#4: Clark's Law
|Written by Jim Mortimore||Dell Publishing, 1995|
This story is set in December 2259, between Comes the Inquisitor and The Fall of Night.
The Tuchanq arrive on Babylon 5 with the hope of enlisting the help of the Earth Alliance to rebuild their homeworld after years of occupation by the Narn. The Tuchanq belief system revolves around a "Song of Being" - a stream of consciousness that defines identity. After a fight breaks out between them and the Narn, Ivanova is forced to stun them, which to them means the Song of Being has been broken. A ceremony bringing the Tuchanq to the point of death so the Song can be restored is carried out, but one of then, D'Arc, escapes from MedLab before this can happen.
The other Tuchanq believe her to be insane, as does D'Arc herself, knowing her Song of Being is broken. She attacks a human businessman, Brian Grond, to steal his Song of Being, but in his dying moments he causes a rupture in an airlock which leaves D'Arc brain damaged. Sheridan receives a transmission from EarthDome ordering that D'Arc be held for the death penalty according to President Clark's new capital punishment laws.
Brian Grond's wife Jacintha arrives on the station for the trial. Londo Mollari is determined to meet with the Tuchanq leader, n'Viel, to offer assistance to their people against the Narn and in the apparent absence of any help from Earth.
The Executioner for the trial demands to use the alien life-giving machine for the execution, but Franklin refuses. Sheridan seeks guidance from Delenn but she has already been approached by EarthGov and reluctantly agreed not to be involved. G'Kar is attacked by members of the Tuchanq but it appears that they may have been disguised humans. Garibaldi tries to locate underworld "businessman" N'Grath about the possibility of Changeling Nets being used.
G'Kar attempts to discover whether Londo was responsible for the attack on him, and wounds him with a knife. Indeed it was Londo who employed the human Home Guard sympathisers to diguise themselves to fire up tensions between the Tuchanq and the Narn. Franklin agrees to Vir's request to seek volunteers to use the alien healing machine to save Londo, but nobody comes forward.
At D'Arc's trial, Sheridan has been appointed by EarthDome to be judge and jury. He rejects the arguments of D'Arc's mental state and finds her guilty. More violence erupts. Even Jacintha Grond reveals to the visiting Channel 57 news that she feels justice hasn't been served.
Londo's life is saved by Mr Morden who survives the alien healing machine with no ill effects. Sheridan gets Franklin to sedate D'Arc ready for the execution. Jacintha goes to find her husband's body but it is missing: Sheridan has substituted them and sends Grond's body out of the airlock, disguised as D'Arc with a Changeling Net, to make it appear that justice has been served. President Clark contacts Sheridan to thank him for his loyalty and devotion to duty, making Sheridan extremely uncomfortable.
G'Kar seeks forgiveness from N'Viel, which she gives. The Tuchanq leave the station, having found the assistance they seek from the Centauri: further enslavement, no different to their experiences with the Narn. Only this time, N'Viel realizes, they are touched by Shadows.
Notes: The alien healing machine was first introduced in The Quality of Mercy. A Changeling Net was first seen used by the Minbari assassin in The Gathering.
G'Kar's wife is named J'Ntiel here: in the novels Blood Oath and Betrayals she is named Da'Kal. The Earthforce ship that started the Earth-Minbari War is wrongly named as the Amundsen (it was the Prometheus, as revealed (after this book was written) in A Late Delivery From Avalon (and In the Beginning)). The Centauri Emperor is also mis-named as Narleen Jarn (it is, of course, Emperor Cartagia, as mentioned in The Coming of Shadows - before this book was written).
Recurring Characters: Lyta Alexander makes a brief appearance here, referring to her desire to visit Vorlon space (see Divided Loyalties and Passing Through Gethsemane).
Jim Mortimore is the author of the Babylon 5 Security Manual, and also various original Doctor Who novels and novelizations of the UK detective series Cracker.