It is December 30, 2258. As the episode opens, Londo and G'Kar are arguing before the council about quadrant 37. G'Kar accuses the Centauri government of sending armed ships into Narn space, but Londo is adamant in his belief that quadrant 37 is neutral territory, because of a treaty. G'Kar declares that the Narn government no longer acknowledges the treaty because it was forced upon them. Sinclair intervenes and points out that the Narns have operated a military base on the border of Centauri space, without incident, for five years, and wonders why the problems have only now begun. G'Kar claims that outposts such as those are necessary for Narn planetary security. Londo responds, "Keep this up, G'Kar, and soon you won't have a planet to protect." G'Kar storms out of the council chamber.
G'Kar makes his accusation.
Elsewhere on the station, Garibaldi is talking to some people when a dying man stumbles over to him. The man is badly injured and can barely talk, but manages to utter one message before he dies. "You've got to stop them," he says. "They're going to kill him... they're going to kill him."
Garibaldi explains to Sinclair and Ivanova that the man, named Stephen Petrov, was a lurker from Downbelow who he had picked up for petty theft and reformed. He had been an informant of Garibaldi's for six months, though Garibaldi had not heard from him in nearly two weeks. Garibaldi is upset that Petrov had died while wanting to turn his life around, but realizes that his death may not have been in vain, if what he said was true. Though they don't know whose life may be in danger, Garibaldi is determined to find the answer.
Later, Sinclair and Catherine Sakai watch the news in Sinclair's quarters. "After which, the president and his escort left the Mars colony on a goodwill tour of the outer planet colonies. Sources close to the president have hinted that he'll give a major policy speech New Year's Day from the jump point on Io. The speech is likely to concern human-alien relations over the remainder of his five-year term," says the anchorwoman.
Watching the news.
Catherine asks Sinclair if he has plans for New Year's. He says that he doesn't, unless the conflict between the Narn and Centauri is still continuing. Catherine has made plans, but wants to surprise Sinclair. Sinclair has a surprise for her as well. He talks to her about their relationship and the problems they have had in the past, and how much he loves her. "Look," he asks her, "do you want to get married or don't you?" "Yes," she replies.
Londo and Vir are in Londo's quarters discussing the problems the Centauri are having with the Narn. Londo is upset at having to tell the council that he must give quadrant 37 to the Narns, but knows that he must do it and that he has nearly no alternative. Then, there is an incoming communication which Vir answers. When the voice asks for Londo, Vir first answers that he is very busy, but Londo recognizes the voice and takes the call personally. He recognizes the man on the other end as Morden, who had rescued the Eye from the raiders. Londo wants to talk, but Morden refuses, instead setting up a meeting at the park in one hour, to discuss a problem that Morden doesn't mention. Londo agrees, and then sends Vir away, to prepare for the meeting.
"I think I'll stick my head in the station's fusion reactor."
Delenn and Lennier are in Delenn's quarters. Delenn is again working on the crystal structure that she has been constructing for a long time. "Did you see Ambassador Kosh?" she asks Lennier, and he responds affirmatively. "Did you relay my question precisely? Word for word?" Again, Lennier responds affirmatively, and when Delenn asks for his reaction, Lennier tells her. "Just one word. He said: Yes." Delenn stops working on the structure and leaves hastily, telling Lennier to wait for her.
Garibaldi, now in Downbelow, searches for information on Petrov's death. He is met with consternation from the various lurkers, but eventually finds one that has information for him. The strange man says that it is common for lurkers to accept assignments from people on the station when they need more people to work. "Last week, one of the guys hired us to load cargo for transport." Garibaldi asks what kind, but the man didn't ask. He suspected that the man who had asked them to load the cargo was trouble. Garibaldi asks for a name, and the man provides one: Devereaux, whom he claims hangs out in the casino. The lurker also provides one last startling bit of information. "The last time I saw Petrov was just before he went looking for you. Whatever he saw, whatever he knew, scared him half to death."
Garibaldi gathers information.
In the park, Londo searches for Morden and eventually finds him. Londo tells Morden that he wanted to thank him for returning the Eye, but Morden waves it off. "Unnecessary," Morden says. "I'm here to be of service, Ambassador! My associates believe that you are a person of great potential, trapped in a position where your skills are unseen and unappreciated. They'd like to change that." Londo tells Morden that nothing can be changed, and that his life is as much as it will ever be, but Morden suggests trying anyway.
Morden knows of the trouble in quadrant 37 and offers to solve the problem for the Centauri. Londo doesn't believe it, but Morden persists, telling Londo to tell his superiors that he will take care of the situation. Londo does not still completely understand. "What is the price for this...help?"
"No price, Ambassador," Morden answers simply. "But at some point in the future, if we deliver on our promises, we may come to you and ask you for a favor. That's all." Morden leaves.
"We're simply here to help."
Delenn enters Kosh's quarters. She breathes from a gas mask once, then puts it away and speaks. "I have come as I said I would. Kosh, I have great doubts. I must know if it's true. I must see with my own eyes."
Kosh says nothing in response. Suddenly, a bright light comes from the encounter suit, and slowly, the top of the suit begins to move out of place. Delenn looks at what she sees and smiles. "Yes, thank you. Now I will keep the promise. Goodbye. You will not see me again as I am now." She bows to Kosh and leaves.
In the casino, Garibaldi finds Devereaux and introduces himself. Devereaux refuses to cooperate, but relents after Garibaldi forces him to go to security to identify Petrov. "Big mistake, hot shot," Devereaux says to Garibaldi. "You shouldn't poke around in things you don't understand. This is too big for you." Garibaldi does not believe this, and escorts Devereaux out of the casino.
Meanwhile, in Londo's quarters, Vir enters and tells Londo that the Centauri government wants to know if he has relayed their message to the council. Londo tells Vir to reply that he will personally take care of the problem in quadrant 37. Though Vir believes Londo is drunk, Londo assures him it is not so, and tells him to send the message.
Sinclair goes to G'Kar's quarters, where Na'Toth tells him that G'Kar is too busy, but she changes her mind after several females emerge from his bedroom. Sinclair wants the Narn to give Centauri room to maneuver, but G'Kar refuses; he considers it a dead issue. Sinclair tries to get him reconsider. The Narn, he says, are abusing their power by threatening the Centauri much as the Centauri had done to them.
"We know what we're doing," G'Kar says. "Is there anything else?"
"Just that I've had this feeling lately that we're standing at a crossroads, and I don't like where we're going. But there's still time to choose another path. You can be part of that process, G'Kar. Choose wisely. Not just for the Centauri, but for the good of your own people as well."
"We all do what we have to," G'Kar says, and asks Sinclair to leave.
"We're standing at a crossroads."
Later, Sinclair, Catherine, Ivanova and Garibaldi are eating dinner together. Garibaldi wants to know what the occasion is, and Sinclair tells him that he and Catherine are getting married, and they want want Garibaldi and Ivanova to be the best man and maid of honor, respectively. Congratulations are exchanged, and Garibaldi tells Sinclair that he is glad to be his friend and best man. A beep comes from Garibaldi's communicator, and he receives a message that Devereaux, and the two men who were with him, is missing. Garibaldi tells Sinclair that he found something interesting about Devereaux. When he investigated Devereaux's PPG, he found no serial number stamped on the inner coil. Only special agents in Earth Force security get unnumbered PPGs, a fact which suggests to Garibaldi that something serious is going on.
In quadrant 37, a Narn perimeter guard is investigating the sector, and reports that he has found nothing. He loses contact with the base. Suddenly, something materializes directly in front of him. It is a large black ship that has many protusions resembling legs or tentacles. It fires a beam at the ship, which is instantly destroyed. A second mysterious ship appears nearby, then a third, then a fourth. Several Narn ships, fighters and large capital ships alike, attempt to intercept and return fire on the spider-like vessels, but their attempts are fruitless. All the Narn ships are destroyed, and soon the outpost on a nearby planet is destroyed as well. The mystery ships vanish, fading to invisibility as they move away from the planet.
The Narn outpost.
Ivanova, at C&C, taking an opportunity to relax since no more ships are due in for a while, watches the news. "At which time the vice president disembarked Earth Force 1. He is currently undergoing medical tests while the president continues en route to Jupiter. Reports indicate that the vice president is suffering from a viral infection and hopes to catch up with the tour as it returns from Io."
There is, however, no time for Garibaldi to relax. One of the ships that Devereaux had hired Petrov to load cargo onto was delayed by engine trouble, and he is inspecting the cargo. His aide arrives to help. Though the cargo containers are supposed to contain medical supplies, Garibaldi finds transmitters which are set to broadcast static -- a "poor man's jamming device." In another crate is a triangulation system, used to determine optimum placement for the transmitters. The device is set for a location near the transport point on Io, and the jammers are set to jam the gold channel frequency for Earth Force 1. Garibaldi links to Sinclair. "We've got a problem. Ultraviolet priority." He doesn't go into more detail, but tells Sinclair to meet him in a briefing room in twenty minutes. He rushes away. After Garibaldi leaves, his aide makes a communication of his own. "This is blue alpha," he says. "Stand by."
While Garibaldi is on his way, he comes across Devereaux and his associates. Garibaldi tries to apprehend them, but is shot in the back by his aide.
Devereaux confronts Garibaldi.
Sinclair, in his quarters, tells Ivanova that Garibaldi has still not reported in. They both agree that Garibaldi would not call for an ultraviolet alert and then not go in to follow it up, so they surmise that something must be wrong. Sinclair continues to try to contact Garibaldi, but is interrupted by the chime of his door. He is thinks it's Garibaldi, but he's wrong. It is Delenn. "Hello Commander," she says. "I believe you recognize this." She holds up the triluminary given her by a member of the Grey Council. "Yes," Sinclair answers, remembering a hooded member of the Council holding that up to his face when he was aboard the Minbari ship at the Battle of the Line. Delenn presses further. "You remember what happened at the Battle of the Line, don't you? You remember being taken aboard our ship?" Sinclair says he remembers a little of what happened, but doesn't know everything or what it means. "I suspected as much," Delenn answers. "We have a lot to discuss, Commander. By coming to you, I am putting both of our lives at risk. But there are things you should know."
Sinclair says it's a bad time because Garibaldi is missing.
"I understand," Delenn says. "Come to my quarters, and I'll tell you as much as I can. But don't wait too long, Commander. Certain things have been set in motion, and I do not have much time." She leaves.
"I believe you recognize this."
While Garibaldi slowly and painfully makes his way to the elevator, Na'Toth delivers some disheartening news to G'Kar about quadrant 37. She tells him that the outpost there is gone, and though G'Kar thinks they have just lost contact, she informs him that the homeworld sent a ship to investigate, and found everything gone, and all the records destroyed. There were no survivors. Na'Toth laments the 10,000 deaths, but G'Kar is preoccupied with even darker matters. "It wasn't the humans. The Centauri don't have the will. The Vorlon's don't care. The Minbari wouldn't do it. The other worlds aren't powerful enough for a strike like this," he says. "There's someone else out there, Na'Toth," he says grimly.
Things are a bit lighter around the rest of the station, however. It is now midnight, and the New Year's celebration has just concluded with the ringing in of the new year, 2259. When a couple of guests at the celebration attempt to leave, they find Garibaldi in the elevator. He has lost a great deal of blood and is unconscious.
In Delenn's quarters, she is completing the building of her crystal construct. "Are you sure there's no other way?" asks Lennier, who watches her sadly.
"What must happen will happen," Delenn says. "Valen said this day would come. Who are we to stand in the way of prophecy?" Lennier tries to convince her to stop what she is doing by asking her what will happen if she is wrong. "Then speak well of me when I'm gone," she answers, smiling faintly. She turns away from him and looks at the crystal structure for a moment. She then silently picks up the triluminary from the table and inserts it into a slot at the top of the device. It begins to glow with an eerie white light, and soon the entire device is glowing in a similar manner. "If he comes, it must be soon," she intones gravely, watching the corner of the room as something fills it, apparently coming from the glowing structure. "I have little time."
"What must happen will happen."
Garibaldi is rushed to MedLab, where Dr. Franklin shouts to an assistant to prepare for surgery. He diagnoses Garibaldi as having massive internal damage, and he cannot operate until his condition stabilizes.
Sinclair is worried about Garibaldi, but Garibaldi moves a little and is able to offer an important warning as Sinclair listens. "They're going to...they're going to kill the president. At the transfer point on Io. Warn him! Warn him..." Sinclair rushes out as Dr. Franklin goes to work.
Sinclair quickly arrives at C&C and asks Ivanova if she has been able to get through to Earth Force 1. She tells him that all conventional channels are being jammed. They are even unable to get through on the gold channels. The C&C staff tries to reroute through civilian channels and to get Earth Central on-line as well, but they do not succeed either way. They are, however, still getting the ISN news feed, which they display so they can monitor the situation. The anchorwoman reports that, though the president was supposed to begin his New Years speech ten minutes earlier, he had not done so. She gets an emergency signal. Suddenly, Earth Force 1 bursts into flames. "Station Io is dispatching hospital ships, but it doesn't seem possible that anyone could have survived that kind of..." Sinclair tells a tech to shut the screen off. The president is dead.
Earth Force 1.
While watching Dr. Franklin and the others in MedLab work on Garibaldi, Sinclair says that he wants guards posted around MedLab around the clock and medical personnel available 24 hours a day so that what happened before cannot happen again. He says that they only have one name to go on, Devereaux, and that they need any information available about him. Sinclair leaves, and we see that he was talking to Garibaldi's aide, who just smiles and looks through the window into MedLab.
In Delenn's quarters, Lennier cries silently as he watches and listens to Delenn. Though she cries out several times, he does nothing but watch in anguish.
G'Kar and Na'Toth solemnly board a core shuttle, in which Ivanova is already seated. G'Kar asks about Commander Sinclair and Garibaldi, and Ivanova tells them that Sinclair is in MedLab with him, and that Garibaldi's situation is still very uncertain. G'Kar wants to tell Sinclair that there is little point in further mediating the dispute over quadrant 37. Ivanova has heard about what happened, and asks if they have information, but they have none. G'Kar offers his condolences over the death of President Santiago and hopes that Earth finds whoever is responsible. Na'Toth tells Ivanova that the Narn will find and punish those responsible for the destruction of everything in quadrant 37.
Back in the park, Londo and Morden meet again. Londo is amazed and outraged at what happened to quadrant 37 and the death of the 10,000 Narns there. "I didn't know you cared," Morden replies. "Ten thousand, a hundred thousand, a million, what's the difference? They're Narns, Ambassador. Your sworn enemy." Londo, however, is still shocked. He didn't think that Morden would take such drastic action. "Ambassador, your name is being spoken at the highest levels of the Centauri government. They don't know how you did it. They don't care. They credit you with saving them from another embarrassment without creating a war in the process. They've noticed you, Ambassador, which was the point of the exercise. I hear they have great plans for you." Londo still cannot grasp the scope of what happened, but Morden continues. "Ambassador, you're a hero. Enjoy it! I'll be around." He then leaves.
Sinclair tries to convince an Earth senator that the president was assassinated, but she does not believe it. She claims that their evidence has only pointed to problems with their fusion reactor, and that it was all nothing more than an accident. The senator doesn't believe that Garibaldi could know that the president might be assassinated if Earth's best agents did not. She tells him that she doesn't want a panic to be created by spreading "unsubstantiated rumors" and orders him to maintain silence on his feelings of the presidential assassination. Sinclair storms away.
Meanwhile, Garibaldi's aide calls to several other security agents who are nearby. Devereaux and his men are lying on the floor dead. Garibaldi's aide says that they tried to fire at him when they would not go in for questioning, and claims he killed them in self-defense. One of the officers says Devereaux's PPG is cold, which it wouldn't be if Devereaux had fired it. But he withdraws his comment, perhaps not wishing to contradict his superior.
Dr. Franklin begins to operate on Garibaldi.
Sinclair is at the bar, drinking. He watches the news regarding the death of President Santiago and the inauguration of vice president Morgan Clark to the presidency. "It is important that we move on to create the world that Louis Santiago would have wanted for his children, my children, and for posterity yet to come," President Clark says in an address. "We will begin by focusing more on the needs of our own people, to sustain them through this difficult time, and to prepare them for the tasks ahead."
Sinclair, sensing someone else entering the bar, turns around and sees Ambassador Kosh. "And so it begins," intones Kosh. "You have forgotten something," he continues. Suddenly realizing what Kosh meant, Sinclair rushes out of the bar and goes to Delenn's quarters.
"And so it begins."
He enters and finds Lennier still staring at the corner, and the still glowing crystal statue on the table. Lennier seems to be oblivious to Sinclair at first "You're too late," he says at last.
Sinclair follows Lennier's gaze over to the corner of the room, where he sees a large, white, faintly glowing mass. He slowly walks over to it and examines it. "What is it?"
"A chrysalis," replies Lennier. "She is changing."
"I don't know," is the only reply that Lennier can give, as Sinclair looks at Delenn's eyes, just barely visible beneath the surface of the chrysalis.
Na'Toth enters G'Kar's quarters, but cannot find him. As she calls out his name, an automated message begins. "Na'Toth, by the time you get this message, I will be gone. I have certain suspicions about the attack on quadrant 37. I am taking the first transport back to homeworld. You will not be able to contact me. I will contact you. And, uh, one more thing. Tell the commander he was right. We were at a crossroads, and there is no going back. Expect me when you see me."
Londo arrives in MedLab to find Ivanova waiting there. She explains that she had relieved the commander and that he will be back on watch soon. When Londo asks about Garibaldi's condition, she says they are still operating and they still don't know what the outcome will be. Londo says that he would like to wait with her. "He is an annoying man, but I would miss him if he..." They then turn and continue to watch the operation, while Garibaldi's aide looks on silently.
Morden sits in the middle of a room, surrounded by strangely shimmering, shadowlike forms. They make a few sounds, apparently language, but not one that we can understand. "Yes, I think he's ready," Morden says to them. He continues to answer, speaking to them after they speak to him. "Perfect for our needs. No, no, he suspects nothing. When the time is right, Ambassador Mollari will do exactly as we wish. Destiny is on our side."
Catherine, with a solemn look on her face, walks over to a sofa on which Sinclair is sitting, staring intently. She puts her arms around him, but he only acknowledges her with words. "Nothing's the same any more."
Lennier maintains a candlelight vigil over Delenn as she rests, slowly changing in her chrysalis.