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What if…

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What if…

Weary after a day of chasing information and informants alike, Marcus dropped down onto his lone recliner. He closed his eyes for a moment to gather his breath and to rest before his next meeting with Sheridan and Delenn. But only a few seconds later, still feeling restless, he rose again and made his way over to the computer console and manually entered his request.

Already feeling slightly better just at the sight, Marcus smiled at the stern but familiar face appearing on the screen.

"Marcus," the Warrior greeted him, bowing his head in formal Minbari greeting.

"Hey, Neroon," Marcus happily replied.

"Compared to last time, it seems you are well again. I'm glad that my foolishness hadn't left you incapacitated for longer," Neroon apologized.

"Always bouncing back, that's me!" Marcus commented with a dry chuckle.

"It makes me happy to see you back to your animated self," Neroon was leaning slightly forward, his smile lopsided and the dark eyes twinkling, as if he was conveying a secret.

"Annoying self, you mean." Marcus had to restrain himself so as to not to react to the sight before him.

Disregarding his last words, Neroon continued, "And, judging by Durhan's words, you are quite an interesting and special personality."

"You just had to talk to him!" Marcus groaned.

"Of course, I had to contact him after you claimed to have been his student. Not many have had this privilege, even less Humans. You should consider yourself honoured,"

"I do," Marcus agreed gravely; by now he truly understood just how great a privilege he had been accorded when Durhan had clobbered him over the head regularly.

"For example, Durhan seemed especially fond of a prank concerning you, Sech Teronn, lunch and a bottle of laxative. I've seldom seen him laugh that hard. Maybe the one time I fell in the lake? Well, I don't want to bore you with retellings of stories you probably know by heart…"

"Coward!" Marcus laughingly cut him off.

"… though one day I certainly want to hear your side to them. I'm finally commanding the Ingata again, though I fear not for long. Shakiri is still demanding my entire attention. Fortunately, I have a truly reliable second in command and as far as I have been able to discern, she's been running the ship to my complete satisfaction. But then, she has already been on the Ingata under Branmer's command. She would never do something that would show Branmer's ship in a bad light. Ah, Branmer. He was a good friend and an accomplished warrior."

"A worthy opponent." Unfortunately, that was all he could offer to honour Neroon's friend.

"Did you hear about the 'incident' I caused on B5 after Branmer's death? Probably not, it was before your time," Neroon said with a self-depreciating chuckle.

"Stephen told me. The vanished body, the pak'ma'ra…" Marcus trailed off with a grin, remembering Stephen's and Garibaldi's joint ‘performance' of said events.

"How biased I have been! But I've now been taught differently, first by Sinclair, and then later by you. And both times smarted quite a bit. Both in body and pride! You Human's sure know how and where to hit! Ah, excuse me for a moment…" Neroon's face vanished from the screen, leaving Marcus to contemplate the glimpse of interior decoration that the camera allowed.

The Warrior quickly returned. "Here I am again. I am forced by my second to at least eat in my quarters if I'm too busy to go to the officer's mess. Hmm, it smells delicious! I have to admit that ever since Murhenn — my second — decided to requisition a new cook it's been almost worth showing up to the mess every day. But since I usually receive special service that brings the food to my door no matter what…" Neroon shrugged nonchalantly before going on, "And the new chef even has a much more agreeable character than the other one. His presence alone has done wonders for the ship's morale!"

"I still hate flarn," Marcus muttered under his breath.

"I just love his food! This new cook really manages to give flarn an entire new dimension I hadn't even considered possible. And my grandmother is already considered progressive in the kitchen! But this is something else…. Sorry, are you even still listening to my ramblings on flarn?" Neroon asked a bit sheepishly.

"Of course," Marcus said as his lips twitched half-heartedly into a sad looking smile.

"Maybe we'll meet again, I would truly appreciate to see you in person. Maybe when you are on Minbar? It's a more likely meeting place with everything that's going on at the moment. Let me know what you think," the Minbari asked in between bites.

"I'd love to. Maybe I'd like drinking tea in one of the street shops or taking a stroll through the temple grove with you. But all that doesn't matter any longer since you are gone… Goodbye, Neroon." Marcus lightly touched the screen only to let his hand drop away at the cold contact.

"Good night, Marcus," Neroon said before the screen went dark.

"End of recorded message. Do you want another replay of the file?"