"They strung him up by his arms so that he would die of thirst instead of suffocation."
G'Kar holds up his gloved hands and crosses his wrists, to show how it was done. The Narn has probably seen the technique for himself - it is the preferred Centauri method for dealing with troublemakers.
"That took three days," he continues, "but of course his milk dried up before then. He died listening to the screams of the pouchling he carried as it starved slowly."
The only emotion he can hear in G'Kar's voice is a measure of satisfaction at the power he currently holds over his enemy, and the sickness Londo himself feels is the product of anxiety rather than horror. They have both heard such things before.
"That is only one incident, out of dozens we have records of. It would seem that your grandfather liked to take pictures, for the instruction of others who opposed him. Do you wish to see some?"
"No." He sips at his drink, which sits badly in his stomach. What Londo wants is to get this over with before somebody else in the bar starts paying attention. Those around them seem occupied with their own business and pleasure, but if this gets out ...
"Then you will vote in favour of extraditing Sinclair to the Vorlon homeworld?"
When Londo was a small child, his father would tell him stories concerning the noble history of House Mollari, and his grandfather featured prominently in many of them. He used to have trouble connecting the bent old man who could barely shuffle from bed to chair without aid with the war hero.
He had no more ease imagining him playing a far different role when he was finally told the other stories. The stories that must be kept secret, because not everyone at home thinks that his grandfather's methods of controlling a Narn province were acceptable.
"When this is done, you will deliver the evidence to me," he says. "Then we will never speak of it again."
"Of course. You will find that I keep my bargains."
Londo would like nothing better than to wipe the smug smile off his face. He could say: we have stories of our own, about what certain Narn ambassadors did in the war against the Centauri - had not G'Kar been too clever to take pictures. He could say: we should have hung you all when we had the opportunity. He could say: one day, I will kill you.
The words have been on his tongue since he first saw his death given flesh and sent to represent the failure of his people, and if he doesn't tell somebody soon he will burst with them. But now is not the time.
"You will have your vote," is what he allows to come out of his mouth. It tastes bitter, and he takes another mouthful of alcohol to wash it away.
"Delighted to do business with you, Mollari. You shall have what I promised when you keep your part of the bargain. I'll see you later at the meeting."
The knowledge that all this will accomplish is to tie the vote does not make him feel any better. Londo's only small satisfaction is in knowing that G'Kar has played this card so early. Assuming the station isn't destroyed by Vorlons later this afternoon, the game will be a long one, and G'Kar might find that it doesn't always go his way.
It isn't much of a comfort.
When Londo has the evidence, he will not look at it. He will destroy it and do his best to forget that his family ever came so close to disgrace and ruin.
The past is very far away, and none of them can go back. Better to forget, and leap forward instead to the day twenty years from now when he will finally have his satisfaction.
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Fandom: Other (Babylon 5)
Title: War Stories
Author: Andraste [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | PG-13 | gen | 3k | 02/10/04
Characters: Londo Mollari, G'Kar
Summary: G'Kar wants to talk about Londo's vote.
Notes: Disclaimer: Babylon 5 doesn't belong to me. I make no money out of writing about it.
Warning: Contains some disturbing imagery.
Continuity: A missing scene from 'The Gathering'.
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