Halftime

Characters: NPC: B5 crew

President John Sheridan looked up from his hardcopies, giving the conference room a nod. Between them he, Delenn, and Garibaldi had whittled down the agenda down to only a few items.

Delenn made it official, adopting a light airy tone. “Durhan and Turval are returning with their students to Minbar. They send their regards.”

“The teachers or the students?” Sheridan’s dark goatee nearly hid the mischievous smirk he wore as he kept his eyes on the documents he was slipping into his binder.

“Yes.” She beamed a warm, child-like smile as they exchanged a conspiratorial glance.

Michael Garibaldi took a long pull from his coffee and gave him the luxury of rolling his eyes as he put the mug down, amused but too busy wearing his covert ops thinking cap. “Anyway, I’ll get back to you on what the Gaim have for us.”

“Good,” Sheridan said. “All right, any last-minute business?”

“Actually I was wondering if you could give me the Abbai. I know the general situation, the politics and the trade galaxy-wise, but I was hoping you could get some specifics. And since the Rangers have been busy over there, I figured I’d talk to the source.”

Sheridan nodded. “Delenn?”

Entil’zha Delenn instantly became serious again, her focus like a laser. “The crew of the Ranger vessel Phoenix has been working with the Abbai for some time now. I have been receiving regular reports from Captain Hale, and they have been fairly positive thus far.”

“Certainly made quick work of the raiders,” Garibaldi said. “Scared the hell out of everyone in the sector.”

Sheridan frowned, incredulous. “Why?”

“You’re kidding, right? This alien cruiser jumps in–a few times bigger than your garden-variety White Star, no one’s seen it before–and it wipes out two simultaneous attack raids. One around one of their orbital factories, another a few planets away, right on the Abbai homeworld. Fragged ’em completely, in a matter of minutes.”

“And without any loss of life,” Delenn added.

“Yes,” Garibaldi sighed, “but that’s not my point.”

“Okay, I see where you’re going,” Sheridan said, unenthused. “We spent half the session that smoothing out everyone’s feathers. All the ambassadors thought it was a show of force.”

“Well, what’d you expect? Still, you gotta hand it to the Rangers. It was one hell of a show of force.”

Sheridan nodded wearily, closing his eyes as if reliving the ear-splitting arguments in council chambers.

“It’s important to note that the number of raider attacks in the Abbai system has fallen at an exponential rate,” Delenn said. “Trade has increased. Homes are being rebuilt. And we were able to supply enough food and medical assistance to help the Abbai through a harsh winter. The mission has been a success.”

“Not about to dispute that,” Garibaldi said, raising his hands up in defeat. “I couldn’t find an Abbai anywhere on the station to save my life four or five months ago.”

“At least now they’re working with us,” Sheridan muttered.

“I hear the crime rate’s gone up, though.”

“Yes.” Delenn rested her pale chin on her fists. “The Abbai haven’t seen such disorder in centuries. Captain Hale’s personnel are intervening where they can.”

Garibaldi exhaled as if dropping a ten-ton weight. “Big job.”

“I know,” Sheridan said gently. “But all we need is to make people think twice about whether the Rangers are around the next corner.”

Garibaldi nodded, keeping quiet. In his experience, thugs and other assorted street slime had to be forced to think more than twice.

“Is there anything else you wish to know, Michael?”

“Yeah, Delenn, thanks. I’ve been hearing something about Brakiri in practically every sector making some big preparations for….” He shrugged. “Some ceremony, near as I can figure out.”

“Yes, the Day of the Dead. The Brakiri observe it once every two hundred years.”

Garibaldi raised an eyebrow. “It’s legit?”

“Apparently,” Sheridan said. “I think their ambassador’s made an appointment for next month to arrange something here. Captain Lochley will deal with it.”

“Okay.” Garibaldi gathered his hardcopies. “In that case, I guess I’m done here. I just wasn’t sure how much hard info I was gonna get from the Brakiri. Not after that gag I pulled with the comet–”

“I’m sure the ambassador has forgotten by now,” Delenn said sweetly.

“Yeah, right. Well, if you’ll excuse me….” Garibaldi stood up and straightened his coat. “Mister President. Delenn. See ya later.” He gave his friends a quick grin and left, in the rest of Babylon 5.


Copyright (c) 2000 Joe Medina. All rights reserved.