NO WALLS

By Travis Gillis

 

 

 

   Hey, there! Here’s a nice little scene that I dreamed up -- it’s set right after the episode ‘The Face of the Enemy’, where Sheridan was on the floor of his cell in chains...Enjoy! Oh, yeah...In place of the ever present (and useless) disclaimer, I’ve decided to sell that space for advertising. So I’m shameless. So I want a few more credits. So su- oops, better not say that -- someone might take me up on it ;-) Anyway, here’s this story’s ad:

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   Meanwhile, please send all comments, criticisms, sadistic guards and interragators, defecting Earthforce ships, and brainwashed ex-security chiefs to: voyager1@ktsnet.com

 

 

 

 

*****

   Pain.

   John Sheridan clawed his way back to consciousness and slowly opened his eyes. He looked around, confused, for several seconds before he remembered where he was: in a holding cell as a guest of President Clark. Groggily, he tried to get to his feet...and wished that he hadn’t. For one thing, the cold steel of the manacles binding his wrists and ankles made getting up nearly impossible. For another fact, it felt like most of the bones in his body had been broken by very well placed boots and other objects. Sheridan grimaced as he tried to take a deep breath. Ribs. Had to be at least two or three broken on his left side, and they hurt like hell. For the moment, at least, he wasn’t going anywhere. For the moment, anyway. He laid back on the cold, hard floor and examined his room away from home, seeing only the traditional four bare walls, a gray metal door, and a dim light overhead. ‘Wonder what the room rate is’, Sheridan thought absentmindedly, bringing a laugh that was quickly choked off by waves of pain.

   As he became more focused, Sheridan remembered what had happened -- last night?, he wondered -- at the bar...and, more importantly, who had betrayed him. He swore that if and when he got out of this mess, he was going to hunt Garibaldi down and kill him. Very, very slowly. Right now, though, there wasn’t much he could do about it. Apparently, his jailers weren’t too particularly interested in him -- after the first ‘get together’ they had left him pretty much alone. His fate wasn’t exactly in question, either -- unless there was a sudden miracle, he would be quickly put on trial and thrown into the nearest asylum as a guinea pig for the doctors to work on. If he was lucky, he might die quickly. He might...

   He forced the thoughts from his head and tried to think of pleasant things. Spacing Clark was one of them. Using him for target practice was an even better idea. Going back home as a free man to Earth was another. Above all of those, though, was the best one: Delenn. Somehow, just seeing her image had eased the pain some while the guards had been beating the hell out of him. Sheridan wondered whether she was still enroute to Babylon 5 or was there already. Probably there, he decided. Either way, she was going to have a worse time of it that he was. Mentally, at least. His mind left the arena of pain and drifted back to other places and happier times as he tried to forget his immediate future, if he had one. Strangely, the image that came to mind first was that of Delenn, in her quarters, wearing a sexy black dress. For all of the things that he knew the Minbari were capable of, being seductive was definitely *not* one of them. Despite the fact that she was worried about something -- he still didn’t know what -- that evening had been one of the best that he had had in years...and it was also amazing how a dedicated devotion to work for the next several days would tune out all the other small things in life, like an overheated sex drive.

   Other memories, good and bad, floated through his mind like a leaf in a slow moving current before they disappeared into the darkness. His childhood. Being commissioned as an Earthforce officer. The food riots on Mars. The destruction of the *Black Star*. Z’ha’dum. And, of course, the bloody civil war that he had led. When was it ever going to be enough, he wondered. All that he had ever wanted to be in life was a simple military man, working his way through the ranks while doing an efficient job for Earth. Instead, he became the co-leader of an Army of Light against the Shadows, where his every action affected the lives of billions. If that wasn’t enough, once the Vorlons and the Shadows were kicked out of the galaxy he had to fight against the very organization and people that he had once served with. With all of that, it was a wonder that all of his hair hadn’t turned gray or, for that matter, that he hadn’t broken down under the strain. He should have, though, if it hadn’t been for two wonderful people: Ivanova and Delenn. Ivanova was always trying to get him out of his office one way or another and, as she put it, "get a life, John." Meanwhile, talking with Delenn had helped take a lot of the stress and worry that had been bottled up inside of him for the last few months, especially after his parents had disappeared. Especially after that. It was one thing to say that he was being ‘controlled by aliens’; it was something else entirely to burn his parents’ farm and search for them simply because he was their son. That had been the hardest pill to swallow, and if it hadn’t been for Delenn’s listening and occasionally offering a shoulder to cry into, he didn’t know if he could have done what he had to do without having it constantly on his mind. If there was anyone or anything that he owed a lot to, it was her...although Sheridan had to admit, while silently laughing to himself, that he was glad Delenn hadn’t taken that ‘controlled by aliens’ bit seriously in more ways than one when they were alone together. Somehow, Sheridan just couldn’t picture the calm and collected Minbari wearing a black leather outfit and waving a whip in his direction....

   The faint *clang* of metal on metal as a door opened, then closed somewhere in the complex brought Sheridan’s mind back to full reality as he heard the same sound get louder and closer to his cell. He smiled grimly, knowing that someone was on their way to interrogate him. That is, if he was lucky and it wasn’t the same guards offering their version of room service. He started preparing mentally for whatever came into the room when he remembered something else. Something that he had read a long time ago about Earth’s Second World War. What the hell, Sheridan decided. What else have I got to lose?

   He closed his eyes and cleared his mind of all thoughts...save one...and concentrated on it as the footsteps grew louder, then stopped outside his cell door. After a moment’s silence, the door opened and several guards came in carrying a table, a seat, and another chair with an array of straps and manacles attached to it. They set down their cargo quickly and departed as another man emerged from the shadows around the door. Unlike the others, this one had a darker personality with the eyes to match as he glanced at Sheridan, then sat down behind the desk. He removed his eyeglasses and looked at the prisoner inquiringly.

   "Do you have any illnesses or allergies...," Sheridan’s interrogator began.

   Sheridan opened his eyes and smiled.

    ----------

   Nightfall usually came to Babylon 5 in one of two ways: either when the sun went ‘down’ behind Epsilon 3 or when the Zocalo’s bars finally closed up for the night. The only people that were usually awake at that time were the unlucky station personnel that drew the night shift, assorted freighter and dock crews, and various others that were awake for one reason or another. Some were awake due to insomnia. Others were awake due to their internal clocks being messed up by space travel. And some, like a certain Minbari Ambassador, were awake due to two things: fear and worry. Fear about an unknown future and worry about the man that she loved.

   Delenn sighed and laid back against her pillow, trying to think of any way that she could grab several hours sleep before morning came. Anything. Not even the thought of one of Londo Mollari’s speeches that seemed to drag on and on and on about less than interesting subjects could help her escape the cold fear that she had endured ever since she had ‘felt’ John being taken prisoner. Over and over in her mind came the nagging questions: Why? Why him? Why us? Sometimes, she wanted to curse the universe for throwing so many problems at them that any chance at happiness was lost. At other times, her mind seemed to accept it as a part of life before the questions started anew, taunting her with their unanswerable certainty. John had told her once that they would still be together years from now, but how much of that time would be spent apart? How much of that time would they be taking care of the universe instead of each other? How much... Delenn shook the thoughts out of her head and tried instead to concentrate on the next day’s schedule, remembering that she had a full day ahead of her tomorrow -- or, she corrected herself, today. First, there was the Drazi Ambassador, followed by G’kar... Her eyes closed for a long moment before she sensed something odd. Something...

   She opened her eyes and stared in shock at the figure kneeling beside her bed in the dim light, looking at her with a mixture of regret and love in his eyes. Without saying anything, he reached out to touch her hand and, for the briefest of moments, they were one. Then, just as quickly, he disappeared into nothingness, leaving her alone in the room. A tear ran unnoticed down Delenn’s cheek as she smiled, feeling something that she hadn’t felt in days: peace. No worries, no questions, just peace. She could feel his voice, his presence, in her mind as she replayed the simple message that he had also given her. Something just as wonderful.

   "I love you too, John," she whispered as she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

   [END]

 

*****

 

 

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