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to deal with them."

"And you do?" John said.

"Of course. With so many here at one time, and you being new to Babylon 5, and your... well, your inexperience in such matters, no offense-"

John tapped one hand against the other. "None taken."

"It occurred to me that I could be of some small assistance in averting trouble."

John leaned forward. "And what would you get out of it?" He was no fool.

"Oh, a clear conscience and a peaceful sleep." Londo smiled, the smile of a man who had not yet discovered that he was damned and would never again have a clear conscience or a peaceful sleep.

Elric realized someone was knocking at the door of his closet-sized room. They must have news for him, news too sensitive to be delivered by communication. He had lain down with the idea that it would be for only a few minutes. Now he didn't know if he could rise again. His head felt as if it would explode if he moved. "A moment," he said.

John was speaking. He'd come around his desk to face Londo. "Earth wants more information before letting them go, so this is as good an opportunity as any. I'll set up a meeting. Nine o'clock?"

"I'll be there. I'm pleased, Captain, that our first discussions have gone so smoothly. I'm looking forward to many more in the future." Londo turned, raising a hand as he walked out of the office. "Until later, then."

Looking after Londo, John spoke under his breath. "What do the techno-mages have that he wants so badly?"

Elric forced his body into motion. His limbs felt stiff, uncoordinated. His forehead was throbbing. He straightened, determined to show no sign of weakness, and opened the door. Carvin stood there, her lips sucked inward, hands twisted anxiously together. She said nothing.

"What is it?" he demanded.

Her lips parted.
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