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andrastewhite organized Multiverse 2006 (multiverse5000). I was assigned __marcelo, who requested something with Londo Mollari of Babylon 5 and Bender of Futurama.

Title: Lopped-Off Asparagus Spears
Author: voleuse
Fandoms: Babylon 5/Futurama
Characters: Londo & Bender
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: It would be testing fate to complain.
Notes: Spoilers through the end of Babylon 5



i. runs roughshod over domestic and public peace

As the Centauri ambassador to Babylon 5, Londo has become accustomed to receiving the odd gift every once in a while. A barrel of spirits from a Mars confederation, ancient pottery from the Spoomun Complat, a skein of cloth from the Drazi Freehold.

So when Vir tugs open a large crate and announces, "A gift from Mom's Friendly Robot Company," Londo barely takes notice. That is, until Vir yelps, and the crate splinters open.

Out of the ruined planks emerges a metal thing, wide in its belly, with sturdy wires snaking around its limbs. Its two eyes are yellow orbs, humming from within the small cylinder of its head.

"Vir?" Londo asks, because the thing is stepping towards him.

"It's a robot." Vir clears his throat. The accompanying note wavers in his hand. "A prototype of their new series."

"Prototype?" Londo repeats.

"Is that beer?" the robot asks. Then its arm extends, snatches Londo's glass away, and pours the remaining liquid into the grill that serves as its mouth.


ii. a system of politeness and intimidation

The robot, who names himself Bender, does not seem to have an off button. At least, he won't stand still long enough for Vir to find out. Not even when Londo asks, almost politely.

"What's the point of having a conscience matrix," Bender says, colliding with a couch as he turns, "if I can't weigh in on important, universe-changing decisions?"

"You have a conscience matrix?" Londo asks.

Bender pauses. "Maybe."

"I see." Londo sits down again, gestures for Bender to sit as well. "I'd like to hear more about it, if you'd oblige me."

"Maybe," Bender says again. "But I'm feel a little parched at the moment." His right hand flexes, gears whirring. "Know what I mean?"

"Ah, yes." Londo chuckles, walking over to the counter. "Using intoxicants as fuel. A clever development." He eyes his collection of bottles, finally selecting the second-least expensive one. "Though not as efficient as I'd prefer."

"Efficient?" Bender queries as he receives the bottle. His neck tilts back as he drinks.

For two and a half long minutes, Londo watches as an 80-year-old Minbari wine trickles into Bender's mouth.

When Bender finishes, he tosses the bottle into his chest cavity, then belches. "Yeah, you're right. It takes way too long to drink the entire bottle."

Londo sighs. "I'll ask Vir to look into it."

"Now where was I?" Bender leans back on the couch, and its frame creaks under his weight. "Ah, the conscience matrix."

Londo reclines, and prepares to disbelieve everything he hears.


iii. coming through slate blue just prior dawn

Though Londo holds some reservations about letting Bender loose on the station, he can't very well keep a sapient being confined to his quarters. Instead, he has Garibaldi explain that no alcohol is provided to those in holding cells. He has a credit chip and a tracking chip implanted in Bender's antenna, and prays the Centauri Republic has need for a great deal of bending in the near future.

He keeps careful eye on Bender's movements for the next few days. He might be, after all, held liable for the robot's destruction. Aside from a few coarse words and a trip to downbelow, however, Bender's forays are uneventful.

A few weeks later, though, in the middle of the night, Garibaldi calls Londo in his quarters.

Come down to Quaydo's, in the brown sector, Garibaldi says. You'll want to see this.

Panicked, Londo doesn't dress nearly as well as he ought, and he's down in seventeen Earth minutes. He expects mayhem, or perhaps the bar entirely bereft of grain alcohol.

There's no hum of panic, no sound other than a brief murmur, and the voice of some folk singer on stage. He looks around, spots Garibaldi.

"What is going on?" he hisses. "I thought there was some sort of emergency."

Garibaldi grins, grabs Londo's elbow and turns him to face the stage.

The singer is Bender. His eye-orbs are dim, and he's tapping his foot as he croons, a quick, catchy tune that makes no sense Londo can discern.

"How long--"

"Tonight, maybe an hour." Garibaldi chuckles. "Apparently he's been coming in for the past week."

"Really?" Londo looks at Garibaldi, then back at the stage. "And they like him?"

"Apparently."

"Ah." Londo smiles. "Do you think we could arrange for some sort of compensation?"



iv. hey, here nothing is explained

Though Bender can't accompany Londo on matters of strict diplomacy, as he lacks the certain delicacy required of ambassadors, Londo does enjoy Bender's company on other occasions.

Aside from his musical endeavors, it turns out Bender is also a talented gambler. Once Londo apprises him of the ways cards are played on Babylon 5, Bender begins to win games. Frequently, then uniformly.

The second night this occurs, Londo excuses the two of them from the table with a cough and a smile.

"Bender," he whispers, after walking several paces away. "The gods have blessed you with luck, I think."

"Luck nothing," Bender spits out. "Just need to extend a few--"

"But if I were you," Londo continues, "I would pray for just a little less luck." A Narn female walks by them, eyes him with scorn. Londo nods, then turns back to Bender. "Do you understand?"

"You think I should lose a few games?" Bender asks.

Londo shrugs. "It would be prudent, I think."

"If you say so." Bender starts walking back to the table.

"Thank you." Londo lets his head drop, and smiles.

"You want a cut of my winnings?"

"Yes."


v. chewed up their apodal notes

In the weeks after Emperor Cotto returns to Centauri Prime, ascends to his throne, a robot is found wandering the palace corridors. It seems to have no primary purpose, unless to keep watch of the palace wine cellars. It answers all attempts at command with profanity.

Though the palace engineers, then the palace guards, try to apprehend it, it manages to evade them. Nobody knows what to do.

Finally, a timid courtier brings the issue up with the emperor himself. She describes the robot to him, quotes a few choice phrases.

In the aftermath of her story, the emperor is silent. The courtier thinks, as she watches, there is the faintest smile on his face.

Then the emperor chuckles and shakes his head. "Let him be," he tells her.

Surprised, she bows, and begins to back away.

"Actually," the emperor says, "he prefers whiskey. From Earth. Could you find some for him?"

"Of course," she says, and with proper courtesies, she whisks away.


###

A/N: Title, summary, and headings adapted from John Kinsella's Graphology 116: Pre-Composition. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Originally archived here.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ch1pper
Aug. 15th, 2006 06:01 am (UTC)
So much love!
moodfic
Aug. 22nd, 2006 05:50 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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