"I know it's around here somewhere."
President John Sheridan stalked the halls of Babylon 5, Ambassador Delenn half a step behind him. They'd had one half shift off after the wedding, but ever since, every being in the galaxy, it seemed, had been relentless in seeking audiences with them. They'd barely had time to eat, much less...
"John, really, it is not that urgent ... we can wait..."
"We cannot. I cannot."
He whirled and pressed his bride to the corridor wall. She squeaked, in the moment before his lips pressed hers. She couldn't remember ever squeaking before marrying her dearest enemy.
Then he broke away and pressed on.
"I cannot wait. If they won't leave us alone, I swear we'll give 'em a show on the bri ... ah. Here we go."
He pressed his badge against a somewhat grubby door. It opened, and he pulled her into the dim space, lined with mesh bags hanging from the walls. There was a constant susurrus as the bags shifted ... No, there was a smell, that's what there was, above all else a smell.
She covered her nose.
"What in the names of the Ten Suns... ?"
"Pissmops. Nobody ever comes into the pissmop bins."
He inhaled deeply.
"I kinda like it, though, reminds me of well kept horses."
"Yes, magnificent beasts. We ride them for sport. They're kept in stalls, little cubicles, with straw, dried plant stalks on the floor."
She took her hand away from her nose, took a shallow breath. Then another. It was ... not so bad. She relaxed, a bit.
Then squeaked again, as Sheridan pushed her against the bags, started to kiss. The bags rustled and moved, settling beneath her. Like the smell, it was not an entirely unpleasant sensation.
"What..." She caught her breath. "These are ... horses?"
"Nah, Bioengineered pomeranians, actually, covered in absorbent fur, brains about the size of an ant's. Big station like this, some sectors, some people don't always bother looking for a head. These things just kind of keep to the shadows, seeking every molecule of uric acid, living off the waste--relax, these are fresh. Clean. And we humans love to mate in the horse barns..."
Even while he was talking, his hands roamed over her body. She started to respond. He was right, the smell was ... atavistic. It made her want to...
The door slid open, light spilling in from the corridor.
"God damnit! Is there no place in this whole blasted tin can where a man can go to frig his wife!"
The intruder cowered away.
"S ... sorry sir, ma'am ... Oh! Mr. President! Ambassador Delenn! Sir! Ma'am!"
He drew himself up into a parody of attention, and gave a strange salute, hand up, palm out, fingers split between middle and ring fingers.
"Live long and prosper, Mr. President! Sir! Ma'am!"
Delenn felt there was something not quite right with the boy. It was a boy, she decided, very young for crew.
And not wearing a proper station uniform, either, but some form fitting fabric, light blue, with a peculiar, two tailed badge on his breast. Perhaps he was sick? His skin had an odd green pallor, and his ears were pointed. In fact, the point of one ear was almost falling off, although she could see no necrosis. Ah! She realized, belatedly, it was some kind of costume. She could see that the facepaint had smeared where he had scratched at one of several minor skin lesions on his cheek.
She was astonished to hear John respond, "Live long and prosper!" He too was at attention, returning the same salute, but with military crispness. He nudged her with his elbow.
Ambassadorial training coming back to her, she raised her hand, struggled to spread her fingers correctly. "Live, uh, long and..." she looked to John.
"'Prosper, '" he whispered.
"Ah. Live long and prosper?"
"Yes, Ma'am! Sir! Thank you sir! Ma'am!"
"Well, carry on, Mr. Spock. Seek out those life forms!"
"Sir! Yes Sir!"
Delenn knew enough about human expression to recognize the one called "beaming". It was disconcerting, with a hint of derangement. But John seemed unconcerned.
"We'll just be on our way, then." He grabbed her wrist, pulled her past the awestruck youth, and down the corridor. When they turned a corner, he leaned against a wall and sagged with relief.
"I had no idea we had any Trekkies on board. And a Spock! Oh, man, they're the worst! Get 'em started, WILL not shut up! Absolutely obsessed with suppressing perfectly natural emotions."
"It's a ... a kind of religious cult, from an old ... I think I still have it in my library ... It's an affliction of the young. I grew out of it when I was about ten. Only attained the rank of Sulu. At least I survived being a Red. Our young friend back there may only be a mop-herd in real life, but in his head, he's one step away from being the local Kirk."
The young, indeed, thought Delenn, only she was thinking of young races. She would never admit it, even to John, but such cults had plagued her own people. Long ago. Mostly, long ago.
She looked around her. She had no idea where they were.
"John, we really should be getting back to..."
"No. Absolutely not. Humanity can't do without poor little old us for a few measly hours, like we were promised, it deserves whatever the Shadows dish out."
He kissed her shocked mouth.
"I know. I know. Ah! I do know! Come!"
And he was off again. She really didn't know what to do with him when he was like this, just assuming she would...
Would trail after him, just as she was doing. Why did she do that?
Four corridors over, long elevator ride, then a moving walkway. They were getting into the engineering spaces, she saw, towards the end of the cylinder.