'Man has no greater enemy than himself.'


Standard disclaimer applies; not my characters or settings or backgrounds. But they are my words.

The corridors were deserted. G'Kar moved silently through the empty halls. He was on the level that contained the majority of the dungeons and as he walked, unpleasant memories stirred like the dust beneath his booted feet. Somewhere down here were Sheridan and Delenn, and even though the others who accompanied him had protested, he had insisted on coming alone, to see if there was any chance left of rescue.

At least the boy was safe. The stolen shuttle had blasted off, and by now David Sheridan had been taken aboard one of the Ranger ships, which were hidden in an asteroid field far beyond Centauri Secundus's orbit. If pursuit had been unsuccessful, they were probably at the jump point about now. Hearing the tramp of approaching feet, slapping the floor in a familiar military cadence, G'Kar looked about for shelter. There was a doorway just ahead, on his right, half-hidden behind a torn and dingy gold curtain. The Centauri's fondness for wall-covering draperies had its uses. He slid half behind the curtain, waiting in deep shadow to see what was coming his way.

It was a military guard, three in number. Two were in front, and one behind, escorting a solitary prisoner. Hands clasped in front of her with her wrists loosely bound, Delenn walked slowly, carrying her head high like a queen. The guards in front stopped at a doorway, knocked twice, then stood back as the door opened. The guard on the other side greeted them, and asked to see their orders. They stepped through to present papers for examination, and to exchange greetings. G'Kar watched carefully with his one good eye, and saw that the rear guard had wandered to the opposite end of the corridor to check on something. Twitching aside the curtain, he risked a low hiss to attract the prisoner's attention while all three guards were distracted.

Delenn turned her head, and caught sight of him, freezing momentarily in shock. G'Kar gestured towards the guards, indicating he was there to free her. In surprise, he saw her shake her head definitively in the negative. Using the hand signals favored by the Rangers, he managed to let her know that David had escaped. Only a quick uptake of breath and a lightning-swift smile betrayed her joy in the news. G'Kar could hear the guard returning from the rear, and the conversation ahead had ended. Once more, he urged her without words to let him make an attempt on the guards, but a look of sorrow and resignation was her only reply.

Puzzled and frustrated by her unspoken decision, G'Kar watched as the guards marched her away. He waited a full five minutes, making sure they were out of sight and earshot before he moved out of the concealing doorway. For a moment he stood uncertain of his next move, whether to follow Delenn, or to try and locate Sheridan, or to make his way back to where the Resistance waited. Perhaps he could follow the need that still burned in him, and head for the throne room Wavering between the choices, he almost jumped when he heard the unmistakable sound of someone clearing their throat.

"Well, if it isn't my old, good friend, G'Kar!" came a familiar sardonic voice from behind him. "I do not remember the last time I saw you here, on Centauri Prime. Wait, yes I do! It was the day of my coronation!" The voice dropped lower in volume and added, "And of my damnation also, as it turned out," and then, louder, demanded to know, "Whatever has happened to your eye?"

G'Kar stared at Londo. The Centauri Emperor had aged, far beyond his years. The bombastic personality and warm, if somewhat cruel, humor the Narn remembered was there, but it was tinged by something dark. Even darker that the shadows that had clung to Londo during the last war between their people, which G'Kar would not have believed possible. "Mollari," he said flatly. "I was just coming to find you."

"Yes," said Londo, drawing out the word to almost a paragraph's worth of meaning. "I suppose you were. There is much I have to tell you. And what is more important, there is something I have to ask you. A favor, one I am certain you will be happy to grant."

The old Centauri was swaying on his feet. G'kar noticed with some disgust and unwelcome sympathy the near-empty bottle hanging loosely from Londo's gloved hand. "What kind of favor?" he asked, wondering at the absence of guards. He could kill the man now, and the muscles in his forearms twitched in response to the chemical rush that arose at the thought.

"Retribution," said Londo, baring his eyeteeth in a grimace that revealed both amusement and pain. "There is something I must do first, however. You know how it is. Affairs of state." Londo started down the corridor, only a slight tremor shaking his frail body as he turned his back on his nemesis. "Come, G'Kar," he called over his shoulder. "History awaits."