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Genius Loci
by J. Michael Straczynski
page 1
     "I can assure you, without hesitation, that I was in no way trying to seduce your chieftain's mate." 
      G'Kar said this with complete sincerity and a tone of casual friendliness that seemed utterly oblivious to the pair of meaty fists wrapped around his throat.
      The Kurlin bodyguard assigned by its government to prevent indiscretions by the royal Kurla family--a family noted for a history of indiscretions so varied that they left native historians breathless and shaking--had seen G'Kar's hand on the knee (third knee from the left, to be precise) of the Kurla Enfal (what humans would call a princess) and responded accordingly.
     In G'Kar's defense, Lyta thought, the incident was indeed an accident.  Oh, he had placed his hand there deliberately; that much was certain even without scanning his thoughts as it happened.  But at the time he did it, he didn't think it was her knee. 
     Lyta decided it was almost good to see G'Kar back to his womanizing--femalizing? alienizing?--ways.  Since leaving Babylon 5 six weeks earlier, the tall Narn who had gone from warrior to priest to political figure to leader in self-imposed exile had begun to enjoy himself for the first time in years.
     Unfortunately, seducing females of any race and getting into fights about it seemed to be the Narn idea of enjoying oneself.
     Who knew they were so human in that respect?  Lyta thought just as G'Kar was thrown past her, colliding head-on with the wall. For a human, it would have been a devastating blow; for Narns, with their leather-tough and spotted outer skin, and their resilient, almost catlike bone structure, such an impact could almost count as foreplay.
      But Lyta knew they didn't have time for this.  One of the things they desperately did not want was to draw attention to themselves.  Although G'Kar might not be recognized for who he was this far from home, Lyta-with her bright red hair and distinctive, aquiline features, a face that had been plastered across wanted posters in every Psi Corps field office in this sector-would definitely be recognized.
      It's not like there were a lot of human females traveling with Narns, after all.
     She had to break up the fight, but without drawing atten-
tion to herself.  So far everyone in the small bar that was the watering hole for Durk 3, a tiny commercial space station near the Earth Omega Colony, was intent on watching the fight.  As long as any other telepaths weren't in the room,
and she couldn't feel any at the moment, she could act.
      She sent out a mental probe, carefully touching mind of 
the Kurlin bodyguard.  She was repelled by the naked violence she found there, but pushed past it to the primitive-the even more primitive, she corrected herself-
parts of his brain.  She found the neural on-off switch that would shut down the synaptic relays to the voluntary nerve receptors.  But she couldn't shut him down all at once, or it would draw attention to the presence of a teep in the audience of onlookers.
     She waited until he started after G'Kar again, then cut the impulses to the right side of his body.  His legs kicked out from under him.  Then she cut the rest as his head hit the floor.  The vidtapers would record that the bodyguard tripped, fell, and knocked himself out. 
     G'Kar picked himself up off the ground and caught her 
gaze.  She psi'd at him, We have to go. Now.
     He nodded and moved quickly out of the bar, pausing only to gather his bag,  containing his ever-growing Book of G'Kar, and to nudge the bodyguard with his toe, reassuring himself that he would not be tackled again.  After he was gone, Lyta waited for a moment, then finished her drink and followed.

"And where would you like to go now, Lyta?"  G'Kar asked once they were safely inside their ship, a compact little explorer G'Kar had purchased back at Babylon 5 when it became clear that neither of them could return to their respective homeworlds without causing considerable problems for themselves and others.  Their alliance, born of convenience and necessity, had proven strangely comfortable for them both.
      While they waited to see what the universe had in store for them, they took the opportunity to see what was out there.  Lyta had the resources, and G'Kar had the time. 
And now it was her turn to choose their next destination.
      She paused to consider.  While at Durk 3, she had herd rumors about a colony world in sector 843 settled long ago by telepaths from various worlds.   The dream of creating a home-world for telepaths was one of the goals she had set for herself since her love, Byron, had died in pursuit of that dream nearly a year earlier.  G'Kar wouldn't approve, of course; he had incited her on this little jaunt among the stars because he felt she needed to rediscover her own humanity before she could help her people… but she didn't have to 
tell him. 
      After all, he hadn't warned her about the chieftain's mate, now, had he?
      "Sector eight-four-three," she said at last.
      "Eight-four-three it is," G'Kar said, and hit the thrusters.

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