Meeting With Kordieh

Characters: Dr. Kaldo Lanconi, Dunstan Kordieh

Dr. Kaldo Lanconi checked the time for his appointment with Kordieh. He had conferred with Sinthann the ship’s chaplain prior to the meeting but hadn’t gotten any real insight into Kordieh’s mindset.

Kordieh announced his arrival through the door comm.

Dr. Lanconi said, “Enter, Mr. Kordieh. I’m happy to see that you are prompt. I am Dr. Kaldo Lanconi. Would you care for anything to drink before we get started?”

Kordieh bowed politely in the Minbari fashion, then smiled. “Thank you, Dr. Lanconi, but I think I’m all right for now.” His voice was soft, a little hesitant at times as he spoke. “I’m grateful you were willing to make time for me.”

“You’re welcome. But, that’s my job. I’ve gone over your file and would like to get your point of view and well as any thoughts you might have as to how I can help you.”

Kordieh settled his tall, thin frame into a chair and frowned a little in thought. “I’ve often been curious as to what exactly my file says,” he admitted. “I do accept the responsibility for the sabotage I did to the Phoenix, and all the people who died . . . even though I wasn’t in my right mind at the time.”

“Please, go on.”

“Now, I guess I am trying to figure out who I really am. Before I came back to the Phoenix, I went through the Minbari rebirth ritual. It seemed right, since I had become such a different person than I had been before.”

“I am unfamiliar with the rebirth ritual. Please tell me about the ritual.”

“The Minbari use it to mark great changes in their lives. I’ve heard it is even used as a wedding ceremony. There’s a recitation, which they say is from the very words Valen used when he founded the Grey Council.” He looked past Kaldo’s shoulder, eyes going unfocused a little as he recalled.

“Will you follow me into fire, into storm, into darkness, into death? And the nine said: ‘yes.’ Then do this in testimony to the one who will follow, who will bring death couched in the promise of new life, and renewal disguised as defeat…. From birth, through death and renewal, you must put aside old things, old fears, old lives. This is your death, the death of flesh, the death of pain, the death of yesterday. Taste of it and be not afraid, for I am with you to the end of time… Taste of it… And so it begins.”

He blushed a little. “Sorry … I’ve had it memorized for a while now…. As for how you can help me, I guess I’d just ask of you the same thing I ask of everyone — give me a chance to redeem myself. A chance to make up for what I did — as far as that’s possible, anyway.”

“That is the least I can do,” Dr. Lanconi said. “I see that you are taking responsibility for your actions yet your actions were done while you were in a state of diminished capacity or as you put it ‘even though you weren’t in your right mind at the time.’ Could you tell me what you recall were your thoughts during that period?”

Kordieh nodded. “For as long as I could remember, I believed that my twin brother and I were not two people, but one — the same soul in two different bodies, I suppose. When we … when the Phoenix found his White Star ship dead, I …”

“Take your time. I can see that you still feel the pain of your brother’s loss.”

He shook his head, squeezing his eyes shut for a moment. Then he looked back at Kaldo and continued. “I believed we were all dead, all of us aboard the Phoenix. We just didn’t know it yet, and I had to … finish us off.”

“I can understand why you would believe that you were dead with the closeness you and your brother shared. What I can’t follow is the logic that everyone on the Phoenix was dead as well. I understand that you experienced a very traumatic emotional loss and then somehow transferred the individual loss to encompass all of your shipmates. I’m sure you have thought on this for an extended period of time. What are your conclusions? Did you feel like someone else’s thought were affecting yours? I didn’t see anything in your chart which indicated any telepathic ability.”

“No, I don’t think it was a matter of anyone else’s thoughts influencing me,” Kordieh said. “You’re right, that I have thought about this a lot. The best answer I could come up with has to do with where the Phoenix, and Lucius’ White Star was … Vorlon space. There was — maybe still is – this idea that no one ever comes back from there. I knew that, even before I saw my brother’s ship, dead. Somehow, in that moment, it was as if my whole world fell apart. When my mind put itself back together … those two beliefs — about my brother, and Vorlon space — must have gotten tangled together somehow.”

Kordieh looked at Kaldo, dark eyes almost pleading. “Does that make any sense to you?”

“In a strange way, yes,” Dr. Lanconi answered. “Death came to claim me twice and twice I declined his invitation. During the periods of near death my mind did some weird things which I still don’t understand. Our minds are marvelous and mysterious things. They do things that we don’t understand. Vorlon space is forbidding and truly unknown to us. Our minds try to rationalize what we don’t know into something we can understand. Before your ship entered Vorlon space, were you having any dreams or apprehensions?”

“I don’t remember any of my dreams from … from before the time-slip, from the moment I blew up the Phoenix. I remember feeling a little frightened – and torn, very torn. Between fear of going to Vorlon space, and the desire to be with my brother again. Wherever he went, I had to follow.”

“How would you describe you emotional state at that time? I would guess that everything you did seemed logical to you then. Is that correct? Or did you feel any doubt that what you were doing wasn’t right?”

“Some people have wondered about that,” Kordieh admitted. “It’s true I hid what I was doing, trying to blow up the ship. Maybe on some level I did understand that it was wrong. I was angry. All the rest of the people on the ship — none of them understood, only I did. I had to make sure we got where we were meant to be — dead. And I didn’t want to have to explain it. That’s the most I thought about at the time.”

“You mention that you were angry. Please describe who or what you were angry about. Also, have you experienced any anger lately?”

“I was angry with them — my shipmates — because they didn’t understand what I did, that we were all dead. And because they didn’t understand, they were keeping me away from my brother.” He shook his head, chuckling ruefully. “At the time, it all made perfect sense…. As for lately, I can only think of once that I’ve felt really angry, with my friend G’fen. It was a few days ago, before you arrived here — good thing you hadn’t gotten here yet, really.”

“G’fen is a Narn? Yes?”

“Yes.”

“Please tell me about that incident.”

“It was the day we learned about Centauri Prime being bombed. I found out that G’fen had … crossed the line, up on the bridge. I went to try and talk to him, but at the time he was so out of control, he wasn’t listening to me at all. That made me angry. But we’ve talked since, and apologized to each other.”

“What do you mean, he crossed the line and how was he out of control?” Dr. Lanconi asked. “It’s good that the two of you were able to clear things up.”

“I wasn’t there, so I didn’t see exactly what happened, but I understand he was excited and happy about the bombing. He kept going on about how he … hoped all the Centauri would die. When some of the rest of the crew tried to quiet him, he wouldn’t listen … I heard he even threatened someone. Chief Darquin stripped him of his duties in Security and he’s working in the galley now, I think.”

“How would you describe your anger at that time? Was it similar to what you felt in Vorlon space? How would you contrast the two types of anger?”

“I think it was different. With G’fen … I felt betrayed. Not only his attitude about the Centauri — I couldn’t believe anyone would be so hateful — but he wasn’t listening to me, either. And we were friends, so that hurt.” He blinked as an idea struck him. “In Vorlon space, I was angry because I knew better than everyone else. With G’fen, I was angry because he insisted he knew better. Almost as if we had changed places.”

Dr. Lanconi nodded in agreement. “I can understand that quite well. I have met with both Narn and Centauri who live for the day when the other’s race is totally wiped out. Should either get their wish, I fear they will find that their life is very empty and they have nothing left to live for. For both, I fear they will die knowing that the race they hate is still alive. Hate is a terrible thing. Is there anything else you’d like to tell me or do you have any questions that I might be able to answer?”

“It might be in one of my files,” Kordieh said, “but just in case it isn’t, you should know that because of damage my lungs took in the incident in the Minbar subways, I don’t do well in heavier atmospheres. The Minbari seemed to think this was a permanent condition, but …”

“Yes. I recall seeing that in your files. If you’d like me to take a look to see if there is anything I might be able to do and make sure there has been no further deterioration, I’d be happy to schedule the tests.”

“That sounds like a good idea,” Kordieh said. “Whenever it’s convenient for you and everyone else.”

“Good. Anything else?”

“I guess the only other question I have is, do you wish me to continue on the overnight shift?”

“Which shift would you prefer and do you have seniority to replace the crewman who are presently assigned?”

Kordieh chuckled as he stood up. “I have no seniority at all, right now,” he admitted. “But that’s okay. I’m actually quite happy working overnight. It’s quiet, and gives me time to think.” He bowed again. “I’m at your service any time you need me, Doctor Lanconi,” he said, and excused himself.


Copyright (c) 2004 Sidney Kuhn and Jamie Lawson. All rights reserved.