In the year 2261, after the close of the Shadow War, Vir responds to the queries of an unknown correspondent.
1. What is your full name?
My full title is: Vir Cotto, Attaché to Ambassador and Prime Minister Londo Mollari of the Centauri Republic. But you can call me Vir. Most people do, and I don’t mind.
7. Write a full physical description of yourself. You might want to consider factors such as: height, weight, race, hair and eye color, style of dress, and any tattoos, scars, or distinguishing marks.
I’m a very ordinary Centauri – not special or attractive at all. As Humans mark time, I am a little less than thirty. I had a surgery when I was very young, so I walk funny and do have scars on one leg. I’m also near-sighted, asthmatic, and clumsy. I’m not tall, and until recently, I was heavy. Londo called me his “moonfaced assassin of joy” once early in our time together (he was – er – personally occupied at the time and not in the mood for interruptions) because my face was very round. And it still is – sort of. My hair and eyes are brown, and I wear my hair in the traditional noble way, though I try not to spend too much time on it. (There is an Earth animal – a bird of some kind – that I’ve overheard some Humans compare to our hair, but I’ve forgotten the name of it. It begins with a “P,” I think.) My clothes are well made and also traditional (Londo insists upon that) – waistcoat, blouse, trousers, great coat – but I don’t pick especially striking colors or jewelry because I don’t like to stand out.
88. Are you generally introverted or extroverted?
I’m in the middle, I suppose. I’m not like my friend, Lennier, who spends many hours alone in quiet contemplation. Lennier is a good man – dedicated to his faith (later, I should tell you what he did for the Markab on Babylon 5), committed to Delenn – it is an honor to know him – but I do have to be very careful when I am around him. We Centauri define personal space very differently, you see – it’s normal for us to touch each other – to kiss and hug as friends – to express our feelings in a physical way. And, well – back when we were first getting to know each other, I’m afraid I accidentally embarrassed Lennier a few times by getting too close for his comfort. Once, after Mr. Garibaldi let us both ride his motorcycle, I – made a mistake in my excitement and threw my arms around Lennier. He was mortified, and I was terribly sorry about the whole thing for weeks. I couldn’t even talk to him without blushing.
But I’m not like Londo, either. I believe the Earther word for Londo is “raconteur.” What I mean is, Londo can walk into a room of almost complete strangers and keep them entertained for hours, especially when he’s in his cups. And what’s more, he likes to do that. He never gets tired at a party. I’ve seen him stay up drinking and laughing with people in the casino until Babylon 5 Standard morning – when he doesn’t pass out beforehand, at least.
When I arrived on Babylon 5 years ago, the first thing Londo asked me to do was prepare his ja’ala - which I’ve since discovered is actually a pretty effective hangover cure.
It may be difficult for you believe this – and I understand why, I do – but Londo’s capacity for friendship – his capacity for love – is boundless. And when he chooses not to act upon his natural impulses for reasons of ambition, patriotism, or anything else, he is miserable. The past few years, Londo has, through his own choices, locked himself out of the company of most other people. There are very few who trust Londo now – and very few Londo trusts in return. And as a consequence, I have been forced to watch as my friend dies a little bit more with every passing day.
It’s not natural for Londo to be alone. He needs companionship almost like we all need air. Isolation is a torment – one he has brought upon himself, yes, but a torment just the same.
I’m not like Londo. I’ve had to learn how to be happy alone. But that’s not my first choice – solitude, I mean. Which is something I never even knew about myself until I was sent to Babylon 5 – until Londo called me his friend and told me he had confidence in me. Londo showed me what I was missing.
(x-posted on the mun's journal)