Up All Night by Sarah Houghton

This work of fiction is owned by the author and may not be reproduced without express written permission. Babylon 5 is owned by J.M.S. and Babylonian Productions. No copyright infringement is intended by this work of fiction. Copyright January 1998.


The music was totally unmistakable.

The music was, in fact, totally maddening. He wanted to find wherever it was coming from right now and rip it right out of the station. Space it all the way to the Rim. That would do in the Shadows, no doubt, and do it a helluva lot faster than Sheridan was doing.

What was he doing here? Why was he dancing in the first place? Step step turn, again and again. Nah nah nana, nananana naah...Growling and grinding the enamel off his teeth, he concentrated instead on the conversation to his left.

"What is an 'Achy Breaky Heart'?"

"I do not know."

Step step turn.

Step step turn.

Step step turn.

"It certainly seems to be important to them."

"Perhaps it is a ritual of some kind."

"Humans can be very strange."


To his right, Marcus piped up singing, sounding just as annoyed. Even though I can't tell what the hell he's saying right now, Marcus sounds almost amused at this whole mess, but I'd always figured that not much got by him. Then the words faded into focus. "...I'm going nowhere, somebody help me..." Disco. Terrific. I agree with you completely, pal.

Step step turn.

Step step turn.

Step step turn.

"I do not understand this ritual."

"I believe it has to do with togetherness and teamwork. Note the steps which must be performed in unison at specific times in the music."

"And the significance of the 'Achy Breaky Heart' symbol?"

Susan's voice came from further to his left. "Shut up and dance, Lennier." What the hell is going on here?

Glitter poured down from the ceiling, streamers shot across the corridor, showering down on everyone and everything. The whole C & C looks like someone's throwing a hell of a party...maybe those damned techno-mages didn't stop at Londo's computer this time, and knocked all of us six for six.

Maybe this is the Vorlons' idea of teaching. I always said they were a wierd race.

Okay, we're moving all in a little line, and still dancing, goddammit...into the Zocalo. Empty, thank God, wherever she is. The line dance is falling apart, and it's about damn time too. It's degenerating...along with the rest of the station personnel, apparently.

Stephen, Zack, and Lyta doing the Macarena. And it looks like Sheridan is trying to teach it to the Minbari. Yeah, that's just what they need.

G'Kar pirouetting across the floor, bounce and pose here, bounce and pose there, arms outflung, head back, wearing a pink ballet tutu. With spangles.

And a tiara.

Has something gotten into the water refiltration systems again?

Londo dancing on a table, preparing to do a striptease, shaking his...well, shaking his booty, for lack of a description. Hell, I don't want to describe it. I don't even want to be in the same planetary region with it.

Oh man.

This place has gone to hell without the handbasket.

"Get out of that shop window!! You're naked!!"

Susan and Marcus tangoing across the floor--I wonder what he drugged her with to let him do that--and he's got a black rose between his teeth. Probably because Susan can't keep her mouth shut...

And speaking of keeping one's mouth shut...what is that...noise? It sounds like...I can't even describe what it sounds like, but I think it's opera. Londo is singing opera. Londo. Opera. This cannot be good. This is, in fact, terrible.

The plot isn't even that good.

Whatever the plot is. Hell, I don't speak Centauri. I can only tell because Vir is making snide little comments about the plot -- I don't think he likes the composer.

Now everyone's jumping around, shouting out ecstatically -- the Minbari must be so pleased, all this delight -- the line's reformed. Let go of my arm!! Conga music? No, I don't want to dance. No! I am not doing this. Londo and G'Kar are leading the line twisting through the marketplace, back and forth among the stalls, around and around the Zocalo.

There's a law against this, I'm sure of it.

And if I have to, I'll make up one.

"Feel that conga beat!!!!"

"Hot hot hot!!!"

"Hot? Actually, it is quite comfortable in here. Perhaps it is the exertion--"

"Shut up and dance, Lennier."

"Susan? Oh, Suuuusan?" The faint mumble drifted through the room. "Suuuuuusan?" Daffy Duck drifted hazily into view, and Michael Garibaldi blearily wiped his eyes. Stretching out his muscles which shouldn't be sore and tired but were, so it made no sense, he dragged himself off the bed, kicking something out of the way under the bed.

"Oh man, that was a nasty dream." Heading into the bathroom, he shook the cobwebs from his brain and tried to wake up his mind. "That dream definately blew the wierdness meter right off the dial." His mind wasn't cooperating this morning. So what else was new? Trudging into the living area, disoriented by the strangest of dreams, he put on his robe and hit controls that would heat coffee...it was handy that Susan grew some...and that she occasionally gifted some of it to certain members of the crew that would appreciate the gesture.

Ordering the replay of messages waiting on the com, Michael grabbed at a piece of cold pizza left over from last night's way-too-late-dinner or way-too-early-breakfast and gingerly picked up the mug of hot coffee. "I am getting too old to be eating dinner at three in the a.m." The messages played on in the background, ignored in favor of food and coffee. That must have been what caused the dream--okay, no more pizza with the works, heavy on the garlic, onions, and anchovies...at least late at night.

Satisfied that the cause had been discovered, he took the coffee in to shower and dress, abandoning both pizza and messages.

Unheard by anyone, the messages droned on.

"Message from...Miss Alexander...four forty-five a.m." The synthesized voice ceased, only to be replaced by the ringing tones of disco music. The tune warbled and wailed, obviously dubbed in as a note instead of actual spoken words. Lyrics came on, a woman's voice caroling with all her might, her joy obvious to her listeners. "I love the nightlife...I got to boogie...on the disco ro-ho-owownd-end-day...oh, I love the nightlife...I got to boogie..."


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