Ambassador G’Kar is desperate to get off Babylon 5, and in his rush to leave, ends up kidnapping Garibaldi. Now Sheridan and a strange Narn must begin a frantic search to find the two before tragedy strikes.
[singlepic=68,200,,,left] Laser-Mirror-Starweb: Duet for Human and Narn in C Sharp
Issue 9 (October 1995)
Writer: David Gerrold Penciller: Rebecca Guay Inker: Rick Bryant
Ivanova clears a Narn ship, the D’Vordo, for docking. An urgent call from G’Kar comes in; he demands immediate clearance to depart the station from bay four. When she refuses, he sets his ship to launch anyway; Ivanova warns the D’Vordo to abort its approach. Garibaldi rushes to bay four to try to stop G’Kar, but when he arrives, G’Kar stuns him.
G’Kar takes Garibaldi with him, but Garibaldi wakes up and fires a starweb, a sort of net made of energy, at G’Kar, entangling him.
G’Kar’s ship nearly collides with the D’Vordo as it rockets full speed away from the station.
Ivanova tells Sheridan that Garibaldi is nowhere to be found; she believes G’Kar has taken him off the station. Sheridan heads for a shuttle to pursue G’Kar.
Garibaldi and G’Kar float in a cylindrical area. G’Kar is still caught in the starweb, and Garibaldi sings annoying songs to him, threatening to continue until G’Kar reveals what’s going on.
On his way to the shuttle, Sheridan is intercepted by Greegil, a Narn who claims to be a relative of G’Kar’s, newly arrived on the D’Vordo. He says he can help Sheridan catch G’Kar. Sheridan reluctantly brings him along. As they fly in pursuit, Sheridan tries to find out exactly how Greegil is related to G’Kar. Greegil won’t offer any information unless Sheridan offers something in exchange.
Garibaldi continues to sing. Eventually, G’Kar falls asleep. Garibaldi wakes him up and asks where the food is; G’Kar answers that he doesn’t need to eat, as Narns can hibernate six days at a time. “I’ll be happy to watch you starve to death,” G’Kar says. “At least it’ll be quieter.” When Garibaldi points out that G’Kar will die, too, trapped in the starweb, G’Kar answers, “There are worse things than death. Dishonor is one.”
Garibaldi continues to search for food, but he’s never seen a ship like the one he’s in: no food, no controls, just solid walls encircling them. He begins to sing “It’s a Small World,” which causes G’Kar to surrender.
Sheridan and Greegil haggle over the value of information. Finally, Greegil tells Sheridan how he’s related to G’Kar, but the Narn familial ties he describes are meaningless to Sheridan.
G’Kar shows Garibaldi where his food, a Narn delicacy called phroomis, is stashed. He notes that Garibaldi does seem to have some negotiating skills. On Narn, he says, negotiation is an art. Garibaldi asks G’Kar about the ship, but G’Kar says it’s better he doesn’t know. Garibaldi convinces him to play a game of “laser-mirror-starweb,” loser tells all.
Sheridan and Greegil catch up with G’Kar’s ship, which doesn’t respond to Sheridan’s signals. Greegil tells Sheridan that G’Kar is possessed by a Lokvar, a seizure of the mind, that may cause G’Kar to be violent. Greegil predicts that Sheridan will have to shoot G’Kar.
Garibaldi wins two games of laser-mirror-starweb, but G’Kar still refuses to talk about the ship.
Sheridan grapples G’Kar’s ship while Greegil tries to get him to put up the shuttle’s shields in case G’Kar fires at them.
G’Kar and Garibaldi hear a loud clanking sound from one end of their chamber.
Sheridan and Greegil approach the airlock through a docking tube they’ve extended from Sheridan’s shuttle. They open the door.
The end of the cylinder swings open as G’Kar and Garibaldi watch apprehensively.
Sheridan and Greegil enter G’Kar’s ship… and find it empty. Greegil concludes that G’Kar never left the station.
A cleaning robot enters the cylinder. G’Kar set his ship on autopilot; they are actually in Babylon 5’s core. G’Kar shouts that it’s Garibaldi’s fault — with just G’Kar’s mass in the axis tube, the cleaning robot wouldn’t have come ahead of schedule. The two of them flee through the other end of the cylinder, but the axis tube runs the length of the station, five miles, and there are apparently no exits along the way.
G’Kar’s ship begins to self-destruct. He and Greegil flee. Greegil gets to Sheridan’s ship first, and promptly turns around and pushes the airlock door shut as Sheridan floats toward it. G’Kar’s ship explodes before Sheridan’s shuttle can escape; the shuttle’s occupant screams…
• Narn children are taught the art of negotiation at an early age; the Narn consider themselves master hagglers.
• If Greegil is to be believed, the Narn kinial system has several ranks denoting levels of family obligation: this-kini, val-kini, dar-kini, on-kini, dru-kini, bas-kini, and ini-darka. Ini-darka is the highest rank.
• Did Sheridan make it onto the shuttle?
• What does Greegil really want, and how is he related (familially or otherwise) to G’Kar?
• Why is G’Kar trying to avoid him, if that’s what’s happening?
• Why would G’Kar drag Garibaldi all the way from the docking bay to the core of the station? Clearly Garibaldi wasn’t conscious for most of the trip or he would have known he wasn’t on G’Kar’s ship, so G’Kar could have left him in the docking bay or in a closet and nobody would have been any the wiser.
• Laser-mirror-starweb is rock-paper-scissors with different names.
• At one point (just after they haggle) Sheridan calls Greegil “Greelig.”
• This issue features a computer-generated cover picture by Foundation Imaging, a rendering of G’Kar’s ship nearly hitting the D’Vordo.
• During one of the negotiation scenes, Greegil says, “You’d have me cut my own throat, you dibbler”. This is probably a reference to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series of novels, which feature a salesman called “Cut-me-own-throat Dibbler.”
• This story introduces a lot of gadgets we’ve never seen in the series (and probably never will.) The starweb and “shields” on Earth ships are two that seem like they would have appeared in the show if they were part of the canonical B5 universe. The maintenance robot in the station’s core is questionable, though it at least isn’t inconsistent with anything in the series. The stun gas used by G’Kar might be the same as the “morph gas” mentioned in “By Any Means Necessary.”
- Ron did a CGI cover, though I’ve only seen a B&W repro, and
can’t vouch for it in detail.