an active mind. It's like push-ups for your brain."

Stephen couldn't hide his amusement. "Maybe Ivanova is the Lion. She's got the hair for it." He finished his drink and filled the glass from a carafe on the table. It had been a hard week, and he felt he deserved some R&R. His next shift wasn't until 4 am after all.

Susan Ivanova approached the table, bearing a tall frosted glass containing a clear liquid. "I have the hair for what? And why are you discussing my personal appearance anyway?"

"Is that vodka?" asked Stephen incredulously. "Rough week? That's a big glass."

"It is a vodka tonic. You told me I wasn't getting enough vitamin C." Susan took her place, and said, "What were you talking about anyway?"

"We were discussing people we knew that we would cast as the characters from The Wizard of Oz," said Michael, shifting his water glass to the other side, and keeping one hand on it. He didn't want to pick up Susan's drink in error, and they looked the same.

Susan raised one expressive eyebrow, "This is a new game? Very strange."

Stephen looked at her, laughing, "What? You didn't read the book as a kid? I admit, I only saw the film in that terrible 20th Century Film class I had to take as a cultural elective, but I know the book's still being sold."

"I did read it," said Susan, taking a long drink from her glass. The men exchanged glances. They had both made a bit of money betting on the commander's staying power when challenged by new staff members to a drinking game. "If I am to be a character, I will be General Jinjur."

Both men looked confused, and Susan said, in affronted tones, "Don't you think I'm General material?"

"No, no, of course you are," both men said immediately.

Stephen added, puzzled, "I just don't know that character. Was she in the movie?"

Michael answered, to the other's surprise. "No, she's in the second book. What?" he asked, seeing their incredulous faces. "It was a favorite of my mother's; one of the few things she left behind when she took off."

"Sorry, Michael," said Stephen. "Didn't mean to hit a sore spot."

"No problem," said Michael. "Hey, now there's a good character for Delenn. Ozma, the princess."

"Well, she certainly carries herself like one," said Stephen.

"No, that's not it. Ozma changed, from girl to boy and back again, like Delenn changed in that cocoon thing," Michael said eagerly, leaning forward, and trying to make his point. Stephen and Susan were making faces at him for some reason.

"Mr. Garibaldi," came a rumbling roar behind him. "This is not the time or the place to be discussing the Ambassador's personal life. In fact, there is never a time or a place where this discussion would be appropriate." He added with emphasis, "Do I make myself perfectly clear?"

Michael gulped, then turned in his chair to face Captain Sheridan, who was towering over him, glowering. "No sir. Of course, sir." He pointed feebly at his glass, "The water must have gone to my head."

"Commander," Sheridan said, with a piercing look at his second, as if trying to determine the precise nature of her culpability in the conversation he'd overheard. He slapped a two inch high stack of papers in front of her. "I finished going over the duty rosters for the next two months. My notes are in red; go through and make the changes I've indicated. I want them on my desk tomorrow morning." With that, and a nod to Stephen, he stalked away.

"Whew," said Michael, "he does take that sort of talk personally. Say," he went on brightly, as Susan flipped through the heavily annotated pages of her next several hours' work, and Stephen studied the base of his wineglass. "Sheridan would be a good Lion. He can roar with the best of 'em."

Susan sighed heavily, "He could be the Scarecrow as well. He has caught errors...errors! Which I have made...and I went through these three times before I submitted them this afternoon."

"Well, he won't qualify as the Tin Man," said Stephen, looking across the room. The other two followed his gaze. Delenn was on the viewscreen, giving an interview on the in-station channel. The Captain was staring, transfixed, as the Minbari ambassador chatted brightly with the public relations officer conducting the interview. "Cause he has surely got a heart."