Contents: Overview - Backplot - Questions - Analysis - Notes - JMS
The return of Babylon 4 leads the crew to a dangerous encounter and Delenn to revelations about the life of Valen.
Issue 13 (February 1998)
Setting: Season four, after "Into the Fire"
Writer: Peter David Artist: Mike Collins
Aboard the flagship of a Tak'Cha fleet, Ramdela Cozon informs Ramde Haxtur that a problem has arisen, requiring that they abandon their salvage of several Pakkel ships. They have lost contact with Ende X'ton (what they call Babylon 4) and suspect the presence of alien savages on the station. Angry at the galaxy's capacity for violence, Haxtur recalls his salvage team and sets out to stop the savages. However, this will mean that the Pakkel will eventually die without their help, and so he orders their destruction as a "mercy killing."
Ivanova dozes off briefly, and is startled when Sheridan awakens her. She chastises herself for sleeping during an emergency, vowing to stay focused. Concerned, Sheridan checks her wrist readout and discovers that her rebreathing gear is feeding her too much carbon dioxide. He adjusts her air levels, and she is no longer sleepy.
Sheridan invites Delenn to take a break after so many hours of studying the tapes. She turns to him, crying, and recounts what she has learned: Nukenn, upon learning that his son Tulan died fighting for Valen, had flown into a fit of rage and shattered a plate glass window, cursing Valen's name. Valen watched him do this, then asked Nukenn to accompany him to Mount H'leya, a peak from which Valen had delivered his holy "Times to Come" speech. Valen spoke to Nukenn of the battle, of the castes' potential uniting, and of the Shadows' eventual return. Finally, he said:
"Your son... should not have come with me," because he was a gentle soul who was transformed by battle from something delicate to something hard and unyielding. He offered to let Nukenn take his rage out on him, but when Nukenn saw that Valen had somehow had the window rebuilt during the short span of their talk, his faith in Valen was renewed.
Garibaldi informs Sheridan that he has discovered rock patterns left in the wall of the station, which he believes might be ancient graffiti. Strangely, it is written in an ancient style of Minbari (similar to Earth's Old English) and translates as "Z'ondar." Delenn does not know what the word means, and so she returns to her studies of Valen's disciples as Sheridan and Garibaldi head to the launch bay to see if any fighter ships are still functional.
Delenn finds another account from Rashok, as follows: Rashok once felt that his people were doomed, but found new faith under Valen and relished the chance to fight alongside him, "for he was unafraid to lead us into the heart of the battle. It was as if he knew that triumph was inevitable. From his confidence... flowed our own."
In the name of Valen, according to Rashok's recording, the Minbari took on the Shadows with the aid of various alien allies. Later, when Rashok tried to tell Valen that the castes (inspired by Valen's victory over the Shadows) had finally united, he found Valen weeping for the many who had died on all sides during the battle. Zathras asked Rashok to wait until a later time to tell him the news; Rashok had little use for this strange alien and attempted to continue on to Valen, but Zathras knocked him down forcefully and refused to let him pass. Rashok, impressed by Zathras' loyalty and strength, conceded.
Delenn stops studying the tapes to tell Sheridan that she has found many references to a race called the Tak'Cha. She says she is not familiar with this race. Meanwhile, Garibaldi is getting frustrated at his complete lack of success in getting any of the fighters operational. He hits one of the ships, and to his surprise, it starts up. Sheridan delivers the good news to Ivanova, who replies, "That's... real good, sir... Now if you can fix another two dozen or so within the next thirty seconds, we should be in great shape." Sheridan looks outside... to find an entire fleet of Tak'Cha ships facing them down.