Characters: Roland DeVries
“What,” DeVries yelled, struggling up from the depths of sleep,. The hammock he was in swayed as his weight shifted. Like most non-Minbari Rangers, Roland could never get any sleep on the slanted sleeping pallets favored by the Minbari. So, in typical human fashion, he found a way around it. “Whatever it is, it’ll keep,” Roland grumbled, shifting so his back was to the Narn.
T’rar, standing next to his partner, gave the hammock another shove. The human stubbornly refused to wake up. Checking the chronometer on the bulkhead of their quarters, T’rar reached a hand out to the hammock’s edge again. From the depths of slumber, DeVries have sensed the motion. In a groggy voice, he warned his partner to not even think about it. The Narn, however, did think about it. Then, he smiled. Then, he acted on the thought.
A little while later, DeVries tenderly massaged the knot under his close cropped hair as he was herded along the corridor by T’rar. Bathed and in clean Ranger fatigues, let himself be herded. Who, after all, argues with a Narn this big? “You had them up the gravity in our cabin, didn’t you,” DeVries asked, shooting his partner a sideways glance. T’rar’s face was the very picture of cherubic innocence. “You know,” Roland said, turning the corner, “that look never works on you.” The Narn looked confused. “The red eyes,” the human offered by way of explanation. The Narn still looked confused. “Never mind,” Roland groused.
As the pair turned another corner, the sounds of music, conversation, and laughter wafted out of the Lounge entrance. Nearing the point of no return, Roland tried one last argument. “You do remember the Captain said this thing was optional.” he asked. T’rar nodded his head, a firm hand on the human’s shoulder. “So, I don’t HAVE to go, right?” The Narn shook his head. “What do you mean…,” Roland asked, mimicking the Narn’s gesture, “I need my sleep.”
Removing his hand, T’rar wove a series of hand signs in the air, explaining. DeVries turned around and glared at his friend. “I need to get…what?…more,” he asked, hands on hips. T’rar repeated the gesture. “That what I thought you said,” Roland said, his expression going sour. “What business is that of yours?” Another series of hand signs followed. “Ok, so you do have to live with me but…,” Roland replied, looking for an out. As T’rar wove another series hands, DeVries mentally noted how talkative the Narn had gotten of late.
Leaning back against the bulkhead, Roland winced as the knot on his head brushed the bulkhead. “Ok, Dr. T’rar,” DeVries started sarcastically, “in your medical opinion, if I go in there,” he gestured toward the door, “there’s a chance I’ll get…,” he paused, searching for the right word. With a hand gesture, the Narn provided it. “Thank you,” Roland replied caustically, “you’re such a help.” He massaged the remaining sleep grit out of his eyes. Look back into the Narn’s crimson eyes, he continued, “And there’s no way you’re gonna let me weasel out of this one, is there?” The smile on the Narn’s face told Roland the chance of a Shadow creature taking up charity work was infinitely more likely. “Ok, ok. You win. I’m going.” A friendly shove on the back from the Narn made sure of that.
Roland, holding his drink so it wouldn’t get sloshed, made his way to a open spot near the stage. As reluctant as he was to admit it, this actually was a good party. Glancing out onto the dance floor, he spotted T’rar’s head bobbing around. For a moment, Roland had the mental image of the Narn in a white, polyester suit. Involuntarily, he winced. It wasn’t a particularly pretty picture. Sipping his fruit punch, DeVries let his eyes sweep the room. From behind him, he heard a voice.
“Anla’shok DeVries. A moment, if you please?”
Turning, Roland found himself eye to eye with the ship’s Operations officer…Klevetati Yoshino.
From the dance floor, T’rar glanced over toward his partner. Seeing him in conversation with Yoshino, the Narn smiled and went back to composing a series of moves that would give a Celtic dancer a cramp.
Copyright (c) 1998 Smith Self. All rights reserved.