Work on the Phoenix continued in a tense silence. Darquin was still on the bridge, at the Tactical station, tracking news from Centauri Prime and the search for Delenn’s missing ship. Morgan had left the bridge, returning less than an hour later with her injured hand in a soft splint. When she relieved him, he trudged into the turbolift. With any luck, he could head down to Security before another crisis came up.
While he was still in the turbolift, his hand link let out a chirp. “Darquin. Go.”
“Chief, this is Station House. We’ve got reports that Kordieh is … well, it seems like he’s just wandering around the ship. He hasn’t gone anywhere restricted, but … he doesn’t seem to be going any place in particular. He hasn’t ever done that before, so we thought you should know.”
“Thanks.” He pondered for a moment. “Gimme a fix and I’ll look into it.”
As soon as someone relieved him from the ship’s helm, Darquin went into the turbolift and used a security command override. He wanted to go straight to his destination, no interruptions. Kordieh had stopped at any non-restricted deck the turbolift let him walk into, working his way down. Deck 22, home of the multi-purpose areas and the secondary shuttlebay, was the next place on his itinerary. It was a long way down from the bridge.
Once he got there, Darquin found it easy to hear Kordieh’s footsteps. The blast doors on the shuttlebay were closed, sealing off any noise from the techs working in there, and hardly anyone else came down to Deck 22.
Darquin picked up his pace, slowing down when Kordieh was in sight. “Kordieh? Hey, wait up.”
At the sound of Darquin’s voice, Kordieh stopped and turned. He looked tense, but there was no guilt in his demeanor that Darquin could readily see. “Hello, Chief. What’s going on?”
“Man,” he said, shaking his head, “what isn’t going on. Just wanted to check on everything before the next Crisis of the Day. I wasn’t sure how much scuttlebutt has on things right now.”
Kordieh sighed. “It’s probably spreading. I got a jump on it when Mar — when Shok-na’li Morgan had to come to Medlab.”
“Yup, Rangers at work.” He watched for a reaction. “I just wish I could get through to G’fen.”
Kordieh’s jaw set tightly. He took a step back, to lean against the bulkhead. “I feel the same way. He’s making no sense at all!”
“I dunno. Anywhere else, he–wait, did you talk to him?”
“Yes, just a little while ago.”
Darquin nodded his head slowly, chuckling despite himself, as the suspense started to eat at him. “And…you don’t feel like dropping the other shoe? Did he go off on you too?”
“Oh yes,” Kordieh said. “Part of me has been trying not to think about it, the rest hasn’t been thinking about anything else. It makes no sense. Not just the hate … but … what he said about me, as part of it all.”
“Aw jeez.” Judging from the state he’d been in on the bridge, G’fen was capable of saying anything. And he knew Kordieh better than anyone else in the crew. Even in the best friendships, there was plenty of fodder for verbal shrapnel. “Look, you can’t afford to take what he says too seriously right now. None of us can. The hate is doing all the talking for him.”
Kordieh nodded. “I know. I asked him, what was more important, the hate or who he really was. And he doesn’t seem to understand … I can’t afford to be around him at all if he’s going to be like this. He seems to think that I’ve got a problem for being so upset, that I’m being a snob when I tell him, I dare not be his friend if this is what he’s really like.” He shook his head. “I’m sorry. I’m rambling. Did any of that even make sense?”
“Oh yeah, I used to see it all the time. It’s like trying to help someone when they’re drowning. He could take you down with him if you don’t watch for it. C’mon.” He indicated the turbolift with a nod. “It’s not just you, D. You did the right thing.”
Kordieh pushed himself away from the bulkhead, following Darquin’s lead toward the lift. “That’s good to know, I just hope –” Then he paused, looking at Darquin curiously. “D?”
“‘DK’ didn’t sound right.” He shrugged, grinning. “Initials and stuff. It’s a military thing.”
“Oh, I see. That makes sense,” Kordieh said with a smile as they paused in front of the lift. “Where are we going?”
“Back to work. Entil’zha Delenn is still missing. And for all I know, we could get sent out to Centauri Prime any minute. And there’s G’fen.”
He nodded. “I don’t know what I can do to help, but I’m willing to try, whatever you might need me to do.” He offered Darquin a wry smile. “Even if it’s just staying out of your way and not distracting you by wandering blind over half the ship.”
“That’d help,” Darquin added with a weary chuckle.
Kordieh stepped into the lift, ordering it to the deck where his quarters were. “Centauri Prime … is there any word from there, from Mr. Carlacci and….” His breath seemed to catch in his throat for a moment. “And from Ryath?”
“No.” Darquin sighed. He wanted to give–to have–a better answer than that. “Nothing yet.”
He nodded slowly. “I’ll pray for them, if I can remember how,” he finally said. “And for Entil’zha Delenn.” He thought a moment. “And for G’fen.”
Phoenix–“”Nothing Sacred or Profane” © 2003 Jamie Lawson & Joe Medina
Babylon 5 tm and © 2002 Warner Bros.