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Synopsis by Arturo Magidin (magidin@math.berkeley.edu)

Sheridan and Delenn are sleeping in her quarters when she is awakened by a call. The caller, Ruell, has received a message, ostensibly from Delenn, indicating that Lennier will return to Minbar permanently. Ruell is calling to arrange for a replacement, or as many replacements as Delenn may desire. But this is the first Delenn has heard about it.

Meanwhile, Londo, Vir and Zack Allan are in Impound Area 31. Londo is protesting the impounding of his very fine brevare; Babylon 5 has had a problem with infestations recently, and Zack's orders are that all foods are to be impounded for three days. Londo grows ever more annoyed and abusive, and Vir takes Zack aside to talk to him. Londo seizes the opportunity to open a bottle and take a drink. A few seconds later, he drops the bottle and falls convulsing on the floor. Londo is taken to Medlab, where Dr. Franklin takes over.

Lennier enters Delenn's quarters and begins discussing her schedule for the day. But Delenn tells him of Ruell's call and asks for an explanation. Lennier, who was planning on telling her later that day, is surprised that Ruell moved so fast. He awkwardly explains he does not feel needed anymore, now that Sheridan has become Delenn's "other half." He feels in the way and uncomfortable, but he does not blame either Delenn or Sheridan.

"I know why," whispers Delenn, which only makes the surprised Lennier even more uncomfortable. He assures her he will keep his vow of being ever at her side should she need him, but he has decided to join the Rangers and has been accepted. Despite the dangers involved in being a Ranger, he will leave the following morning. Ever since Marcus' death, explains Lennier, he has felt a loss of a part of himself, a part he hopes to find again this way. He also hopes to earn Delenn's respect. "You always had my respect," says Delenn. "Yes, in most ways," replies Lennier. "But I only wish to add a few more, to become more of what you may want me to be; more of what you may find... My decision is made," he concludes. He promises to visit between training cycles, but he assures Delenn that this is the calling of his heart and he must follow it.

Garibaldi finds Vir in the Zocalo, and explains that Londo was not poisoned. He has suffered a serious heart attack to the left heart. As Franklin explains to Sheridan in MedLab, because of Centauri physiology, there isn't much he can do to help Londo. Londo's diet and stress have seriously affected his health, and he is not responding well to therapy. Centauri Prime is sending an artificial heart system, but it will take at least three days to get to Babylon 5. The best Franklin can promise is to keep Londo alive 24 hours on life support.

Late in the evening, Delenn is standing watch over the unconscious Londo. Sheridan joins her, and they agree that, despite everything, they will miss Londo if he dies. Sheridan also brings up Lennier's recent decision, and Delenn confirms Sheridan's fear that Sheridan is at least part of the reason Lennier has decided to leave.

Before they leave, Sheridan explains that if Londo makes it through the night, he has a chance. But at this point it is no longer up to medical science or Dr. Franklin. Londo himself must fight to make it through. "Good luck, Mollari. Good luck," says Delenn softly, and they both leave MedLab.

Meanwhile, Londo is dreaming. He is somewhere in Down Below, and he hears Delenn's disembodied voice wishing him luck. He wanders a bit looking for her, and eventually enters a dark room, where a figure is veiled and shrouded in black. It is Delenn, who invites him to sit. She tells Londo that he is dying. "I know," he replies.

"Do you want to live?" asks Delenn. "What difference does it make?" replies Londo. Besides, he says, it is better to die this way than at G'Kar's hands, which he has dreamt for twenty years now. Perhaps he should die now, to spite fate if nothing else.

"Do you want to live?" asks Delenn again. "What difference does it make?" replies Londo yet again. Nobody in Centauri Prime cares one way or another. Delenn lifts her veil, revealing her face, and asks yet again. "Do you want to live?" Londo does not respond, and Delenn tells him she is not allowed to ask again. "Yes. Yes, I want to live," whispers Londo.

But that isn't enough, says Delenn. A word is also required, she adds, but she will not explain what she means. "I do not understand," says Londo to himself. "Yes you do," replies the disembodied voice of Delenn. Londo finds himself alone in darkness, and as he turns and walks into it, the silhouette of G'Kar appears next to him.

Vir is sitting at the bar in the Zocalo, nursing a drink, when he is joined by Lennier. They start to talk, each having heard about the situation the other is going through. Eventually, they stand up to leave. Vir promises to catch up with Lennier on the latter's next visit, and says goodbye using the traditional Minbari farewell. But overcome, he then hugs the clearly uncomfortable Lennier before they each go their separate ways.

In his dream, Londo is walking towards the bar in the Zocalo. The Zocalo is empty, as is the bar and all the bottles in it. But suddenly, Sheridan is sitting next to him. Londo asks him if one ever gets used to being dead, and Sheridan replies that he was only dead long enough to know he didn't like it. As they walk away from the bar, Sheridan asks Londo about the latter's prophetic dream of his own death. Londo tells him he has always felt Sheridan would be there, but has never been able to understand that part. Finally, Londo tells Sheridan he does not want to die. "Then turn around," answers Sheridan. Londo is startled, but doesn't turn. "Turn around," repeats Sheridan, more sternly. "I cannot! Don't you understand?" whispers Londo, who can sense that standing behind him is G'Kar. "Then you'll die," says Sheridan simply, and turns into a ball of light and disappears.

Meanwhile, Londo's body continues to deteriorate. In a desperate bid to keep him alive, Franklin injects a drug directly into the left heart, causing Londo to clutch at his chest in agony inside his dream. Franklin stabilizes Londo, but the latter's body is under too much strain and will not be able to take this much longer. With only a few hours left until morning, Franklin decides to stay at Londo's bedside should anything occur. "A deathwatch?" asks Vir, who has just walked into MedLab. "Maybe," answers Franklin. "We'll just have to wait and see."

Londo is lying on the floor in the darkness of his dream. "I don't want to die," he pleads sobbing. "Please, Great Maker, I don't want to die! Not like this, please!"

"You are afraid," says Vir inside the dream. "Yes," answers Londo. "Then don't die," replies Vir, echoing his words at Londo's bedside. Londo doesn't think he has a choice, but in the dream Vir disagrees. There is a choice to make, but it must be made quickly.

"What is wrong with me?" asks Londo. "Your heart can no longer bear the weight of your conscience," replies Vir. Londo claims there is nothing wrong with his conscience, but refuses to turn around at Vir's urging, again sensing G'Kar behind him. He invokes the prophetic dream of his death as proof that he will survive this, but Vir disagrees. "Prophecy is a guess that comes true. When it doesn't, it becomes a metaphor," says Vir, adding, "You are out of time, Londo. Turn around!" "I can't. I don't know what he wants of me!" complains Londo. "Yes you do!" replies Vir. Londo answers that perhaps his death would be for the best, but Vir disagrees. "No, not for the best. Because I will miss you." "And I suppose," replies Londo, touched by Vir's sentiment, "that I will miss you." Londo turns and walks into the darkness.

His body goes into shock, as Franklin calls for a trauma team. G'Kar enters MedLab silently, and watches as Londo starts convulsing. "Now, Mollari," says G'Kar in Londo's dream. "Now we end this."

Then G'Kar and Londo are in the Throne Room of the Imperial Palace in Centauri Prime, where Londo claims he does not want the throne. G'Kar tells him it is because he knows he does not deserve it. He reminds Londo that he stayed silent and said nothing when the Centauri used asteroids and mass drivers on the Narn homeworld ("The Long, Twilight Struggle.") Then they find themselves in Emperor Cartagia's Shadow Cabinet room, where G'Kar was whipped ("The Summoning.") G'Kar reminds him of the torture he endured at Cartagia's orders, and again accuses Londo of saying nothing while he witnessed it. "It would not have mattered!" counters Londo. "It wouldn't have changed anything, it wouldn't have stopped." "You are wrong, Mollari," says G'Kar. "Whether it was me or my world, whether it was a total stranger or your worst enemy, you were a witness! It doesn't matter if they stopped, it doesn't matter if they listened. You had an obligation to speak out!" "I couldn't!" "And that is why," concludes G'Kar, "you don't deserve to be Emperor."

Londo clutches at his left heart, and G'Kar tells him he is only moments away from dying. "There must be something I can do," pleads Londo. "Only one word was required of you the first time we stood here, and only one word is required now," replies G'Kar. Londo reaches out to grab at G'Kar, but finds himself chained to a column, dressed in rags. G'Kar, sitting in Cartagia's place, demands a word, a single word, as Londo is whipped with the electro-whip. At the same time, Franklin is delivering electric shocks to Londo's body, trying to get his hearts beating again. At the 39th stroke of the whip, Londo screams in his dream, and his hearts begin to beat weakly but steadily.

Londo, again standing in the darkness, pleads for his life, sobbing. G'Kar, towering above him, explains that Londo is not sorry for what he did, but only for getting caught, for almost destroying his homeworld. Despite his denials at these accusations, Londo does not say the word; he has never apologized for anything in his life. "It's your life, Mollari," says G'Kar. "Make of it what you will." He leaves Londo, now crying openly, alone.

"I'm sorry!" yells Londo finally, as his condition stabilizes and his left heart begins to operate normally. Londo wakes up and sees G'Kar standing silently close to his bed. With growing strength, he says: "Sorry... Sorry... I'm sorry, G'Kar... I'm sorry." G'Kar is deeply affected and walks out of MedLab, leaving the flabbergasted Vir behind. Londo falls back asleep.

Londo, much recovered, is complaining to Vir about the food in Medlab, and how he will not be able to cut down on the stress, either on Babylon 5 or on Centauri Prime, should he return. "The Universe is an evil place," says Londo. "But at least it has a sense of humor."

In Docking Bay 4, Lennier waits for his transport to come. Just as Rangers walk in and go into formation, Delenn enters and complains that Lennier didn't even say goodbye. "No, never goodbye," replies Lennier. "I'm yours forever, Delenn, heart, body and soul. I will see you again in a little while, and with luck, I will perhaps be a better person." "That is not possible, Lennier," says Delenn, "but you are welcome to try. Be well, my good and dear friend." "And you," replies Lennier, then joins the Rangers and leaves. Sheridan enters the bay and silently embraces Delenn, as they walk back to the station.


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Last update: May 6, 1998