“At year's end, we count how many of our people survived, and celebrate our good fortune!”
Sounds like a Centauri Thanksgiving to me!
Anyhow, here is the first segment I've managed to finish, set during A Certain Late Fifth Season EpisodeTM. Those who have not seen the end of the fifth season should turn back now. As for the rest of you, well... I would be interested to hear what you think.
It is the end of the year 2262. Nine and a half billion Centauri are still alive on eleven worlds. Just weeks before the Celebration, an acrid cloud of smoke hangs over a wounded city.
Vir steps off his transport and into a vast ruin. Broken, jagged buildings line city avenues as far as the eye can see and beyond, their roofs torn open to the sky and smoldering. Some of these buildings are marked with Centauri symbols drawn with luminescent paint: ”No survivors remain.” Taking this in, Vir swallows hard and continues forth, his boots squelching in black water which runs through the rubble-strewn street. In the distance, the palace still stands, and this sustains Vir’s hope that his friend is all right.
At the outskirts of the city, the people Vir pass move slowly, living in the ether between shock and grief where there is nothing left but a determination to survive. But as he nears the imperial grounds, the pace of the city quickens. Expectant crowds are gathering outside the palace. They are waiting for succor. For an explanation. For a call to arms. Vir can hear these things in snippets of conversation he manages to decipher between civil defense alarms. The people will not be happy with the terms of their government’s surrender.
One group of men is gathered by a shattered fountain; they are pulling something out of the fetid water. It is a long moment before Vir realizes that it is a body they are recovering, boiled beyond recognition, its ruin of a mouth frozen open in a silent scream. Gagging, Vir turns away and breaks into a stumbling run.
“Have you seen the damage?” Londo asks Vir when Vir finds him at last. There is a new despair in Londo’s eyes- and a light of terror as well. But billions of Centauri still live, including Londo Mollari. All of this can still be fixed.
And in case you're curious, the remaining four ficlets will be set in 2258, 2260, 2271, and 2278. Oh, and the segments will ultimately be arranged in chronological order.