londo_mollari: (Default)
2010-07-15 06:25 am
Entry tags:

ooc entry

 Lj is purging inactive journals; I am making this entry to save the many Londo ficlets I have not archived anywhere else, and the roleplays which are still very dear to me. 
londo_mollari: (Playful by camelwithbrush)
2007-11-01 04:01 pm
Entry tags:

The game of life

If life is a game, who is winning?

The universe, of course. Which is insane. This should not be news to anyone, yes?

Now, I am a gambler of some experience, and so I am well aware of the truth in the old Centauri saying - which the humans stole from us later - that "the bank always wins". The bank, my friends, and not the people playing the game, oh no. No matter whether you play against a skilled opponent or a dolt, no matter which of the two of you is victorious, in the end, neither of you wins.

(This, by the way, does not mean certain races who went beyond the rim and thus can no longer threaten my home planet with their superior weaponry should be classified as "the bank", though they certainly thought so. In the end, they, too, were gamblers, for why else would our valiant Captain Sheridan have been able to tell them to "get the hell out of his (!) galaxy", hmmm? The universe might be mad, but it has a wonderful sense of humor about it.)

When I, in a stage of some inebriation, told some of these indeniable truths to Mr. Garibaldi, he asked me why, if this was so, we still play. Or why I do, as I cannot answer for anyone else.

"What do you take me for, a Minbari?" I asked back. "Sitting back and not participating at all is no fun!"

"But Londo, if you already know the bank always wins..."

"One can always hope to charm the banker," I replied, and he told me I was hopeless. But he did smile, which proves my point.
londo_mollari: (LondoTimov)
2007-09-29 07:55 pm
Entry tags:

Who was the wisest person you ever met?

As I was idly strolling through the customs area and may or may not have been looking forward to the delivery of my favourite brand of brivari from Centauri Prime, I was accosted by a young human lady who told me she absolutely had to ask me a question. Now, I am the last man to be discourteous to a lady in distress seeking out my company, yes? Alas, I misjudged the situation. This particular young lady had decided that her life's happiness depended on interviewing the senior diplomats on Babylon 5 for something she called her "college paper". After she promised me she would not ask me what I wanted, or anything regarding the Narn-Centauri war (either one), I agreed to answer at least the question she said she was asking everyone. What can I say? She was not aesthetically displeasing.

What she wanted to know was who the wisest person I ever met was.

"And this is what you asked or are going to ask everyone?" I returned. "Shall I tell you what everyone but the Ambassador for Minbar will answer, hm?"

She looked uncertain and nodded.

"They will all name Delenn, or have already done so," I said benignly.

"But how did you...?"

"My dear child, it is the simplest of guessworks. Anyone who does not believe Delenn to be the wisest person they ever met will name her anyway as naming her will not cause any diplomatic incidents, and, by contrast, might contribute to gaining the favour of the President. Delenn herself, of course, does not have that option, and so she will probably name... no, not her dead mentor, this would be undiplomatic and might open old wounds, and besides, it would make her look like someone valuing only her own species. No, she will be her wise self and name a human being. Probably her husband's father, which is the kind of charming gesture no one can possibly resent."

The young lady pouted a bit, most becomingly, and then asked me whether I would name Delenn as well.

"Mmmmm," I said. "I should."

"Do you not think she's the wisest?"

"I think she is witty, and wise, and a pearl among sentient beings of any sex. I might even think she is the wisest, but you would not possibly believe me after what I have just said, yes?"

"Now you're confusing me," she said. "Get real."

This was a human expression I was not familiar with - the exhortation to "get real". I believe it is confined to the adolescent variation of the species. The rest of them, as the rest of any other race, is undoubtedly aware that our collective reality is highly disputable anyway.

"Very well then," I said. "With all respect to Delenn, I shall nominate my own wife instead."

"Huh. Doesn't the Lady Timov live seperated from you?"

"A dazzling proof of her wisdom," I said, "but how do you know it is the Lady Timov I am referring to? I could have been thinking of any of my divorced wives as well. After all, one of them tried to kill me, which half the known universe will tell you is a strike for wisdom. And another, who has been my wife all too briefly, once spoke a sentence which I still believe encapsulates all the wisdom and compassion we can ask for when we met in a tavern. She kissed me on the head and said: 'Whatever it is, it cannot be that bad.' Though I must admit that not everyone shares my regard for this sentence; when I repeated it to Mr. Garibaldi, he threatened to break my arm, which makes its wisdom questionable. Still. How do you know I was not thinking of them?"

"I would," she said, "since they divorced you. Looks wiser and wiser to me. Say, do you ever shut up? Wait, don't go away, I didn't mean it. Come on. Which one did you mean? It's for my paper, and I neeeeeeeed it."

"The one who would never believe I believe her to be the wisest of creatures," I said. "For she truly is, and thus she would never believe a professional liar."

I left the young lady then, muttering "wait - if she knows you have to be lying, then you don't think she's the wisest, only you do think she's the wisest because she would believe you're lying, so you weren't lying - or is it the other way around?" One always does have to do one's best to educate the young, after all.
londo_mollari: (Bugwar by crazybee)
2007-09-18 03:48 pm
Entry tags:

Make a wish

Oh no. Not that again. I should have known Mr. Morden's "associates" were the powers behind this organization called "livejournal". This explains everything, yes? Bah. I shall not even dignify this insane question with a response again.

*locked from each and everyone*

In truth, my reply these days would be on a far less ambitious scale, though whether this makes it better, I do not know. It is certainly far more selfish. My dearest wish would be for a day at the beach on a very particular beach, on the island Celini, were my grandfather's third wife had a home I was allowed to visit. Timov and my friend Urza's children would be there, with Vir, who would be playing with the children; my dearest Adira would be there, alive and walking with me on that beach; and awaiting us, not bothered in the least with being on Centauri Prime but arguing about the climate because he can, would be G'Kar.

But Adira is dead. G'Kar can not be on Centauri Prime without remembering all the blood between us. Timov, Vir and the children, now this is possible, but the island of Celini is gone. I destroyed it myself, through a single button.

My wishes have always been about the impossible.
londo_mollari: (Londo)
2007-09-08 06:34 pm

What makes someone a hero? What makes someone a villain?

My dear friends, the answer to both is the same, and it is not a what, it is a who: the historian. I dare say that a great many scoundrels achieve immortality this way, and many a valiant deed is forgotten, simply because they knew, or did not know, how to cultivate posterity, or, more to the point, the media of the day. And of course one race's villain is another race's hero, yes? If the Xorn had won the war for our planet, we Centauri would either be not remembered at all or would have been painted in the blackest of colours, and our first Emperor would not be thought of as a hero, to be sure.

(No, this does not mean I regard the Xorn as heroes who have been wronged by our historians. Heroes or villains, by all accounts, they were abysmally dull and montonously inclined towards warfare, with no idea how to party. I shall refrain from making obvious contemporary comparisons.)

Now of course one might argue there are certain qualities that are, no matter how one regards the person in question, heroic or villainous. (One might, but this is just the type of naiveté that ensures you will never be taken seriously in politics at the best, or gets you killed at the worst.) One of the bravest deeds I ever saw was regarded by the man who accomplished it as something that made him less than what he was, which tells you something about just how annoying he is. Yes, I am referring to G'Kar. He would have preferred to die, a martyr to Narn freedom, rather than to give the late Emperor Cartagia the satisfaction to hear him scream, and being G'Kar, he could have accomplished this. It was one of the most difficult feats of my life to persuade him that a scream would serve his people better in the long term; screaming in pain was much harder to G'Kar than dying for the cause would have been, and it went against everything he had believed to be brave. Yet rarely have I seen him more courageous.

Then there is the heroism of saving another's life at risk of one's own. Young Lennier, without hesitation, once saved mine this way. I shall never forget this, and I was quite aware that most of our mutual aquaintances would have regarded the exchange as a poor bargain. Indeed, I told Lennier so myself when he was sleeping a medicated sleep in our abysmally decorated med lab. A further visit was delayed by some human terrorist or the other, whose actions left me trapped in a lift with G'Kar who at the most breathtakingly inconvenient moment took it into his head that we should die to musical accompagniment. By the time we were freed from the lift and brought to medlab ourselves, Lennier had awoken. I heard him talk to Delenn and some others, and he did express regret at his actions. A wise young man, Lennier; he was aware that by saving my life, he might have contributed to shortening the lives of others. He did not regard his earlier action as heroic, no.

As for villainy. Surely, you say, surely there are deeds unquestionably villainous, no matter who writes the story? Ah, but look at the Minbari, and the humans. If the Minbari had not surrendered at the very last minute of the Earth-Minbari war, they would have wiped out the entire human race, save for whichever humans were not defending Earth at that time but were sprinkled across the stars. We Centauri are often called ruthless warmongers, but with the exception of the Xorn in our dark ages, we never did this to any of our enemies. The Minbari, of course, did not start this war without provocation. I happen to know something of the background of that war, and let me assure you, the provocation in question was the result of a series of breathtakingly stupid decisions, but deliberate malice had not been involved. Who would you cast as villains then, in this war? The humans? The Minbari? But those two races are now allied, and some of the humans who fought side by side then, defending their people, are now fighting against each other, in their civil war. (While the Minbari had a civil war of their own.)

One of the human writers did use a phrase to the effect that no action as such is good or evil, but the intent makes it so. I, on the other hand, stand by my claim that even the intent does not matter. (Has Delenn, who served in the Grey Council during the Earth-Minbari war and now leads at Sheridan's side, more or less noble intentions now than she had then, hm?) Heros and villains are created by whoever looks at them, and tells their story.
londo_mollari: (LondoGkar)
2007-08-16 09:49 am

Where do you see yourself in twenty years?

Great Maker, didn't anyone tell you that it is rude to ask someone about their death dream, hm? Now, I have told the occasional person about it, yes. But it is not an image I wish to dwell on again and again, to the doubtful entertainment of the universe at large. Ask our valiant Captain Sheridan, who shares my problem. (Though I am fairly certain his twenty years will run out before mine do, as I always had a sense of his nearby presence in my dream. That part never made sense, though.) Of course, not being Centauri, he has not yet divined that the only way to deal with such a knowledge is to savour the present in the best way one can, in other words, throw parties, but then, we can't all have the benefit of the wisdom my people have perfected through the ages.

But if you must know, and haven't heard already: I see myself throttled, and in the process of throttling. The identity of my killer used to make sense to me, but things have changed, which is one reason why I do not care for this particular knowledge. There is one consolation, though: I know who will succeed me, and he will make sure there won't be any of those ghastly statues tradition demands after one's death errected; for mysterious reasons, people always manage the least talented artist imaginable for these things, and I do not wish to be remembered as a lamentable piece of art disgracing the Centauri landscape, yes?
londo_mollari: (HopefulLondo)
2007-07-26 09:31 am
Entry tags:

Write two letters...

...one to someone you hurt, and one to someone who hurt you.

From the Mollari archives; the first letter is dated from the early reign of Mollari II, the second, however, was written a year earlier, when Londo Mollari was still Ambassador on Babylon 5.


My dear Rhodopis,

in all the wonderful words our language provides, there is none quite as cutting as "regret", yes? I can only wish that your life in the decades since was a happy one. I would not intrude on it now, were it not for a more important reason than an old man looking back on that short time in his youth when he loved, married and divorced a lady he had met when she kissed him on his head and told him that whatever it was, it could not be that bad.

My dear, so many of our people died in the recent attack by the Alliance. I have made it my business to read the lists of survivors, and thus I came across your name. You lost your home and your family, and I would offer you shelter in the Royal Palace, were it not for the fact that I know all too well your pride would keep you from accepting it. I can hear you know, telling me that I made my choice all those years: and that Mollari II. was nobody you knew or wanted anything from. (It is strange how I see only now that you share more than one trait with Timov.)

However, there is a home I can offer you, and I hope you will accept it. Some years ago, I purchased a house on Cerulon. I intended to give it to a young lady named Adira Tyree; the documents of the property still bear her name. Like you, she was a dancer; like you, she had the misfortune of falling in love with me. I flatter myself that that I became a better man while loving her; at any rate, I was the Londo you might remember with less than anger. She died before I could present her with this house, and I had not the heart to give it away since. But I can think of no more suitable owner than you, Rhodopis, and if you will accept this present of Londo who was, for a very short while, your husband, I would be most grateful. The necessary documents are attached, as is a ticket of passage.

Yours in memory,

Londo Mollari




My dear Mariel,

after receiving the somewhat mystifying message from your human lawyer, I went through a paroxysm of laughter that lasted long enough for Vir to alarm Dr. Franklin as he thought I was having another heart attack. This, my darling little viper, might have been the very purpose of your message, for I am at a loss to explain it otherwise.

Your lawyer, if I understand him correctly, thinks the money I settled on you after our divorce is not enough, and not so subtly hints that if I do not add to the sum, you will have to earn your living by publishing your memoirs. Mariel, you adorable minx, why should I keep you from the laudable enterprise of adding a poisoned pen to your already impressive armory? Not I. I admire an artist, and you, my dear, were never less than skilled at everything your set your mind on.

If you do write about our life together, be sure to include details on just what poison you used when trying to kill me during the anniversary of my ascension. Not that I bear a grudge, you understand, but it might just be one I haven't come across yet, and it could be useful knowledge when I return to Centauri Prime. A politician's work is never done, alas.

Yours in amusement and eager anticipation of the literary event of the year,

Londo
londo_mollari: (LondoTimov)
2007-07-11 12:56 pm
Entry tags:

Religion

"What are you doing, Londo?"

"My duty. Valtoo!"

"Your what?"

"My religious duty, dear wife. I am trying to achieve unity with the gods."

"This is the most pathetic excuse for drunkeness you have ever offered."

"I know. This is why I was saving it until now."

"..."

"My docile darling, you could either join me in religious devotion or ask me why I have chosen this time to honor the gods, if you intend to further grace me with your presence."

"Londo, you are not just a fool but a painfully obvious fool. I do know the date."

"Of course you do. How could I ever doubt your admirable devotion to all things numerical? Well then, Timov, as it is the Feast of the First Emperor, let us rejoice. After all, we are Centauri. No other race has shown the wisdom to pray to the gods by celebrating, yes?"

"Disgraceful as the spectacle is, I've seen you rejoicing. You are not rejoicing now. You are feeling sorry for yourself, because the Feast of the First Emperor is the day a Centauri looks back on his achievements. Do get a hold of yourself. Your life is no one's fault but your own."

"I know. Valtoo!"

"...."

"Timov. Timov, I don't believe this. You just broke a precious bottle of brivari on my head. I could have died, woman! More importantly, the brivari is lost!"

"I was honoring the gods, Londo. There is more than one way to waste brivari and revel in wanton destruction. Now, where is that other bottle..."

"TIMOV!"

"..."

"..."

"Great Maker, my lady, what happened here?"

" My husband and I celebrated the Feast of the First Emperor. Which should be obvious to anyone with a sense of religious duty. Now, do clean up. If my husband awakes and manages to stumble on a shard, he'll return to feeling sorry for himself, and that really was not the purpose of my visit."
londo_mollari: (LondoGkar)
2007-07-03 11:56 am

Moment of Triumph

I always imagined it would involve one of our more spectacular celebrations; a party as only we Centauri can throw, after the Republic was restored to its old splendor, something I, personally, would be responsible for, yes?

In reality, it involved nothing of the sort.

There were, of course, celebrations during the war with the Narn and after our victory, and I had been very much responsible for both. But I could not have felt less triumphant if I tried, and not just because Vir was there, watching, and every time I looked at him I could hear his fervent pleas not to follow this path. There was no triumph there; I think what I felt was a mixture of determination and doubt.

After Cartagia's death and the end of the Shadow war, when the Vorlon ship that had darkened the sun withdrew, I did not feel triumphant, either. Most of all, I felt an incredible relief because if we had not managed to save Centauri Prime, our planet would have been doomed, because of me. Besides, there had been a price for Cartagia's death which I had not reckoned with, and Vir had been the one to pay it: the last of his innocence. No, there was no triumph in that moment.

If there was a moment of triumph, it came a few months later. After we had both returned to the station, G'Kar had told me I did not exist in his universe any more, which tells you something about G'Kar; "his" universe, indeed. Now, I must admit common sense pointed towards avoiding him. We had been allies on Centauri Prime, yes, but that had been because of a mutual enemy, and at any event, I had kept my promise and freed his planet. There was no sensible reason in the universe to seek someone out who had vowed eternal enmity with, admittedly, good cause, yes?

Well. Perhaps it was because I did not want things to return to the way they had been before everything had started, and not just between G'Kar and myself; between Centauri and Narn. Perhaps rarely a day passed when I did not remember that once upon a time, he had bought me a drink, and believed, ever so briefly, things could be different indeed, and if only it had happened a few hours earlier...

And perhaps it was simply because I do not like the word "no", and I do not like declarations about my non-existence.

The humans were still fighting among themselves, then, and I thought that if Centauri and Narn sided with the same party - to wit, our noble Captain Sheridan of the determined chin and the ever shorter hair - it would be the kind of gesture that would both stun the rest of the races, be of some practical use to the good Captain, and, well, impress a certain Narn. He, of course, remained determinedly unimpressed. After letting me recite the speech I had very carefully prepared, he rejected my offer in no uncertain terms. Later, I fond myself sitting at the Zocalo, as depressed as I had ever been in the old days, when my hands were free of blood (and full of unpaid bills). I did not talk to anyone, and despite the presence of a bottle and a glass, I did not drink. I just stared into the air, and presumably looked as vacant as your next useless middle-aged politician.

And then, I noticed someone approaching. Sitting next to me. Pouring himself a drink out of my bottle. And telling me: "But I won't sign on the same page, do you understand that?"

"Yes," I said, looking at him and realizing that for the first time in years when it came to my presence, there was actually the tiniest smile in his face.

That, dear readers, was my moment of triumph. I shall not see its like again.
londo_mollari: (Londo)
2007-06-23 02:57 pm
Entry tags:

Tell us a secret

Letter, written in the third year of the reign of Mollari II

My dear Delenn,

it has been years since last we spoke; there is not a lot that the Emperor of the Centauri could say to the Head of the Rangers, or, for that matter, to the future President of the Alliance these days, yes? (If I were still who I used to be, and thus entitled to tease you, my dear, I should make some remarks about having introduced democracy to Centauri Prime a long time ago if I had known it consisted of the highest offices in the family, as this is what we have been doing here since the first days of the Republic.) But this letter, my dear friend, does not come from the Emperor, but from a ghost, and is addressed to a woman who asked me once to participate in a ceremony that dealt with the entrusting of secrets. It concerns another ghost, of course; otherwise I might not be at liberty to write it.

On that memorable occasion when I saw you last, I had not been aware that young Lennier had just left your side; I could not help but notice you were distressed, but did not learn the reason until very recently. How did I learn it? Because, Delenn, a visitor arrived on Centauri Prime, unbidden, uninvited, and very much in danger, his fighting prowess notwithstanding, especially as it seemed he did not wish to fight at all. There were those in my goverment who deemed him a spy for the Alliance, which shows you that the stupidity of officials is as universal and dominant as ever, even on my ruined planet which is still recovering from its wounds. "If the Alliance wished to spy on us," I said, "it would undoubtedly have used its considerable funds to support various members of this cabinet whom I see still maintaining the luxury of old. It would not have send a Minbari who stands out among Centauri as glaringly as evidence of intelligence does in this assembly."

Lennier, when he was brought in my presence, did have a tale to tell. It seems he wishes for atonment, and confuses this with following the late Marcus Cole's example in attempting suicidal gestures.

"Lennier," I said, "aside from an economized truth you were once kind enough to tell on behalf of an aging Centauri diplomat, I cannot imagine anything you should have to atone for."

Being a Minbari and your student, he thought otherwise, and told me of his moment of weakness. Ah, Delenn, now I understand your sorrow on that fateful day. Undoubtedly, you must have worried for him ever since.

"It seems clear to me," I told Lennier, "that you wish to die, but why do you choose the Centauri as your executioners?"

He then spoke of the investigation and his testimony which led the Alliance to believe in the guilt of the Centauri before Vir and the estimable Ms. Alexander could bring the proof that exculpated us, and of the bombardment that followed. That, he said, was why we were his choice.

"Life is more difficult than death, Lennier," I said. "I know this better than anyone, yes? If you truly wish to atone for your part in the fate of this planet, then, my good friend, you shall do so, but not through death. No. We need healers here, and I remember how you and Delenn chose to remain with the Markab in the hours of their agony. Well, our agony is more prolonged, but requires attendance nonetheless. Will you give the Centauri what you gave the Markab?"

This sounded punishing enough for him to agree, it seems. He made me promise not to tell you. But I still owe you one shared secret, Delenn, and it is this, for I know far too well what it is not to know the fate of the ones we love. Do not fret for Lennier. He will not stay in the capital; the air of the Royal Palace is, shall we say, too refined. He will be with the poor, those who lost everything due to the bombardment, and no shadow shall touch him there, not even a fragment of a shadow. And eventually, he will return to you.

Yours in the secrecy of friendship past,

Londo Mollari
londo_mollari: (Bugwar by crazybee)
2007-06-11 12:34 pm
Entry tags:

You've just won an award! What would it be and why?

Excepts from the correspondance of Londo Mollari in the first year of the Shadow War, known to some beings as the third season of Babylon 5:


Dear Ambassador Mollari,

we're happy to tell you you've been nominated for the "Who's your favourite Ambassador?" award. Of course, it's going to be a hot competition, but we from the Babylon 5 Relaxation In Wartime comittee are crossing our fingers and/or other appendages on your behalf. Good luck!

Yours,

The Babylon 5 Relaxation In Wartime Comittee

P.S. Do remember to use our logo in your station wide campaign for victory?



Dear Comittee,

Ambassador Mollari sends his gratitude for the nomination but asked me to tell you that as a convinced monarchist, he does not believe in campaigns to win an election. Only in secret intrigue. Nonetheless, he sees it as the duty of the Great Centauri Republic to host the victory party, no matter whether or not he will win. This is in no way way a bribe to voters just because we Centauri have been known to throw the best parties.

Yours sincerely

Vir Cotto


Dear Delenn,

let me apologize for declining your invitation in participating in your soul cleansing ceremony a while back. That was very gracious of you, and I feel like an oaf for declining the opportunity, especially since, as you told me, I was the first name on your list, yes?

Speaking of lists. Undoubtedly you have heard of the competition currently on its way on this station. In the spirit of Centauri-Minbari cooperation, I must voice my concern. Remember how those vile reporters slandered you? Undoubtedly, your participation in such a competition would only result in new slurs from the human media, especially about favoritism, considering your impeding nuptials with the gallant leader of this our station. Allow me to protect you from such defamation by advising your gracious self to decline a nomination, hm?

Yours in friendship,

Londo Molllari


Dear Ambassador Kosh,

let me express my regrets about our lack of contact in recent months. We had such enthralling conversations back in the old days, whenever you would enter the Council Chamber; you were loquashiousness and sociability itself. However, it seems a remedy is at hand, as we are both nominated for the "who's your favourite Ambassador?" award. The public discussions, the mutual revelations of privacy, they shall be endless. Unless, of course, you choose not to accept the nomination, but why would you do that, eh?

Yours in anticipation,

Londo Mollari


Dear Citizen G'Kar,

we the undersigned are aware you are currently busy organizing the resistence on Narn from this station, but we must ask you to interrupt these endeavours in order to compete against that vile excrement, Londo Mollari, in the upcoming "Who's your favourite Ambassador?" awards. After all, there isn't much of a chance the Narns will ever be able to defeat the Centauri on Narn anyway, so it would only make sense to choose another arena, and once you give up on Narn, you'll have plenty of time for campaigning on your hands

Yours sincerely,

*list of names which, when investigated much later, turned out to be faked*


Dear Ambassador Mollari,

we're happy to inform you that due to Ambassador Delenn, Ambassador Kosh and Citizen G'Kar all stepping down from their nominations, you have been voted unanimously Most Favourite Ambassador of Babylon 5. Congratulations!

Yours,

The Babylon 5 Relaxation In Wartime Comittee
londo_mollari: (Londo)
2007-06-05 09:20 pm
Entry tags:

Do-over

TM 170 -- If you could completely start your life over from scratch, what would you do differently the second time around (if anything)? Why?

The other day, a human reporter demanded an interview. Now considering the experience we have had with human reporters so far, I declined, naturally. Then I was told that G'Kar had agreed to an interview, which was a blatant bit of manipulation a man of my experience naturally would not fall for. In any case, the reporter in question had the tenacity of the late Mr. Morden. She even went to the most radical of measures; she pursued me into the Dark Star, in disguise, or rather, in increasing lack of it. There I was, reminescing of happier times and my dearest Adira, and also of the considerable pleasure of punching the filth known as Drakhis, when a new dancer was announced. This turned out to be the reporter in question. She was, I had to admit, inventive. And not because she discarded more and more of her clothing on stage, no, because she actually could sing, and she asked her questions in the form of a song. The lyrics were mediocre, but her initiative could not fail to impress.

...right or wrong, would you do nothing, or would you to the same thing all along?


Now, obviously, I have made a great many choices that, had I known what was to follow, I would not have made, yes? Or so you would assume. But the truth, as a Centauri poet once said before the humans stole the saying from us and appropriated to one of their own writers, is rarely pure, and never simple. You see, if, for example, I had not turned my back on the first of my wives, that marriage most people do not know even existed, because it was so brief, I would have been a better man, but I would never have become the ambassador of the Great Centauri Republic on Babylon 5, and if I had not become the ambassador, I would never have encountered Vir, G'Kar, Mr. Garibaldi, young Lennier, Delenn and several other people whose company I cannot wish away from my life.

That better man I would have been would never have met Adira, or fallen in love with her.

Naturally, he would also not have made a deal with Mr. Morden, yes? And why not wish I had never told Mr. Morden what I wanted, hm? Well, for a very practical reason. I was not the only one who told Mr. Morden what I wanted that day, as I later found out. He had also approached G'Kar, and he had also gotten a reply from G'Kar. If I had rejected his approach, Mr. Morden wold, in all likelihood, made his alliance with G'Kar. And it would have been Centauri Prime that fell while mass drivers reigned from the sky.

Do not mistake me. I did not know that then; that was not why I made the choices I did in regards to the late Mr. Morden and his associates. But I know it now, and knowing it, I could not wish for an exchange, not if my homeworld and my people had to pay the price.

There are, however, three things I would undo, if I could.

When Adira contacted me to tell me she would return to me, she would come to Babylon 5, I would have told her to remain where she was. She would have refused, and perhaps it would have been necessary to lie to her, to be cruel and tell her I did not love her anymore. She would have been alive then; alive today, of no more interest to Mr. Morden than any other lovely young woman with a full life ahead of her, untainted by a connection to a man who had doomed himself.

When Refa returned to the station, I would have found another way to trick him. Somehow, I would have found it; it would not have involved Vir.

When Cartagia asked me what he should do about his displeasure at the way G'Kar looked at him, I would not have dodged the question. I would have found an answer to that, too, an answer that would have distracted Cartagia sufficiently so he would not have come up with the idea to take G'Kar's eye.

No, I did not say any of this to the admittedly delightful human reporter. What do you take me for, hm? Instead, I replied to her question in the spirit it was asked. I rose from my seat, raised my glass to her and sang to the tune she had used:

Whatever I'd do, I'd do it with style, with wine, and always with song!
londo_mollari: (LondoTimov)
2007-05-14 09:02 pm
Entry tags:

Mommy (Ficlet)

Londo didn't find out until the day of his ascension. Then, his father told him the diagnosis which had cost a couple of physicians their place.

"Londo," he said, "you are my oldest son, and you will be head of House Mollari after me. But you will have do adopt your own successor; it will have to be your brother who makes sure our line continues."

He could not make himself to say the words; it shamed him, still, to have a son who was sterile. So his second wife, Londo's mother, explained the problem. It wasn't yet very real to Londo. He was very young, and though his ascension would allow him to be regarded officially as a man now, he could not imagine being a father. If his father had not been so obviously upset and embarrassed, Londo would have shrugged it off altogether. He had other concerns; being inappropriately in love with a dancer being one of them.

The fact he would never have a son or daughter of his own did not become real to him until three years later, when his nephew Karn was born. Londo and his wife Timov interrupted their neverending marital strife to visit the newest addition to House Mollari.

Timov was the most exasparating, infuriating woman Londo had ever met. Her tongue was sharper than any blade, and when she claimed she did not suffer fools gladly, she meant that she was incapable of even the basic level of politeness.

She also had a disturbing habit of seeing more than she should about Londo, and even more disturbingly, he did enjoy their encounters, which he had no intention of ever telling her. And yet, when they visited his sister-in-law and her newborn baby, he wondered, for the first time, whether he knew Timov at all. She was the least sentimental of women, but there was a softness in her face when she looked at the baby which he had never seen in her before, and would not have believed her capable of. There was, in fact, longing.

It was then that two things became real to him. Adoption or not, he would never have a child in the way his brother had. This meant that Timov would never have a child, either.

In a society where noble men were expected to marry more than one woman, a concept like human monogamy did not exist. It would never have occured to Londo, who had not wanted to marry Timov, was more than aware she had not wanted to marry him, and had had affairs from the start. But now, looking at her, watching her watching a newborn child, he felt for the first time that he had betrayed her.

There would never be a child calling for her, as children had from the beginning of time. Her marriage might have made her the Lady Timov, consort of a future head of a noble House; there would be nieces and nephews like this newborn who would call her Aunt later, and regard her with respect and awe.

But no one ever would call her "mommy".

"I wronged her," Londo thought, and realized there was no way he would be able to make up for it.

It never occured to him to wonder why he wanted to, regardless.
londo_mollari: (Playful by camelwithbrush)
2007-04-21 01:54 pm
Entry tags:

Who is your best friend, and why?

When I first laid eyes on him, my head ached from the previous night, and I was simply appalled: he was so very young. Not in years; in fact, that made it worse. If he had been an adolescent, all that youthful innocence and lack of calculation would have been understandable, but though young, he was a man and had been for a while, and yet, there they were: the eyes of a child. I yelled at him for the intrusion, and he kept apologizing, despite the fact that his imminent arrival had been announced.

Great Maker, I thought. Whoever let this boy enter the diplomatic service deserves to be fed to starving reptiles.

(Years later, I had the dubious pleasure of meeting Vir's uncle. If anything, this confirmed my opinion on the matter, but alas, the reptiles shall go unfed.)

I had requested an aide, and though my position was considered as little more than a jest at my expense at the time, my request had been granted; after all, it looked like the fifth Babylon station would, after all, survive its first year in service. One I had quenched the impulse to tell Vir his place should be at some school, teaching young ladies how to compose poetry, not in a gigantic capsule of steel where nobody was what they appeared, I discovered that he was, in fact, not just competent but excellent at his job. He could organize my daily schedule, find out the way I preferred my hot jaala and prepare said hot jaala; in fact, he somehow found the time to go shopping and make sure the food in my quarters was always fresh, or as fresh as it was possible to be on a space station and with a limited budget. He still had the irritating tendeny to apologize far too often; I thought of my nephew, Karn, who was as old as Vir and stationed on one of our most remote outposts and imagined how a jaded superior would take advantage of him. This thought annoyed me, and I resolved to school Vir in the art of politics, which included the art of blaming others. Somehow, this did not happen, perhaps because we ended up debating operas and the value of human food instead. But at least he started to offer his own opinions, and at some point I realized enjoyed spending time with him; indeed I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Then I met Mr. Morden, and my life changed, with the delay of a few months between the first and second encounter. Not too long after the third meeting with Mr. Morden, it occured to me my relationship with my young aide had changed as well. It was no longer a composer or the place of love in the matter of marriage we disagreed upon; Vir disliked and distrusted the new path I had chosen, and said so from the start. And yet he kept my secrets, and I never even considered he might choose to reveal them, either in order to enhance his own position or in order to stop me from pursuing my goals; neither way would have been in his nature.

Somehow, he also seemed to believe that I would change into whatever he wished me to be.

It is a strange thing to discover a person has faith in you, and not because that person does not know you. I am well advanced in years and spirit, and yet I do not believe it ever happened to me before. At times it made me furious; at times it still does. At other times, and far more often, it became a light in an increasing darkness. Now four and a half years have passed since that first encounter, and I have long since faced the truth: Vir Cotto has become the best friend I, or indeed anyone, could hope to possess. (Though his fondness for non-Centauri delicacies which make him sick is something I really must try to rid him of.) I had a dream the other night; not one of the dreams that we Centauri do prefer not to talk about, as they show us our demise, but a dream with the taste of truth nonetheless. In my dream, that technomage who told me millions of voices would curse my name asked me, with that same boundless exercise in self rightousness he evidenced when last we talked: "Tell me, Mollari, why should the Centauri not pay for what they did? You and your people doomed yourselves."

"I know my fate," I said. "I have always known. But I am not my people. If you really wish to give a face to the Centauri, a single face, I shall tell you which one I choose whenever I think of my people." I pointed towards Vir, who was suddenly there, at my side, as he always is, whether I wish him to be or not. "He is Centauri, the best of the Centauri," I said. "And this is why the Centauri will be saved."
londo_mollari: (Londo)
2007-04-14 11:10 am

Would you ever kill a human being (or if you are not human - would you ever kill a being from your o

ooc: entry written shortly after the events of the s2 episode Knives, and of course locked

When my friend Urza Jaddo and I were boys, we were both taught how to fence; all sons of the great Houses are. But many regard it as an antiquated tradition, something they have no further use for in later life. Urza and I, on the other hand, entered a duelling society and practiced at every opportunity. We enjoyed the clash of swords, the elegant, dangerous dance of it; we enjoyed it more than any other sport we had ever come across, safe one.

Once, our teacher pulled me aside and asked me whether I know why I kept losing whenever Urza and I sparred.

"Because," I said, "he is the better fighter." To admit it was a little wounding to my young vanity, but not very; after all, there were other areas at which I excelled more than he did, and Urza was my dearest friend.

"No," said our teacher. "Because he understands that this is not a game, and you do not. As it happens, he is a better fighter, but even the best fighter can be defeated if his opponent wants to win badly enough. You, young Mollari, want too many things at once. And until you can focus on winning more than an anything else, you shall never defeat anyone, least of all your friend."

I am sitting in my quarters. The brivari on my table is the same bottle I shared with Urza not a day ago, but there is no taste of it in my mouth, even when I try to swallow it from the cup I am holding in my hands. All I can taste is his blood. All I can see is his blood, on my hands, my hands that were cleaned hours ago.

Urza, who was a soldier, killed a great many people in his time. I, who am a politician, bear the responsibility for a great more deaths. Some of those dead are Centauri; we are at war, after all, and despite the help from Mr. Morden's allies, this is not a tale for children in which only the enemy ever suffers losses. But until now, I never killed one of my people with my own hands. It was not that I thought myself incapable of it. Fencing is not all a son of a noble House is schooled in. We have a long and enduring tradition of poison used in politics, you see, and though we also have an assassins' guild for the applications, we do learn at least the names and symptoms of the most effective poisons, the antidotes, if there are any, and the way how to use them. And there is a reason why we clasp each other's wrists in greeting, we Centauri; it is an old method to check for hidden daggers.

Urza always thought that learning about poisons and hidden weapons was superfluous. A friend was a friend, and an enemy was an enemy, and any enemy of his would not come close enough to use either poison or dagger.

He came here for help. For an alliance, he said; but when I gave him help, when I used my connection with Refa to restore Urza's old status in the Centaurum and take the smear of treason from his name, he challenged me to a duel and made me into the instrument of his death instead, and now I wonder whether that had not been his intention from the beginning. How could he not have known that I am of the party that furthers the war? He must have known. The blade he presented me with, his gift brought from Centauri Prime, that blade was forged a long time ago.

Our teacher was wrong. In the end, I did not win against Urza because I wanted to. I won because he wanted to die. Because he could think of no other way to save his family, who is now my family, my responsibility, and as a part of House Mollari free of any slur that Refa might have started. That was always Urza's way; he was, as I said, a soldier, and his own life counted little if it was spent in the service of the greater good. But I should have thought of another way. I should have -

I had a choice, at the last moment. When I recognized the opening he gave me. I could have refused to take it. I could have stopped the duel. I could have refused the challenge from the start. It would have shamed me in the eyes of our fellow Centauri, true, but I had been thought of as a fool and a joke before, and would have been able to rise above it a second time. And Urza would still be alive.

No. No, he would not. He was a Centauri, you see; Centauri to the core. He believed that our current path, that path that I more than anyone else found for our people, is wrong; that it brings us nothing but guilt and shame. And thus, he sacrificed his life. It is what we were taught, as boys: loyalty to your house, to your Emperor, but above all to your people. I could see it in his eyes when I pushed the blade in his chest; when I held him in my arms, and asked him why. He was never more a Centauri than he was then.

He did not ask me why. He never doubted I would, indeed, finish the duel, instead of breaking it off. Urza knew me better than anyone, and he knew this: I, too, am Centauri. If you take your people to war, if you decide that the path to the stars has to be paid with blood, then you must do so without sparing yourself. To demand of others that they should kill, but be unwilling to do so yourself; to demand of others that their friends and families should be in danger, or should die, and yet believe that yours should be spared; that would be the action of a dishonorable coward.

And thus I struck, and the blood of my friend spilled on my hands, and I do not believe they will ever be clean again.

It changes nothing. My path is set. If I turn back now, then Urza would have died in vain. I must see this to the end.
londo_mollari: (LondoGkar)
2007-04-09 02:43 pm
Entry tags:

Write a fan letter

The following anymous letter, written in English and typed as if to disguise the handwriting, was delivered to Citizen G'Kar's quarters


Dear Citizen G'Kar,

I just finished your book, and wanted to tell you how much it means to me without having to fight my way through the crowd of your admirers; besides, I am a shy, restrained person and do not dare to meet you in person since your mere presence would undoubtedly induce immediate silence, which would be counterproductive, yes wouldn't it?

It definitely is a masterpiece, full of raw honesty and a lot of lecturing statements which make me question a lot of my life and assumptions. Moreover, your turn of phrase never fails to create an image; you, Citizen, are a word artisan, as calling you a word smith would definitely limit the compliment to one field, and whatever you are, limited is not an adjective I would ever suggest for you.

Of course, being an attentive reader who, as you instruct, takes nothing for granted, there are a few things that strike me as more inexplicable as others. You place a great deal of emphasis on the importance of dialogue for enlightenment, and yet your voice, compelling as it is, is decidedly monologic in nature, and occasionally repetitive. Dare I suggest that the sequel you will undoubtedly be compelled to write should have... an editor? Or even a fellow author, one who would add his own comments on your wise observations, thus creating the impression of a conversation even more stimulating to the reader than your own thoughts already are. Perhaps you can think of such a person?

In any case, Citizen, I want to thank you once again for your brilliant oeuvre, and remain

yours to my surprise in most things


This letter was sent to the quarters of Ambassor Mollari with the following note attached

Mollari,

you are so transparant. I would rather get flogged again than to sully my next book with your incessant prattle.

Dinner?

G'Kar
londo_mollari: (Londo)
2007-03-26 04:33 pm

What is the biggest mistake you ever made in a relationship?

Letter, written and destroyed in the first year of the reign of Mollari II



My dear Vir,

this is another letter that shall never reach you. I will make sure of this, and that is why I will be able to write it, and finish it.

I do not regret sending you away; it is not safe for you to be on Centauri Prime, not for a very long time, Vir. But it has occured to me that even when we do meet again, I will not be able to talk to you as we used to. Given that we spent the better part of five years in each other's company, you would think that all subjects that could possibly be raised were quite exhausted, yes? But this is not true, and it is not the music of Risepo, a most recent discovery of mine, that I do regret being unable to discuss with you. (I should send you some crystal recordings, though; I think they will let me do that.)

No, the subject I wish to speak about now, and which has remained silent between us ever since the event itself, is quite a different one. There are a great many things I regret, Vir, decision which I wish I had not made, and yet most of these, even now, seem to me to have been necessary ones. There are also things I wish had not happened to you, and yet I cannot wish them undone because they were needed for the good of the Republic. The death of Cartagia is such a thing. However... there is one deed of mine which I do wish undone, no matter the consequences. I should not have involved you in the removal of Refa, not in the way I did, and not in any other way. This has nothing to do with my later discovery that Refa did not, in fact, cause the death of Adira. Even if Mr. Morden had not deceived me into believing this, I would have had to deal with Refa at some point; our alliance had become rivalry many a month before Adira died. No, it is not Refa's death I regret, but those hours you spent believing you had to betray G'Kar or allow your family to suffer, and the hours afterwards when Refa's telepath interrogated you.

We made our peace afterwards, and never spoke of it again. Perhaps because too many other things happened in too short a time. But now I have more than enough time at my hand, and I ask myself: why did I never tell you that my revenge on Refa simply was not worth those hours of your pain? I should have done so. I told you a great many other things, after all, and some of these you never wished to hear. It seems to me that you might have wished to hear this.

Well, there it is, Vir. It is the mistake I should never have made. As you have taken it into your head to feel responsible for the entire galaxy, you would undoubtedly say that other decisions of mine had far graver consequences, and that is true, but I maintain this one was entirely personal, and most importantly, it was a breach of faith. In all other instances before and after, we kept faith with each other, did we not? We did not betray each other's trust. Save here. And for that, I am more sorry than I can ever tell you.

I think I shall send that recording to you, yes. Perhaps not just the recording; the performers would benefit from a tour to Babylon 5, and of course those barbarians who think Reebo and Zooty are entertainment would infinitely benefit from a presentation of the beauty that is Centauri music. I shall not mind if they stay on the station, Vir. For all its metallic dullness it is an... agreeable place, is it not?

I am getting old, Vir, so forgive me for an old man's foolishness. We Centauri believe that music speaks to the hearts in many tongues, and thus I shall imagine that you will listen to their performance of Risepo's last symphony, and will hear what I have never told you, and now never will.

Londo
londo_mollari: (Londo)
2007-03-21 04:55 pm
Entry tags:

Time in three acts (Ficlet)

It was a realisation that hit him in a bar on one of the Centauri colonies: his youth was gone, so was what was usually called a man's prime, and though he wasn't old yet, he soon would be. He had not become the one to return power to House Mollari, as his father had hoped he would, he had not become the hero he thought he'd be when dreaming with his friend Urza, and he had not become a happy writer of poetry and history living with the woman he loved, either, which had been, all too briefly, a vision of himself he had maintained for the very short time his first marriage had lasted.

Going by the age his death dream showed him, most his time was already spent. Wasted.

Londo ordered another bottle, and started an argument with the next likely candidate he could find.

***

During his first year on Babylon 5, he spent most of his time in the casino, the Dark Star or in the Zocalo. Perhaps because of all the various species around, it didn't feel as routine as it had on Centauri Prime; for the most part, he actually enjoyed himself, as he had in his younger days, and teaching young Lennier to gamble or listening to Mr. Garibaldi's stories about Mars was certainly more constructive than his so called diplomatic duties in front of the council, where he had to deliver concession after humiliating concession to the Narn.

Later, looking back, he decided he was happy then, but of course he was not aware of it at the time.

***

It was odd to realize he had not done this since his early 20s. Waiting for someone to come, knowing in his hearts he would wait in vain.

"Ambassador..." the barkeep began, making another attempt. Last year, he would have told Londo in no uncertain terms that Londo should leave now, that the bar would be closing soon. He would have brought up things like outstanding bills and station security. Station security. There was a joke. Not now, though. No, now the barkeep didn't dare more than the hint of a suggestion. There was respect and fear in his eyes. Which was, of course, what Londo had wanted. Wasn't it?

"I am not leaving," Londo said. "I am waiting for my good friend, Mr. Garibaldi."

The barkeep said nothing.

"He will come," Londo said, daring the barkeep to argue, and point out the glaringly obvious. Londo had been waiting for hours now, and even the petitioners who hoped to advance their suit by showing patience in his company had left to practice their sycophant pleas another day.

There was nothing stopping him from leaving, of course. He could return to his comfortable quarters, where there were sure to be some new messages from Centauri Prime if he needed something to fill the hours due to the inability to sleep. He was no longer a joke now, after all; no, Londo Mollari was one of the rising starts in the Centaurum. Never enough time to do all the work he had to do now, finally.

He remained where he was.
londo_mollari: (Playful by camelwithbrush)
2007-03-05 06:18 pm
Entry tags:

Party!

We Centauri are famous for many things - and a great many attributes, some of which are more important to the grand scheme of things than others - but one thing which has never changed throughout the greatest time of the mighty Centauri Republic to our more recent stint as a tourist attraction and then the era which I feel too personally connected to to name was, is, and shall ever be our reputation for throwing the greatest parties in the galaxy. There has never been such a thing as a dull Centauri party. Granted, some of our parties might not be survived by all the participants, but no one who has ever been guest to a Centauri party has ever complained of dullness.

With this in mind, dear friends, I present something which I have no doubt will be useful to a great many of you, yes?

LONDO MOLLARI'S GUIDE TO ORGANIZING THE PERFECT PARTY

Guidelines to be found here )
londo_mollari: (Londo)
2007-02-27 12:05 pm
Entry tags:

Do you believe in ghosts?

ooc: written before "Day of the Dead" takes place, as this obviously will settle the question for Londo


It might have been Commander Ivanova or another of the intrepid band of officers defending this station, once said to me: "You must have a lot of ghosts following you, Ambassador."

Now, I am reasonably familiar with Earth folklore, but I do believe she was not referring to entitities who specialize in dressing themselves in white sheets or black cloaks. (Or do the black cloaks belong to werewolves? I may be confusing human legends here.) Of course I knew hat she meant even while I pretended to take her at her word, demanding that if she knew of anyone stalking me, no matter of which race, she should provide me with better security.

Personally, I always thought that once the universe had its mad and occasionally merry way with us, we are done with it and either dissolve into various stages of rotting matter, or, if the Minbari are right, enjoy the dubious pleasures of childhood and adolescence again through a rebirth. In either case, I do not think a stage as something a technomage might conjure up is on the schedule, yes?

Besides, I dare say any function a ghost might have is already provided by the living. Even, or especially, when the people in question were assumed to be dead. I shall never forget my first encounter with Mr. Morden in the Royal Palace, after certain events on Z'ha'dum. He was almost in pieces, and I am not using a metaphor; sadly, instead of of falling apart entirely, he was in the process of being put together again. During our entire conversation he plucked of bits of his skin, and when he left, they were still on the floor, proving that he was emphatically not a ghost. I can assure you no supernatural entity would have as been as devastating a sight, and sound, for what he told me was all too true: Cartagia was my responsibility. I looked at the man I had known for more than two years at that point, and yet I think that during all our previous encounters, I had not seen him as clearly, or myself.

There was another time I met someone in the Royal Palace who was assumed to have died. I was not alone then; G'Kar was with me. Now understand that his aide, Na'Toth, had been someone I had neither had great dislike or sympathy for while knowing her on Babylon 5. She was a Narn, and thus we were enemies, but she was not G'Kar, and there was nothing personal in the animosity I had felt. Still, I knew her to be a strong and clever woman, and even a resourceful one, considering that she once managed to break into my quarters on G'Kar's orders. In fact, I would go as far as to say Na'Toth had a somewhat deserved reputation as an intimidating harridan.

There was almost nothing left of the woman I had known when we encountered her in that cell. She shrank away from the light. She did not growl or yell; she whispered. There were even tears in her eyes when she talked to G'Kar. Watching them, I felt - well. Perhaps the best way to express what I felt is to say this: when I think of the Narn now, and of our second occupation on Narn, that occupation which would not have started without me, I think of Na'Toth. It is her face I see. Her living face. It would not been as eternal to me if we had found her corpse.

Somewhat later, she told me she still wanted to kill me. I told her, to use a human expression, to "get in line". In truth, I was immensely relieved, for this proved that the Na'Toth of old was still there, somewhere. I belive this is one of the quintessential elements of a haunting, yes? For the dead to return?

But they do not. For that, you need the living. And when they do, it is more devastating than anything.