A solemn-looking man, known to us only as "Knight Two," has arrived on Babylon 5. Shortly after his arrival, he sees another man ("Knight One") in the waiting area and moves over to him quietly.
Meanwhile, right outside the waiting area, a security officer named Benson is getting beaten up by two gamblers to whom he owes a significant sum of money. The gamblers threaten him with death if he does not pay them within 24 hours.
Knight Two has moved into his quarters. Knight One arrives, bringing a three-dimensional image projector with him. He activates it, and it shows a lifelike picture of Commander Sinclair. "I've identified the target," he says.
Sinclair and Garibaldi have summoned security officer Benson in order to question him about possible debts he's been accumulating. They inform Benson that B5 security officers are strictly limited in their gambling--if an officer becomes indebted to the "wrong people," he would become vulnerable to blackmail, resulting in a security risk to the station. Garibaldi claims to have information that Benson has been exceeding the gambling limits, but Benson insists that he's done nothing wrong. Sinclair, however, not wanting to take any chances, removes Benson from the active duty roster pending an investigation in the matter. After Benson leaves, Garibaldi comments that he believes Benson is lying.
"Everyone lies, Michael," replies Sinclair. "The innocent lie because they don't want to be blamed for something they didn't do, and the guilty lie because they don't have any other choice." Knight Two and Knight One are building a complex gadget in Knight Two's quarters. They have everything they need except for a power source; Knight One claims that it is impossible to smuggle an energy source onto the station because it would be picked up by the scanners. "So I improvised. It'll be here."
Benson, in the meantime, has stealthily made his way to a storage room ...
In the medical lab, Dr. Franklin is examining Delenn. He expresses his thanks to Delenn for allowing him to examine her; he says that he rarely gets the chance to examine Minbari--unless there's something wrong with one of them; he says that to have data on a healthy Minbari will give him a basis from which to operate. After the examination, Delenn rises and asks Franklin about a rumor she heard from one of the other doctors--that Franklin used to hitchhike aboard spaceships. Franklin confirms this rumor; he had "wanted to see it all," so he traded his services as a doctor in exchange for free passage on various ships. He explains how he did this until the Earth-Minbari war started, but then pauses. Delenn asks him if he was involved in the war. He replies that toward the end of the war, all xenobiologists were asked by Earth Force to turn over their notes on Minbari physiology so that effective genetic and biological weapons could be created. Delenn asks him if he did, indeed, hand over his notes.
"I took an oath that all life is sacred. I destroyed my notes rather than have them used for killing," he answers.
Delenn smiles and thanks him. When Franklin asks her, however, what her involvement in the war was, she only answers that the matter is "a topic for another time."
Benson, after securing an energy pod from the storage area, delivers it to Knight Two's quarters. The Knights promise to pay him promptly. After Benson leaves, the Knights connect the energy supply to the device they've been building. "I think we're ready to proceed," they agree.
Sinclair, asleep in his quarters, is having a traumatic dream about the Battle of the Line, the final battle of the Earth-Minbari war. Sinclair's squadron is fighting a Minbari cruiser. One of Sinclair's friends, Mitchell, ignores one of Sinclair's suggestions and breaks from formation, feeling that he can get a clear shot at the Minbari ship. Sinclair has a feeling, however, that Mitchell is entering a trap. Just as he realizes that his friend is about to die ... he wakes up and rises to get himself a drink. As he looks around his room, he notices that his computer is not working. He calls a maintenance team, but there is no response. Worried, he calls security; again, there is no response. He gets dressed quickly and leaves his quarters, running to the bridge.
Sinclair on his way to the bridge.
When he gets to the bridge, however, it is empty, and the computer is not activated. He tries communicating with Earth Central, but does not receive a response. Finally, he attempts to activate the computer; at length, the computer responds. Sinclair, slightly relieved, asks the computer if an evacuation of B5 has been ordered; the computer replies that there was no evacuation. Sinclair then asks the computer to scan for other life forms on B5; sure enough, the computer finds one other life form and notifies Sinclair of the life form's position. Sinclair runs to the location, but finds nothing at first. "What the hell is going on around here," he asks himself.
Suddenly, the lights in the corridor start flashing off, one by one, and a mysterious voice answers him. "Maybe you're asleep. Maybe you're insane. Maybe you're dead. Maybe you're in Hell. Not that it matters much, Commander Sinclair, because wherever you are, wherever you go, you're mine!" Sinclair turns around to find Knight Two staring at him.
Delenn has arrived at Garibaldi's quarters. She appears concerned and tells Garibaldi that she was supposed to meet with Sinclair an hour before. Garibaldi calls Sinclair and receives no response; sharing now in Delenn's concern, he begins to search for Sinclair personally.
Sinclair angrily asks Knight Two what he's done to Babylon 5; Knight Two replies that he hasn't done anything. He explains to Sinclair that they are both inside a "cerebral matrix" (a "virtual-reality cybernet"). "It's shadow-play," explains Knight Two, "without form or substance. But I'm real, commander, and you're real. And the pain--the pain for you is also real." Knight Two steps back, and a "cerebral discharge" surrounds Sinclair, putting him through agonizing pain.
Garibaldi has rushed to Sinclair's quarters. When he enters the quarters, however, he finds them empty. Alarmed, he contacts Ivanova and explains the situation to her.
Knight Two, outside the matrix, orders Knight One to cut the cerebral discharge. Inside the matrix, he begins to speak with Sinclair again. He notices how important the station is to Sinclair--how his thoughts seem to be rooted in Babylon 5. He explains to Sinclair that they will "walk together across the bridge of synapses and neurons into the very heart of your memories" in order to find the truth about what happened to Sinclair at the Battle of the Line. Knight Two tells Sinclair that he doesn't believe the testimony that Sinclair gave to Earth Force Defense after the war: that, during the twenty-four hour period where he was out of contact with Earth Force Defense, he merely blacked out. "We're finally going to get to the truth," Knight Two says, "even if it kills you."
Garibaldi, Ivanova, and Dr. Franklin are discussing strategies to find Sinclair. Garibaldi has organized a search party, drawn from all nonessential B5 personnel, but that the search still might take a few days. Franklin warns that "a few days" might be too long if Sinclair were injured. Ivanova has contacted a nearby station and asked them to track any ships that have left B5 in the last eight hours. Garibaldi suggests that they also send a few maintenance "bots" to patrol the hull of B5--"If someone shoved [Sinclair's body] outside, the station's gravity won't let it get far. Just in case."
"Mr. Garibaldi," Ivanova replies, "there are days I'm very glad I don't have to think the way you do."
Meanwhile, inside Sinclair's mind, Knight Two is continuing his probing into Sinclair's mind. "Your name is Jeffrey David Sinclair. Rank: commander. Age: 39. Born on Mars Colony, May 3, 2218, 9:15 A.M., Earth Standard Time. Enlisted in Earth Force Defense, 2237; promoted to fighter pilot, 2240; promoted again to squad leader less than a year later.... Smart money said you'd make admiral one day. So what happened, commander? Why'd you fall off the merry-go-round?"
Sinclair listens to his dossier.
Sinclair merely tells him to "go to hell." He refuses to tell Knight Two anything. "I'm betting you don't have a lot of time. Security's probably tearing this place upside down, looking for me."
"Assuming you're still on Babylon 5," replies Knight Two. Proceeding with his search for information, Knight Two tries to get Sinclair to reveal "the truth" by conjuring up an image of Mitchell, Sinclair's old friend and fellow officer who died in the Battle of the Line. Knight Two's plan appears to be working, because as soon as Sinclair sees Mitchell, his old memories of the Battle of the Line spring to the forefront of his mind. Sinclair relives the battle--he sees again what he saw in his dream, except that this time, he actually sees Mitchell's ship exploding. After that part of the battle plays itself out, Mitchell begins to speak with Sinclair again. At first, Sinclair refuses to speak with Mitchell; he tells himself that Mitchell's image is just an illusion. When Mitchell, however, accuses Sinclair of being a traitor ("We fought for you. We fought beside you on the Line. We swore we would all go down together, but you're alive, and we're dead, because of you!" says Mitchell), Sinclair feels that he has to respond. He replies, "I tried! I tried!"
"Tried to do what, commander?" asks Knight Two.
Sinclair answers by reliving the part of the Battle of the Line where he tries to ram the Minbari cruiser. Knight Two urges Sinclair to continue because, as Sinclair himself said, all of the incidents which Knight Two has seen so far were in Sinclair's original report of the battle ten years ago. Sinclair, however, claims that he cannot continue--"I don't remember. I blacked out. I've never been able to remember!"
Knight Two moves closer to Sinclair. "You don't want to remember! You don't want to remember the twenty-four hours in which you betrayed your own race. The day you became a traitor. The day you sold out--"
"That's enough!" screams Sinclair. As he says this, he suddenly hits Knight Two in the stomach. Knight Two, taken by surprise, vanishes from the matrix without a trace. "Well, well. Looks like the pain is real for both of us," comments Sinclair.
Delenn is talking with Ivanova; Delenn explains how concerned she is and offers her assistance in finding Sinclair, but Ivanova says that they're already doing everything they can to find Sinclair. Delenn suggests the use of the station's telepath, Talia Winters, but Ivanova explains that Winters is only a P-5 and, consequently, needs to be in close proximity with people in order to scan them. Winter's isn't trained, according to Ivanova, for a search-and-recover mission.
Knight One, meanwhile, is concerned about Knight Two, who snapped out of the cybernet suddenly. Knight Two, however, claims that he's all right. He says that he needs to be put back into the cybernet quickly, for Sinclair was right--they don't have much time. Knight One estimates that the search parties on the station will find them on B5 in about four hours. "He's tough. Breaking him isn't going to be easy," says Knight Two. Knight Two orders Knight One to increase both the power of the cybernet and the dosage of psychotropic drugs with which Sinclair is being injected. "We're close.... The more I walk through his mind, the more I'm convinced he's hiding something," explains Knight Two.
One of the security officers is giving a report to Garibaldi. He explains how, although the search teams have covered a lot of territory, there still is no sign of Sinclair. Garibaldi orders the officer to split the search teams into even smaller units--he also orders the officer to bring in every possible available officer. The officer explains how he's already brought in everyone--"even Benson." Garibaldi is annoyed that Benson was brought back to duty, but the security officer explains that he checked Benson's record, and Benson isn't in any debts. In fact, he says, there's even a surplus in Benson's account. Garibaldi, however, is suspicious, for the other day, the account was empty. He checks the account again and finds that one very large deposit was made, followed by numerous withdrawals. Garibaldi assumes that these withdrawals were used to pay off debts--and notes that the large deposit was made only four hours before Sinclair was known to be missing. Garibaldi orders the security officer to find and bring back Benson for questioning.
Knight Two has reentered the cybernet. Again, he asks Sinclair for the truth about the Battle of the Line. Sinclair suddenly finds himself surrounded by a circle of people wearing grey cloaks. "What are you doing here?" he asks. "What do you want?" Before he receives an answer, however, one of the grey figures shoots him.
Meanwhile, Benson has arrived at Knight Two's quarters. When Knight One answers the door, Benson frantically asks for protection. "You've got to help me. The whole station's looking for me. They think I had something to do with the commander's disapp--" Suddenly, Benson hears a scream from the back of the room. He curiously enters the quarters and is surprised to find Commander Sinclair attached to the cybernet device. He's not given the chance to think about it for too long, however, for Knight One shoots Benson almost immediately.
Back in the cybernet, Knight Two confronts Sinclair about the grey figures. He asks Sinclair to reveal what he's hiding, but Sinclair insists that he's not hiding anything.
"We all hide things, commander. That's why we bounced back [to the station] again, isn't it? This is where you hide, behind duty and responsibility and obligation," says Knight Two.
"Things you'd never understand!" replies Sinclair.
Knight Two disagrees, however. "We're both patriots in our own way. If I fail, more will come after me until the job is finished." He presses Sinclair again, telling him that they're going to find out what Sinclair is hiding.
Some security officers have found a body floating outside the hull of Babylon 5. The body turns out to be Benson's.
Meanwhile, in the cybernet, Knight Two is again expressing his disbelief at Sinclair's rendition of the events at the Line. Knight Two asserts that Sinclair could not have simply blacked out, for his ship "disappeared" from the sensing screens. Sinclair, however, counters that the postwar hearings proved that the screens malfunctioned. Knight Two explains what he believes to be the sequence of events that occurred at the Line: The Minbari (Knight Two says) realized the extent and power of Earth Force defense and realized how difficult it would be to invade Earth. Therefore, they surrendered and decided to work through more covert means. At the Battle of the Line, Sinclair surrendered to the Minbari rather than give up his life. The Minbari took him aboard and asked him to work for them--to be a covert operative. "You agreed [to work for them]. You and God-knows-how-many-other people."
"You're insane. I never betrayed Earth," insists Sinclair, but Knight Two questions him--if Sinclair doesn't remember what happened, how can he be sure he wasn't a traitor?
Sinclair, however, becomes annoyed with Knight Two: "That's enough! You talk about the war. You talk about Mitchell and the rest, but you didn't know them. They were my friends. I watched them die, one by one. For years afterwards, whenever I saw a Minbari, I had to fight the urge to strangle them with my bare hands.... We never had a chance.... When I looked at those ships, I didn't just see my death. I saw the death of the whole damn human race."
"Then why did they surrender?" asks Knight Two.
"I don't know. Maybe the universe blinked. Maybe God changed his mind. All I know is that we got a second chance."
Knight Two is still skeptical. He asks Sinclair if anything has ever made him doubt his story--that he simply "blacked out." Sinclair replies that nothing ever made him question it--except for what the Minbari who tried to kill Ambassador Kosh said to him: "There is a hole in your mind." (cf: "The Gathering") At Knight Two's further prompting--and after Knight Two convinces Sinclair that Sinclair, himself, wants to know what happened-- Sinclair allows his memories to overcome him again. He again experiences the Battle of the Line. He sees what he has seen before; except, this time, the take him further. The Minbari cruiser stops his attempt to ram into it. The cruiser uses some type of energy field to pull Sinclair's ship in. Sinclair is taken aboard the cruiser and transported to a room where a bunch of grey figures stand. At first, he is hanging in the air, arms bound to the bottom of a triangular metal frame. One of the figures holds up a small metal device (cf. "Babylon Squared") that shimmers with some kind of energy.
Later, the grey figures form a circle around Sinclair, who has been freed. Suddenly, he moves over to one of the grey figures and pulls back the veil that covers the figure's face. "I know you. I know who you are. I know you," says Sinclair. Before he can say any more, however, another grey figure shoots him and knocks him out.
Outside the cybernet, however, Sinclair gathers up enough strength to break the shackles that bind him to the cybernet device. As he disconnects from the machine, the feedback knocks out Knight Two. Knight One storms into the room, but Sinclair punches him, knocking him out. He picks up a gun and escapes from the room. He is delusional, however; he mumbles to himself about how the Minbari have broken through and how he must get back to his ship.
Sinclair begins running through B5's corridors. One officer, a member of the search party, sees Sinclair and beckons to him. Sinclair, however, in his delusional state, believes she is a Minbari and shoots at her. Fortunately, he does not kill her, and she links in with Ivanova. She begins to explain that she has seen the commander; however, before she can finish, Knight One shoots her in the back.
Knight One follows Sinclair; they shoot at each other unsuccessfully. Garibaldi finally finds Sinclair, but is utterly surprised when he is shot at by his commander. Dr. Franklin, a few seconds later, links in and informs Garibaldi that he has found the room where he believes Sinclair was held. Franklin believes that Sinclair may have been given large dosages of psychotropic drugs and may consequently be delusional or even dangerous.
As Garibaldi is hiding under a table, Delenn enters the room and approaches Sinclair slowly. She ignores Garibaldi's warnings and continues her approach. When she gets close enough to Sinclair, she tells him that he's safe now and that nobody will harm him. He doesn't listen to her, however; he can only picture the unveiling of the grey figure ten years ago--the grey figure who he now knows to be Delenn, though she looked younger then and had a silver triangle on her forehead. "I know you!" he tells her.
"I'm your friend, commander. Ambassador Delenn. Your friend," she replies.
"No!" he says, as he raises his gun. For a moment, it appears as if he's going to shoot her. Instead, however, he points his gun in a slightly different direction and shoots Knight One, who had just arisen and was about to shoot at Sinclair. Knight One drops to the floor, dead.
"Welcome home," says Delenn.
One day later, Sinclair awakes in the medical lab. Dr. Franklin has finally flushed the psychotropic drugs from Sinclair's system. Sinclair asks to see Knight Two, who has been taken; Garibaldi replies, however, that Knight Two is about to leave the station. Earth Central has decided to exercise jurisdiction in this case because they believe Knight Two to be a member of an organization which wishes to implicate members of the government as being traitors to the Minbari (in fact, there are even rumors that the organization is a covert operation run from within the government itself). Franklin explains that he doesn't think the trial will reveal much, because when Sinclair disconnected himself from the cybernet device, the feedback "fried most of [Knight Two's] memory." Sinclair still, however, wishes to see his former captor. As expected, Knight Two reveals little information--in fact, he even claims that he cannot remember his own name. However, just as he's walking away from Sinclair, he turns around and says, "Commander Sinclair, there's something in my head. It says, 'Maybe you're still inside. Maybe we're both still inside.'"
Sinclair goes to visit Delenn in her quarters. He thanks her for her help in rescuing him--he notes that it's strange that seeing her was the only thing that could help him. As he is about to leave her quarters, she asks him if he remembers anything concerning the Battle of the Line? He pictures in his mind the unveiling of the mysterious grey figure; aloud, however, he says that he cannot, unfortunately, remember anything. It is not clear whether Delenn knows he's lying or not. After Sinclair leaves, a Minbari man, silver triangle on his head, arrives from another room in Delenn's quarters. "He must never know what happened. If he should find out, he must be killed. Do you understand, Delenn?" says this man. Delenn replies that she does, indeed, understand.
Sinclair, alone finally in his quarters, is making an entry in his personal log: "I remember. I was taken inside a Minbari cruiser, interrogated, tortured. Was that the Grey Council? Maybe. Maybe. Before they surrendered, they must have blanked my memory and let me go. And Delenn--what was she doing there? What is it they don't want me to remember? I have to find out. I have to!"
Shawn Bayern email@example.com