Chapter Eighteen: Universal Good Humor

When at last they safely entered the docking bay at Babylon 5, Ra'Mogh heaved a sigh of relief. Thankfully, they had established audio contact with Tu'Pari during the return voyage; and Lennier made a deal with him, dropping him off on a back-water planet run by rogue drazis. His parting words to them, as he clambered out of the Nu'Ral were: "Tell G'Kar I send my greetings."

They hastened to depart immediately after that, dragging the Nu'Ral back into space with its emergency hatch open. BarNog and Na'Til assured their captain that his vessel could be repaired over time. Ra'Mogh knew that it would be quite a while, however, before they would be leaving Babylon 5 and embarking on another rescue mission. As they disembarked from the ranger/minbari vessel, Ra'Mogh did not forget to gesture his respect to Lennier, Vir, and Marcus Cole for their part in the crazy plan...that truth be told, should reasonably have failed, by anyone's estimation. The fact that they succeeded only proved that the Universe did indeed have a sense of humor, amid the squalor and pain. He could not quite believe that they had all managed to escape, prisoners and all. Vir seemed to believe that "Rhalka Carran" had deliberately left a hole in the orbital security system, so that they could make their getaway from "Ragesh 4." Even so, Ra'Mogh was reluctant to give any credit whatsoever to the atrocious swamp-cat, Carran/Marran. Regardless of his reputed benevolence, the man was still responsible for many atrocities against the narn people.

He was quite content, however, to have rescued the monster's far more compassionate nephew, Riga. The young man was immediately taken in by his aunt, Nisha Marran, who along with Riga's brother Nykko, had appealed to Sheridan for refuge from Emperor Cartagia. Like the narns, Cartagia's empire was now the enemy of their family.

Ra'Mogh was anxious to see his own family, especially his younger daughter Ogra and his two grandchildren. He was fairly certain that they had been well looked after by Ba'Kira's son Kar Malka, and his mate Ja'Quel. He walked down the corridor toward the cramped quarters that he shared with them, as KyTeth, Ba'Kira, and Wall'Ahb the pak'ma'ra accompanied him.

"I hope my Dad wasn't too worried," KyTeth fretted. "I just escaped from Triar, and then I went back...even though I kept my word and stayed aboard the rangers' ship the whole time. Hey, Captain Ra'Mogh! I bet Ambassador Delenn and Lennier would love it if you and Ba'Kira became...well, sort of like ranger-associates. You could help them with more rescue missions, aboard the ranger vessels. I can talk to them, if you like..."

"No," Ra'Mogh cut the boy's offer short. "Not right now, KyTeth. We all need time to spend with our families at present. We are narn, and we must offer our prayers of sorrow and gratitude to G'Quan and the Universe. We have all suffered a great loss! There will be time enough for more rescues. Go to your father, boy."

KyTeth knew not to test the Red Spot's patience any further. He saw his father, Tan Kari, standing by the door of his own quarters, so he wheeled over to him and embraced the elderly narn. Ra'Mogh could only imagine what anxiety the old man had felt while his son was gone.

"Look!" Ba'Kira drew his attention to three beings who were making their way along the corridor. Ra'Mogh's jaw nearly dropped to the floor. His commander and friend, Ni'Kar of the White Spot, walked forward slowly, supported by his wife Valene on one side, and his brother G'Kar on the other. They stopped in front of the trio, absolutely flabbergasted. Wall'Ahb was so overcome with emotion that she twitched her tentacles and snapped her beak at the sight of her one-time savior.

"Ah, Ra'Mogh and Ba'Kira!" G'Kar greeted them enthusiastically, "and Wall'Ahb as well, of course. I have just been informed by one of my sources that your rescue mission was successful. Excellent work! The rescued narns will be well cared for by our community, I assure you...and, as you can see, we have a surprise for you."

As Ra'Mogh looked into Ni'Kar's eyes, he could see that the White Spot's spirit had been badly damaged by his torture at the hands of the centauris. "Ni'Kar...?" he inquired experimentally. "Is it still you?"

Ni'Kar's vision clouded over. "My name is Nicholas Rogan," he murmured. "I am Ni'Kar no more. I am no longer narn, for I screamed in pain during my torment at the hands of the centauri barbarians. I capitulated to them in order to spare others in my encampment! I was such a fool to think that I could ever work with them..."

"Ni'Kar, my brother, listen to me," G'Kar said to him sharply. "You are now feeling what we all know! We have all been humiliated by the centauris...every single narn in this universe. We must not give up, do you hear me? We must continue to fight, every single day. You and your friends must decide where your loyalties lie...to your people, or to your now-defunct delusions of peace. Wall'Ahb, please come and take my place by your master's side. I have a resistance to lead, and I hope that at least some of you will join me. I bid you all a good day."

Without any further discussion, G'Kar strode away. Wall'Ahb wrapped her tentacular arms around 'Nicholas Rogan's' side, clicking softly.

"I'm sorry, Ra'Mogh," Valene, his human wife, said. "Nick appreciates you, your family, and your crew. It's just that this is a very difficult time for him. He's trying to recover from this horrible torment that the centauris put him through, and his identity has been ripped to shreds. It will take a while for him to fully come back to us."

Ra'Mogh gestured his respect to the wife of the former Ni'Kar.

"Ro'Gan," he said to Ni'Kar, acknowledging his new name. He abruptly left the couple with Ba'Kira and Wall'Ahb so that he could follow G'Kar. He ignored his daughter's cries for him to return, for he was, in truth, horrified by Ro'Gan's condition. He also felt ashamed for having worked with a centauri, even though he knew without a doubt that Vir was a courageous individual with enormous integrity. Still, has the time not come for me to take G'Kar's advice and at last join the resistance? He challenged himself. He was so sickened by the centauris' behavior that he could no longer stand it. By the time he arrived at the Zocolo, however, the resistance leader was gone.

"Captain Ra'Mogh!" The Red Spot turned around to see Captain Sheridan and the minbari diplomat, Ambassador Delenn.

"Captain Sheridan," he greeted them courteously. "Ambassador Delenn. I was searching for G'Kar...have you seen him?"

"No," Sheridan answered, "but right now, Ra'Mogh, we're delighted to see you."

"We understand from Lennier that you have returned from a mission that you believed would be one of self-sacrifice for the greater good," Delenn said. "Lennier believes that you would make a good associate for our new...group of rescuers. May we count on you in the future, Captain?"

"I...uh..." Ra'Mogh faltered. "Well...maybe. I will need to give the matter some thought. I have just met...Nicholas Rogan, and...I am not certain that I can ever work with a centauri again, even to rescue some of our people. The fact is that most of our people remain within the grip of the centauri Emperor's claws, no matter how many of them we save."

"That is true, Ra'Mogh," Sheridan agreed. "We're grateful that Ni'Kar...that is, Nicholas Rogan...survived, but I know it will take a while for him to recover. He'll need good friends like you and your daughter."

"You will best help your people by being true to your own principles, Ra'Mogh," Delenn added. "All we ask is that you consider our offer before you join G'Kar, as heroic and righteous a resistance as he is leading."

"Yes," Ra'Mogh replied, feeling more confused than ever. As he left the pair, he realized that he had just lost his impulse to join the resistance. Blast the minbaris and the humans, he thought as he returned to help his daughter and Wall'Ahb drive some life into that crazy, peace-loving, former commander of his. On his way back, he passed Vir Cotto, who looked at him in the conspiratorial manner of two friends who had worked together on behalf of universal good humor. Ra'Mogh returned the look, and kept walking forward.