The Catalyst

Disclaimer: Babylon 5 and its characters don't belong to me. The characters mentioned all belong to J. Michael Straczynski, and my amateur efforts probably can't do justice to his work.

"The Catalyst"
by Christine Anderson
aka Anla'shok Ivanova
Written for the Theatrical Muse 'predetermined roles' challenge.

Do you feel that you were born with a predetermined role in society? If so, how do you feel about it?


And yes.

No in the beginning; yes maybe later.

I never really believed in fate, only... the way things turned out, I suppose. The civilizations I studied, I knew how they had ended up. The ruins we unearthed, I knew that their occupants were dead and gone...

I made my own choices for most of my life, and I was happy that way. Happiest, I think...

And then, later? I made my last choice, and it changed everything.

Morden told the Shadows "Yes"- Morden who had, I thought, been my friend, at least my colleague, who I had tried to comfort as best I could. I pitied him; he had lost his wife and daughter. And maybe I tried so hard with him as a hedge against what could have been. Making deals with God, maybe. If I help him, please don't let anything like this ever happen to me.

I'm not sure He was listening that day.

But later? I had a role, a part to play even though I was dead to everyone who'd ever known me (except maybe Morden, and he was dead to himself, so I don't think he counts.)

I was John's catalyst.

I was the thing that, when he learned the truth about the Icarus and what had happened to me- or something like the truth, anyway- I, my 'death', was what made him say, for this, I am going to Z'ha'dum. And I'm going to stop them.

Because they killed me. Killed Anna. No. They killed Dr. Anna Sheridan. What remained was just...Anna. (And I was Anna the way Morden was Morden, without being Dr. Morden...)

No, I wasn't dead then; not quite. But what I was...was enough.

He must have known it when I came to Babylon 5, when he saw me again after all those years. I knew then that I had failed, that I had failed in what I had been told- been ordered- to do. I would not pull his strings, would not make him dance to the Shadows' tune. He would not come to Z'ha'dum for me.

And yet he did.

Was it what they did to me that brought him to that point? Was it the realization that they truly were such monsters, such pure evil, to do such a thing to a living creature, that brought him to that point where he is at his best? I don't know.

I was the catalyst. He lived for Delenn, but he died for me, there on Z'ha'dum, because it was the only way to turn the tide, turn the war.

Without me- if I had never been born, if he had never loved me, I don't know that it ever would have come to that. That he ever would have gone to Z'ha'dum. The war might have turned in their favor, anyway. He might have figured it out in the end, anyway- might have forced them, the Shadows and the Vorlons, into that last confrontation. He might have. And it all might have happened just the same way that it did without me, without Anna Sheridan...

But maybe not, too.

Maybe somebody Out There- God? Lorien? Whoever is really in charge- didn't think they could take that chance.

I feel...strangely angry about it all. Or maybe it's not so strange, after all. I never wanted to be a catalyst. I wanted to be happy, and in love. I wanted to make a living doing work I loved. I wanted to learn things, see worlds no one had set foot on for millennia... I wanted to grow old with John. I wanted to die peacefully, of old age, surrounded by family and friends.

I wanted everything to be what it had been before. I never wanted...this.

Yes. I'm angry. Bitter. Disappointed. Sad.