Thursday, December 27, 2018

Circles We Find Ourselves In, Babylon 5 Fanfic and Literary Device Writing Exercise, Part II

This past Xmas Day Comet TV held a marathon highlighting episodes from each of the five seasons. My favorite season is 3 because of Marcus Cole. His character brought so much humanity to an otherwise military and political discourse. 

I think that is why fans of the series are so taken with the character and his undying love for Susan. 

Every time I watch the reruns, I cannot wait to see Ranger Marcus Cole. For all his frailties, he was my Galahad. My perfect knight. He felt survivors guilt, was unwavering in his devotion, and maintained his forthright beliefs even in the face of the greatest odds. Isn't that the definition of being human?

Isn't that living the honor code of a chivalrous knight? 

Circles We Find Ourselves In, Part II

           In the dimness, Marcus looked around. He tried to go the way he came but no door existed. No window existed. He was trapped in an endless cage of four blank walls. A spot light glowed in the middle of the room while the rest remained dark. He stood on the outskirts of the beam.
            “Hello? Emperor Mollari? Captain Sheridan?”
            “Is looking for you, Marcus.” A familiar female voice came from a small hooded mass. When the figure stepped into the light, she took off the cowl.
          The thick brown robe hid her tiny frame, but Marcus remembered well. He saw her wear her customary pink ribbon robes with purple sleeves underneath the camouflage. The Ranger One pin was located on her lapel.
          She was beautiful. Brown hair combed through her hybrid Minbair-human head bone. Rose colored her cheeks and lips. Young eyes sparkled. She smiled with recognition and delight.
            “Entil’Zha!” He grinned and bowed with hands together as he did in life.
            She returned the Minbari greeting. “Marcus, it is good to see you.”
            “It’s good to see you too. Delenn, what’s happening to me?”
            “A test.”
            “Test? For what? I’m dead.”
            “Yes, but your soul is primitive. At least, that’s what they believe. You see, humanity has grown. Knowledge, logic, and science have catapulted them into incorporeal beings ready for the Rim.”
            “So why me?”
            “Your life was cut short.”
            “I sacrificed myself to save someone I love.”
            “And, that‘s the intrigue and the problem.”
            “Could you please explain it to me? I feel like a puppet on a live wire act and at any moment someone’s going to cut the strings.”
            She smiled. “Not long after you passed, humans began living for hundreds of years. The longest reached three hundred and eighty-seven. With this, many human qualities slipped through their grasp, including love. So when it was time to leave the younger races to grow and learn by themselves, humans left behind their ability to create and maintain emotional attachments. Even John and I have grown apart these many millennia. So much so, when the Minbari decided to leave, I went with them.”
            “That’s terrible. Delenn, I’m so sorry.”
            “That’s the reason why Susan cannot come to you. At least, not yet. Humanity has forgotten what it is to feel.”
            “So they sent me a soldier first?”
            “It will take some time for them to understand someone so . . .”
            “Passionate. Devoted. Loyal.”
            “Now, I feel that I am not a puppet but a tragic hero waiting for his heroine to awaken him with a kiss. So what must I do?”
            “What you are doing.” She placed the hood back on her head. Stepped backward into the dense shadow. Delenn disappeared. “You’ll understand soon.”
            “And what’s that? Delenn? Delenn!”
            After a few moments, the spotlight closed tight until darkness was constant. The black did not last long, gray emerged. Who Marcus saw next from the shadows was a man in a crisp gray suit.
            “Mister Garibaldi. I wasn’t expecting you. Although in this Dickens classic, I was waiting for the Ghost of Christmas Present.”
            In the gloom, Michael gestured for him to sit. Marcus turned to see a well lit living room. Marcus sat on the couch. Michael sat in his favorite recliner.
            “Then consider me your present. Gift-wrapped and everything.”
           The Ranger gazed around the room. A couch, two chairs, coffee table, pictures, art, and trinkets adorned the area. Old southwestern American flare married to Mars distinct culture defined the orange and beige style.  
“I figured you would show me the inside of a Babylon Five prison cell.”
            “You didn’t get a chance to see me move up, so I thought this would be a great time.” Michael poured some dark yellow liquid from a glass carafe into two glasses. “Drink? Don’t worry, it’s orange juice.”
            “Love to.” Marcus sipped. “Very good.”
            “I have the ability and resources to get oranges brought to Mars. And I have someone juice them for me. Once a month or so, it’s a treat.”
            “Did you ever marry?”
            “Yep. To the ex-wife of all people.” Garibaldi swigged, set his glass down, and then handed Marcus a picture frame from an end table. “Got a daughter too in the deal.”
            Along with his glass, Marcus placed the item on the coffee table. “Beautiful. Now will I be told why I’m here?”
            “Right to the point, I like that. Or, moreover, we changed. Humans, I mean. We’re no longer in bodies.”
            “I’ve seen.”
            “I guess the most important thing is: do you have any questions?” Michael slouched with his juice in hand.
            With folded hands in his lap, Marcus sat with perfect posture. “Lots.”
            “Well, let’s hear them.”
            “Why am I here? What’s really going on? Why am I being tested?”
            “To help us.”
            “I thought I was the problem.”
            “You’ve always been a pain in the ass.”
            “And how does that help you?”
            “Even though you can be a pain, you are as civil as you are courageous and chivalrous. Stephen said once you compared yourself to Galahad.”
            “And him, Percival. Sorry, we never discussed you.”
            Michael chuckled. “That’s all right. I was never knightly.”
          “All of us have a knight in him or her somewhere.”
          “I would really like to believe so.” Marcus bowed his head away from Michael. “What is it?”
            The Ranger looked up. “It’s nice. Just to have a conversation.”
            “I have to know. How to fix this. Whatever it is.”
            “The captain told you how.”
            “So when my body’s released from the cryogenic chamber, I should wish for death? You’re off the hook?”
            “Not really. Once you’re back inside the collective, we have work to do. We have to make sure you’re evolved enough to come with us.”
            “You don’t know?” Marcus stood. “Then why are we having this discussion? Leave me in stasis. Forever. I won’t drag down humanity.”
            Michael reacted by getting to his feet. “You would sacrifice your soul too? It’s different than your life, Marcus.”
            “I am a Ranger. I place others above myself.”
            Michael chuckled while he nodded. “That you are. That you do.”
            “So why am I being tested?”
            “Evolution of the soul.”
            “No.” Marcus shook his head. “See, I don’t think so. I have been sent a soldier, now a security chief. I must be much more important than a lingering soul. I’m a threat. C’mon, admit it.”
            “You are but not in the way you may think.”
            “Keep humanity from moving onto the Rim. If not that, then why, Mister Garibaldi?”
            “Can’t recall. They talk but I don’t listen. Paranoia, I say. My advice to you is to be yourself. Show them what they’re missing.”
            Marcus shrugged. “Where can I go to think?”
            “There’s a guest room.” Michael pointed. “Down the hall on the right.”
            As Marcus walked to the door, he turned. “Are you sure?”
            “Yeah, of course, I’m sure. I live here, you know?”
            Marcus grinned. “Then I’ll be down the hall.”
            The farther he went, the longer the corridor became and no doors appeared. Marcus found himself walking faster. No matter the pace, walking, jogging, running, or racing, he could not get to the end.
            He stopped. He glanced side to side, up and down. The corridor had disappeared.
            “What do you want from me?”
            In front of him, a door appeared and opened. Inside the area was dark. No light. Nothing. The chasm of the edge whispered to him.
           Space- deep and dark and opaque- dangled. With a rush of air, he looked behind him. The walls moved and melted together. Pushed forward, Marcus edged closer to the abyss.
            When the walls converged on his position, the floor inclined. His boots slipped. Within moments, Marcus Cole fell into the void.
            “Ahh . . . !” He plummeted but his voice seemed muffled. No echo occurred. To his sensibilities, the declination continued for hours.  
            With a thud, Marcus hit the floor. His boots made a clink clunk sound. He felt lucky to be alive. “Lucky to be standing upright, I should say. Alive is still questionable.”
            A spotlight appeared in the dark grey. “Back here, am I? I wonder who’s going to visit me now.”
            He walked toward the circle. He noticed the main light was not the only beam. Nine circular light gray lights surrounded the white light of the middle.
            Marcus recognized the place. Again he stood by the beam but not in it. “The Grey Council chambers.”
            “You are the first non-Minbari visitor in centuries.”
            A light male voice descended into Marcus’s ears. “Lennier?”
            Lennier stepped into the light. He bowed as Marcus did in return. “It is good to see you.”
            “And you. Where’s Delenn?”
            “Unavailable. She sends her regrets and me.”
            “So, you’re now in the regret category?
            “Much happened after you . . . departed.”
            “I assume then you are the Ghost of Christmas Future?
            “I’m not sure what you mean. I feel very much in the present.”
            “It’s okay, Lennier. It’s just good to see you.”
            “Delenn wanted me to help you in any way that I can, but I’m not certain what that could be.”
            “Do you know what’s going on with me?”
          “Partly. First, I had to save you from Emperor Mollari. He wished to speak with you again.”
            “I don’t know but he does like to hold parties for everyone as well as private dinners.”
           “Dinner? Although I’m not particularly parched per se, but you are all dead and still have dinner?”
            “We break off the part of ourselves that once knew each other and reminisce about the past. Something we could not do while alive. Now that you are here, our compliment is complete.”
            “The question is: will I be able to stay?”
            “Who knows? The universe is as mysterious as it is infinite.”
            “It is indeed.” Marcus exhaled. “How may I prove myself worthy? I don’t want to live. I want to find Susan.”
            “Perhaps there is a way to do both.”
            “How? What do I need to do? Lennier?”
            “Delenn is looking into that avenue. I am here to keep you from the human collective consciousness until she can discover the truth.”
            “Why am I not? It is my problem after all.”
            “It is not your problem, Marcus. You are a pure soul. Full of courage, passion, loyalty, and love. The collective is different and doesn’t quite understand you. At the same time, must have you.”
            “In order to go to the Rim.”
            “Correct. They feel threatened by you.”
            “I’ve discovered as much for myself through other contacts.”
            “Yes, it’s the collective’s chance to prove themselves to the older races.”
            “What have the Minbari decided?”
            “That depends on you.”
            “Me? I’m not qualified.”
            “Why do you think you were chosen? As Delenn knew Sinclair was a Minbari soul, she saw qualities in you, she believes will help the humans progress.”
            “What do you think?”
            “What is, is.” Lennier turned his head as if he heard speech from behind him. He nodded. “Stand in the center.”
            “That’s an honored and reserved space.”
            “For you.” Lennier stepped away. “Please.”
            Reluctant, but eager to resolve the situation, Marcus stepped forward. The beam consumed him.


Read the rest of the novelette on Undawnted's Circles We Find Ourselves In dedicated page.

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A writer at heart, Undawnted's own creative spark, DL Mullan, began writing short stories and poetry before adolescence. Over the years, Ms. Mullan has showcased her literary talents by self-publishing several collections of her poetry. She also writes novels, designs apparel, and creates digital art. Ms. Mullan‘s creative writing is available in digital and print collections, from academia to commercial anthologies. As an independent publisher, she produces her own book cover designs as well as maintains her own websites. She is an award-winning digital artist and poet. This year, DL Mullan has begun sharing her knowledge via A Novelist Idea Newsletter. If you too want to become a Fearless Phile, then subscribe to her newsletter on Substack.

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