A Minbari, A Brakiri, and A Narn ... Oh My

by (reudaly@excite.com)

Summary: Valentine's Day hits Babylon 5 and the aliens decide to give it a try.

Fandom: Babylon 5

Rating: PG - bar/food fight and Valentine's Day

Pairing: None

Archive: BTR

Disclaimer: Babylon 5 is the product of JMS. I'm just using them. I don't have anything, no point in suing me.

Warnings/Spoilers: This is in the 3rd Season between episodes "Dust to Dust" and "Shadow Dancing" with illusions to the 5th season "Day of the Dead."

Notes: This story is dedicated to a dear friend of mine who is one of the unsung heros of the entertainment world, Bill Blair. The three featured characters of this story have no names, though if you followed the show at all, you might remember seeing them. They were/are plot important characters, but never said a word. Well, I thought it was high time they were able to speak. And since the show's been over for years now, this was one of the few ways to do it. Let me tell you, writing fanfic for background characters that never speak was quite a challenge

It was one of those days where Michael Garibaldi wished he could still drink - A LOT. He'd had to break up four fights in Down Below, trace down two crank threats against ambassadors from the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, gave Captain John Sheridan a detailed report of sector activity, and that had all been before lunch. He didn't even want to think about the afternoon. He was grateful he had Zack Allen keeping him up to date on what went on with Nightwatch. Then, just to make things worse, Bester was on the station wreaking havoc with station personnel, especially the command staff.

Then, just to top off the mayhem, it was Valentine's Day - one of the few Earth holidays some of the other races had adopted, a few with a passion. Garibaldi sighed into his tomato juice. At least the color of the drink was in keeping with the holiday. Nothing else was in his life. He couldn't think of anything more depressing than breaking up a multi-species space orgy and then going back to dark quarters and a cold bed.

As he sipped his juice, he could almost imagine there was vodka in the drink, but as Security Chief, he wouldn't dare that much imagination, until a trio of aliens entered the bar and sat down a few stools away. He found himself unabashedly staring for a moment and then looking at his drink. He signaled the bartender.

"Are you sure there's nothing in this drink but tomato juice?"

"Nothing but juice, sir," the bartender confirmed. "Why? Is something wrong?"

"No. Just...is there something odd about those guys?"

The bartender looked at the trio. "Well, you don't see a Narn, a Brakiri Priest, and a Minbari religious together all that often, but odd? No."

"They don't...you know, kinda LOOK alike to you?"

The bartender looked at Garibaldi as if he needed to be cut off, but looked at the three men, and replied in surprise, "Yeah, now that you mention it, I guess they do."

Garibaldi had to get a closer look. There was just something odd about three guys from different races looking that much alike. They were all male, all the same six foot height, with the same deep, dark chocolate brown eyes. Many of the women Garibaldi knew would call them intense and sexy, Garibaldi didn't want to notice that much. He tried to study them closer without overtly staring any more than he had. His amazement grew when he realized all three men had nearly identical build and bone structure. If they hadn't been from such different races, the security chief would've suspected triplets or even clones. He had to know more.

"There are still nearly two years before Brakir celebrates the Day of the Dead," the Brakiri priest was saying. "But it is an experience like none other."

"Bah," the Narn replied, picking up his drink. "Let the dead stay dead. No use reliving the past when you don't know if you can live through the present, and let the future tend to itself."

"That's a pretty cynical philosophy," the Minbari replied. "Is that from the book of G'Quon?"

"It is from the book of bitter truth," the Narn replied. "We have been a defeated people for so long that cynical philosophy is the only philosophy that makes sense."

The Minbari persisted. "But being able to learn from those who've gone on before would be an honorable and rewarding experience, I would think. At the very least, it would be a most profound experience."

"From what I understand, it changes one's perspective forever," the priest replied.

The Narn knocked back his drink. "Talk to the dead if you want to. Me, I rather like this human tradition of celebrating life and love. The Narn are lovers, not fighters." His statement was met with a universal snort of disbelief, he was forced to amend it. "Or we would have been if not for the Centauri."

The three men fell into a momentary thoughtful silence. Garibaldi eased around them, trying to squelch the sudden flood of "A rabbi, a priest, and a ..." jokes erupting unbidden in his mind.

The Minbari turned to look at him. Garibaldi stopped in confusion. The Narn and the Brakiri turned to see what had attracted their companion's attention. Though he knew the Narn and the Brakiri were, indeed, strangers, there was something hauntingly familiar about the Minbari. He couldn't quite put his finger on it.

"You find something amusing, Mr. Garibaldi? Or merely intriguing?" the Minbari asked softly, dark eyes boring into Garibaldi's with the intensity of a telepath. Telepath! Suddenly, the memories came back, memories of Mr. Bester's last visit erupted into his consciousness.

# # #

Garibaldi paced the Captain's office. He still had no idea why they were all there. Commander Susan Ivanova was curled in on herself. She hadn't said a word to anyone in a while. Garibaldi didn't even want to get past that shell. Dr. Steven Franklin sat watching them both, seemingly relaxed, but betrayed by a jittery leg.

"Does anyone know WHY we're here?"

"I'll be happy to answer that, Michael," Sheridan said from the doorway.

The command staff turned as one and didn't even try to conceal their surprise by the group of Minbari with him. Even Ivanova came out of her funk as she got to her feet. Garibaldi's eyes widened, then narrowed as he recognized the Minbari standing at Sheridan's shoulder, shadowing his every movement. The rest of the Minbari fanned out through the room, coming to stand near each officer.

"Captain," Ivanova asked for the group. "What's going on here?"

Sheridan went behind his desk and sat down. He looked at each officer with the typically smug look he used when he felt he had a particularly brilliant idea. "We're about to beat Bester at his own game."

Garibaldi let a small smile slip out despite himself and the his feelings on the topic. "Telepaths."

"MINBARI telepaths," Sheridan corrected.

"Who can block Bester where a human telepath can't," Ivanova added, also smiling. Hers was a chilling smile with a deathly gleam in her eyes. "Nice. Though I still wish you'd let me shoot him while I had the chance."

Sheridan tried not to smile too much.

# # #

Garibaldi yanked his gaze away and threw a wall up around his thoughts. Sometimes it was easy to forget not all telepaths were so readily or visibly marked as human telepaths were through Psi Corps. "I know you. You helped with Bester."


"You talk!"

The Minbari looked at him in astonishment. "Of course I speak, how else does a telepath function among non-telepaths? Surely, human telepaths also speak."

Garibaldi was caught off guard. "Well...uh...yeah, sure. It's just that..."

"We were required to make an impression. Obviously we did. Did you need something from us, Mr. Garibaldi?"

"Uh..." Suddenly Michael Garibaldi found himself in the rare situation of being at a loss. "Has anyone told you, you guys look alike?"

The Minbari, Brakiri, and Narn looked at each other and then at Garibaldi. "We don't see it."

Lennier came hurrying into the Zocolo. He barely took stock of the situation before barging in. He sketched hasty, but polite, salutes to all four men. He turned to Garibaldi first, "Mr. Garibaldi, I'm glad you are here, I believe the captain will have need of you soon?"


"I believe it has something to do with Mr. Bester," Lennier answered with a distracted wave. His attention was on the other Minbari. "D'Lenn has need of you if you are willing."

"I will come."

As the two Minbari left the bar, Garibaldi was sure he heard the nameless one ask Lennier, "What is a rabbi?"

"Wait!" Garibaldi began, but before he could stop them, his link chimed. In barely contained frustration, he hit the link. "Garibaldi, go."

"Michael," Sheridan's voice came over the link. "I need you in my office."

"On my way." Garibaldi terminated the connection and with a heavy sigh and one last look at the Brakiri and the Narn, he left the bar.

The Brakiri and the Narn watched him go, looked at each other, then down at their drinks. "What is a rabbi, anyway?" the priest asked.

The Narn shrugged. "Wonder if it's something like Spoo? I haven't had good spoo since I got here." He took a swig of his drink. "So, two years before this Day of the Dead thing, huh?"

"Yes. I hope I am able to return to Brakir for the celebrations. Every priest on my world trains their whole life for this one ceremony, though very few ever get to perform it."

"What would happen if you were not there?"

"Nothing. The ceremony only works on sovereign Brakiri soil, and it only happens once every 200 years. I hope to be rotated home before the comet passes."

"Then why not buy part of the station? That would make it part of Brakiri soil would it not?" the Narn asked.

The priest looked at his companion as if he'd said the most profound thing in the universe. He downed his drink. "I must speak with my ambassador..."

The Narn finished his drink as well. "I suppose I should be getting back to researching this Valentine's Day phenomenon."

# # #

Garibaldi paced Sheridan's office. "I don't see why you just don't let Susan just space the guy. It would save us all a lot of time and trouble."

"Yeah, and cause us a whole lot more grief than it would solve," Sheridan replied.

"But it would be so much fun."

"Michael," Sheridan warned. "Be nice. It IS a holiday, after all."

"Yeah, Valentine's Day. It's not like it's a REAL holiday, after all. Not like Christmas."

"Oh, I don't know. It has its points."

"If you say so, John."

"Speaking of which, I need to pick up a couple of things. Just make sure Bester stays out of trouble. He'll be out of our hair tomorrow."

"Promises, promises."

# # #

Garibaldi wandered the corridors of Babylon 5 under the guise of patrolling the station. Everywhere he went he saw couples, candy, and flowers. It was really starting to get on his nerves. He turned a corner without thinking and nearly ran into Susan Ivanova, who wasn't paying attention. They both stopped and looked at each other.

"Busy day, Susan?"

"Nothing more than usual. You?"

"If all this love and happiness crap doesn't make me blow my own brains out, it'll be a good day."

"Spoken like a true romantic," Susan said sarcastically, moving on.

Garibaldi fell into step beside her. "What about you? You have big plans for the holiday?"

"Yeah, right."

"Me, too." Garibaldi's link breeped. "Garibaldi, go."

"Chief, it's Zack. I need some help outside the Zocolo."

"I'm on my way."

# # #

Zack Allen was barely holding his own when Garibaldi arrived. Zack gave his chief a look of undisguised relief. Garibaldi took one look at the situation and understood Zack's reaction.

"What happened here?" Garibaldi asked, having to shout over the chaotic din.

"See those two guys over there? They seem to have started it."

Garibaldi looked where Zack indicated and sighed. He recognized the two men. The Narn and the Brakiri Priest from the Zocolo stood at what seemed to be the focal point of the brouhaha. The Narn was tossing people away from the priest with wild abandon. The priest, for his part, was getting in some good shots with his gong staff. Garibaldi took in the rest of the scene. The brawl had apparently spread from the Zocolo through the rest of the commercial area.

"Let's stop this," Garibaldi sighed resolutely.

"Good luck."

"Come on, Zack."

Garibaldi and Zack waded into the fray and went straight for the Narn and Brakiri shouting cease and desist orders as they went. They were summarily ignored.

"Stop this!" Garibaldi shouted. "Stop now!" A great gob of wet white splatted against Garibaldi's cheek. He touched it and sniffed. "Spoo. I hate spoo. Okay! That's it! Zack, get those two out of here. I'll deal with them later. Get everyone down here to contain this. NOW!"

"Right, Chief!" Zack hit his link. "All security to the Zocolo NOW!" Then he turned to the Narn and Brakiri. "Okay, you two are coming with me."

# # #

The Narn and Brakiri sat in the holding cell for what seemed like an eternity. "What's going to happen to us?" the Brakiri priest asked.

"I have no idea."

"You think they're going to come for us soon?"

"I have no idea."

The door to the cell opened and a very spattered, impatient, and unhappy Garibaldi entered, followed by G'Kar, the Brakiri Amabassador, and Sheridan. The Narn and the Brakiri visibly wilted.

"Explanations, gentlemen," Sheridan demanded simply.

The two men looked at each other guiltily and hesitated.

G'Kar, the Narn Amabassador, came toward the other Narn and looked into his eyes. "Just tell the truth and quickly, and perhaps you will survive this day."

The Narn swallowed. "It was a simple experiment, G'Kar."

"What kind of experiment?" the Brakiri Ambassador demanded of his priest.

"A social one?"

"Spit it out," Garibaldi growled.

"Well, you see...there was this group celebrating the holiday..." the priest began. "They wanted a group wedding. I was just the first priest they found."

"And your role in this?" G'Kar demanded of the Narn.

"Witness and musical accompaniment," the Narn responded promptly.

"Then explain this!" Garibaldi demanded, gesturing at his food bespattered uniform.

The Narn and Brakiri exchanged looks. "That was...an error..."

"An error? AN ERROR!" Garibaldi cried. He would've lunged, but Sheridan stopped him with a gesture.

"Well, you see, it's like this..."

# # #

The group wedding seemed like a good idea at the time. The Narn and the Brakiri had gone into it with just a few drinks in them, they'd met back at Zocolo after their duties. The others had had more. Much, much more. However, in the spirit of the holiday and a small store of knowledge of Earth wedding customs, the group had hit upon an idea. And, since the wedding idea was founded in Earth custom, they wanted to observe those customs.

# # #

Sheridan looked at them. "Are you saying the food fight was because..."

"Someone was looking for rice, and they improvised," the Brakiri priest answered hesitantly. "And then it got out of hand."

"And the fight?" the Brakiri ambassador asked.

"Someone looked at someone's new wife wrong," the Narn answered. "And then..."

"Things got out of hand," the room chorused together.

Sheridan paced the room a moment, thinking. Then he stopped and looked at G'Kar and the Brakiri ambassador. "I think we can let this go as an 'unfortunate' incident. No need to blow it into an interstellar thing. These two apparently meant no harm."

"No, sir," they chorused.

"And they won't do it again," Sheridan continued.

"No, sir," they chorused.

"Then I'll leave them to their respective government representatives," Sheridan announced and swept out of the room.

"I guess that settles that," Garibaldi said, and also left the holding cell.

# # #

The next day, the Minbari telepath walked through the commercial area around the Zocolo. Like many of the pedestrians, he surveyed the damage and the two men working in the middle of it. The Minbari went over to then and started to assist.

"This is our penitence," the Brakiri told their friend.

"Three makes the work go faster. The burden shared is a lighter load."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," the Narn muttered. "Hand me that broom."

A few moments later, Garibaldi came through, just to check on the progress. He saw the Minbari helping out and the gathering crowd of gawkers. Once more he couldn't stem the flow of "Rabbi, priest, and..." jokes running through his head, though this time they were followed by a rousing chorus of "Lions, and Tigers, and Bears...Oh My." Though this time the words were automatically changed to "Minbari, and Brakiri, and Narn...Oh My."

The Minbari telepath looked up with a slight, cryptic smile. "Tell me, Mr. Garibaldi, what exactly IS a rabbi?"

Garibaldi smiled back and moved on.