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Synopsis by Katrina Glerum (kat@midwinter.com)

A very aggrieved Zack is being subjected to a Minbari fitting of his new uniform. His mocking of the ceremonial piping and general Minbari fashion sense earns him a pointed reminder about looking gift horses in the mouth. Zack admits to Lennier that he's really upset about taking the Chief's rightful place. He insists that it's temporary though.

Greeting a Minbari delegation at the gate, Delenn requests one more day to spend with Sheridan. She promises to tell him where she is going, but not why. She is quite unsettled when the lead delegate suggests that it would be more honest to tell the Captain that if the Dreaming does not go well, she will not be permitted to return to him.

Wearing her green Drazi leader's sash, Ivanova makes her way to a Drazi religious party.

Dr. Franklin is fitting G'Kar with a new prosthetic eye. G'Kar's initial outrage when he realizes it's not his natural color dissipates quickly when Franklin mentions that it will keep sending signals even when it is removed from the socket. G'Kar instantly pops it out and waves at himself at arm's length.

On his way to Delenn's quarters, Sheridan passes a lift just as a battered, bedraggled Commander Ivanova emerges supporting herself on a cane. "Don't - Even - Ask," she utters and hobbles painfully away.

Sheridan shakes his head, and enters Delenn's room. She greets him wearing a sleek and revealing gown. He is pleased but baffled. She reminds him of the Minbari custom of women watching men sleep for three nights to determine their true nature, and requests that this be their third night because tomorrow she must leave. He is happy to agree, but it's clear from her indisposure that she isn't telling him everything.

He has to leave it unquestioned though and head off to a meeting with Franklin and Marcus. Fed up with President Clark's lies about the station, Sheridan has decided to send them on a mission to Mars to begin their retaliation. Franklin offers to ask a few questions about the Captain's missing father while they're there, but the Captain declines. It would only endanger the resistance.

Delenn caresses John's sleeping face in farewell and departs. She fails to notice Lennier waiting for her in the corridor. "I have pledged myself to your side," he reminds her. She cannot leave him behind.

And so Delenn returns to Minbar where she is brought before her clan. The clan leader, Callenn, disapproves of her liaison with Sheridan. Taking an offworlder as mate has been forbidden since Minbari first contacted other races. He claims that he seeks to only understand her decision, not judge it hastily, and thus she must submit to the Dreaming to discover the reasons for her actions and agree to obey her clan's ruling on the subject.

Lennier volunteers as her second, to protect her in the Dreaming. They both take deep draughts from a ceremonial chalice, then enter through a guarded door into a room filled with mist. Lennier recognizes from her actions that this is not the first time Delenn has been in the Dreaming. Once as an acolyte she was second to Dukhat. She begins to relive that time when she attended the greatest of the Minbari and was terrified.

"There's nothing to fear in the Dreaming. Only that which we take with us," he told her.

Suddenly she was on a ship being attacked. Dukhat, dead in her arms. She screamed and screams, then and now.

Her eyes black with horror, Delenn is comforted by Lennier.

She plunges back into the past again. Delenn was curtly summoned by Dukhat as he strode swiftly past her down a corridor. Glancing nervously at her fellow acolytes she followed him humbly into the Grey Council Chambers. As he stalked around the circle, he began to tell her how the Grey Council had decided not to make contact with a recently discovered species known as "Humans." He called them silly cowards, drew her into the middle of their circle and asked her what she would do. After stammering a little she replied, these humans are a mystery presented by the Universe as a gift.

Dukhat crowed with delight. This foolish young acolyte, he chided the Council, carries the attribute of simple curiosity which you have lost.

Since he had thus alienated her from every member of the Council, Dukhat took charge over Delenn's education. He instructed her to look him in the eyes. "I cannot have an aide who will not look up," he said. "You will be forever running into things."

Presiding over the Council years later, Dukhat watched Delenn become a member. As she uttered the sacred oath and held her hand up to the triluminary, it suddenly glowed blue. The other Council members were visibly surprised and disturbed.

Later in her quarters, Dukhat congratulated Delenn again and began to answer her question about the triluminary. It was brought by Valen, and one story was that Valen was from far in the future. He had just started explaining why he selected Delenn as his protégé long ago when they were interrupted by a chiming.

From the Council chambers they noticed a fleet of unknown ships approaching. Delenn recognized them as humans. Suddenly they noticed with horror that circling the scene was a group of Soul Hunter ships. Dukhat ordered the gun ports closed on their ship, but the Earth ships opened fire and in the battle Dukhat was struck down. With the Council divided between taking revenge or taking stock, it was Delenn who cast the determining vote to pursue the humans without mercy.

The war became a holy war, relentless and all-consuming. Even though she regretted her moment of rage soon, it was too late.

Lennier tells Delenn that her relationship with Sheridan shows that she is still seeking absolution for her guilt in the death of so many humans. She asks him crossly, whether he truly believes that. No, but this is what the clan will say when we tell them what the Dreaming has shown, he replies. Callenn summons them forth telling them to rest until the morrow, when they will tell what they have seen and a judgment will be reached.

Delenn is distraught. Trying to sleep, she watches Dukhat die in her arms again and again, and for the first time notices his lips move, but she can't make out what he is saying. She decides to go back into the Dreaming again. The clan leader tries to prevent her, but it's too late. She and Lennier have already imbibed the potion. Handing him the vessel she demands that he follow her in this time, so he can understand. Callenn is apprehensive, but she comforts him with Dukhat's own words to her long ago. "There is nothing to fear in the Dreaming. Only that which we bring with us."

The Earth ships were attacking. Pandemonium and destruction in the corridors, and Dukhat was lying in her arms.

"Listen!" Delenn commands Callenn and Lennier.

Blood dripping from his mouth, Dukhat struggled to say, "There was a purpose in my selection of you. Your heritage. You are a child of Valen."

Hours later, Lennier appears with an ancient scroll he has sneaked from the Council archives which Delenn says proves her case. Lennier is still confused, though. Delenn explains that since Valen was really Jeffrey Sinclair, human and Minbari DNA have already merged. She herself is one of his descendants, which explains why the triluminary glowed for her. There is no purity in the Minbari race that can be saved by her casting aside her alliance with Sheridan, she argues.

Callenn begs her not to make this public, because it will disturb the society deeply, and suggests a compromise. He will tell the clan that she is fulfilling an ancient custom from the warring days of Minbar when the victor would offer a daughter as a bride to the loser, as a symbol of life.

Sheridan greets Delenn as she docks. She tells him nothing except that everything is fine now, and inquires after Marcus and Franklin.

A transport lumbers along through natural space. Locked away deep in its belly, a singing Marcus is methodically driving Franklin insane.


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Last update: August 22, 1998