Universe Episodes People Resources Encyclopedia Home Find Index Help

[Home]

[Guide] [Background]  ### SYNOPSIS ### [Credits] [Episode List] [Previous] [Next]

Transcript by Matthew Murray (mmurray@wsu.edu)

Note: Due to the unusual format of this episode, a transcript is being used instead of a typical synopsis. The idea of a transcript has JMS' blessing.

Bold text appeared as subtitles onscreen. Emphasized text indicates a description of something. (If your browser doesn't show one or both of those styles, don't worry; it's usually obvious from the context.)

Horizontal lines separate major scenes; small shifts in location that might still be considered the same scene are noted by three asterisks (* * *).

(Brief technical note) The inline images use HTML 3.0 alignment attributes; their placement may look a little odd on HTML 2.0 browsers, but not obnoxiously so.


ISN Network
"36 Hours"
September 16, 2259


Announcer
We interrupt your evening schedule to bring you the following special program. September 16, 2259. The Interstellar Network News presents "36 Hours on Babylon 5" with your host, Cynthia Torqueman, reporting live from the ISN News Center, in Geneva.

Torqueman (at anchor desk)
Good evening, I'm Cynthia Torqueman. In the hundred or so years since humanity went to the stars, we've established outposts and colonies on over two dozen worlds in fourteen solar systems. Out of all those far-flung outposts, only the Mars Colony, plagued by scattered groups of separatists, who have used acts of terror to intimidate the Earth-loyal majority, has proven more controversial than the Earth Alliance station, Babylon 5. Located in a sector of space near Epsilon Iridani, designated neutral territory, Babylon 5 has defied the odds and continued to operate as a free port, a center for diplomacy, and a showpiece for the Earth Alliance Resources and Technologies division. From its highly publicized debut three years ago, recent polls indicate a growing dissatisfaction with the time, money, and effort consumed by this space-borne community. So, tonight, we take you to the center of the controversy. An ISN crew and I recently spent 36 hours aboard Babylon 5, asking hard questions and, on occasion, get in a little over our heads. In the process of putting this report together, it didn't take us long to learn the most important rule of survival aboard Babylon 5: expect the unexpected.

Video Footage
(The bridge of a ship. Babylon 5 is visible outside, with two much smaller ships in front of it)

Torqueman (voiceover)
This footage was shot from our position on the bridge of the Earth transport Heyerdahl, on the final approach to Babylon 5. The voices you are hearing are those of the ship's captain and B5 Command and Control.
Ivanova
Confirmed Heyerdahl. We...Narn transport N'ton, return to your holding position at once. I repeat, return to your...
Narn ship
Shadraka.
Ivanova
Centauri vessel Malios, break off.
Narn
N'tok! N'tok!

(The Narn ship fires on the Centauri ship several times, destroying it.)

Torqueman (at anchor desk)
A terrible explosion, conspiracy involving several of these individuals [pictures of Sheridan, Londo, and G'kar appear over her shoulder], lies, deception, and the deaths of hundreds of people. All this and more on "36 Hours Aboard Babylon 5," here on the Interstellar Network News. We'll be back with our story right after this break.

Announcer
"36 hours...," sponsored by Interplanetary Expeditions. Exploring the past to create a better future.


Commercial break

Torqueman (from a chaotic docking bay)
Thirty minutes ago, a Narn vessel opened fire on a Centauri transport without warning or explanation. The bodies of the dead and wounded are being brought to this central docking area for transfer to various MedLab facilities on Babylon 5, which are already working beyond maximum capacity. Behind me is Dr. Stephen Franklin, Chief of Staff. Doctor? Doctor Franklin?

Franklin (to medical assistants)
...for immediate surgery and full CAT scan. I need more regent packs over here, people.

Torqueman
Dr. Franklin, Cynthia Torqueman, ISN news. What happened here?

Franklin
I don't know. Somebody said something about an ambush. (to assistants) All right, keep his head elevated thirty degrees minimum or he'll choke on his own blood.

Torqueman
Can you say what the reason was...

Franklin
I'm sorry...

Torqueman
Captain Sheridan! Cynthia Torqueman, ISN news. Do you have any comment on what just happened here?

Sheridan
No, no comment at this time. (to Franklin) Doctor...

Torqueman
What about the Narn vessel that attacked the transport.

Sheridan
We dispatched a fighter wing to apprehend them. We won't know anything more until they're in protective custody. If you will excuse me please.


Ambassador Londo Mollari, Centauri Republic
This is exactly the kind of behavior that endangers the very purpose of Babylon 5. This place is dedicated to finding peaceful solutions to our problems. For the Narn to carry their vendetta against our people into neutral territory like this is reckless and irresponsible. And though we mourn our own losses, we have felt strongly about our friends from Earth, ever since we first encountered your world a hundred years ago. To endanger your people for no reason...

Torqueman
Then the attack on your transport was completely unprovoked?

Ambassador Mollari
Of course.

* * *

Ambassador G'kar, Narn Regime
He's lying.

Torqueman
Then can you tell us why your ship opened fire on the Centauri transport?

G'kar
I'll issue a statement after I have consulted with my government.

Torqueman
Are you saying your government sanctioned this attack?

G'kar
No.

Torqueman
Do you think attacks of this nature put everybody aboard Babylon 5 in unnecessary jeopardy?

G'kar
We are already in far greater jeopardy than you can possibly imagine.


Torqueman
For all the apparent danger in this part of space, it seems to have had little effect on travel. Nearly a quarter of a million humans and aliens are here at any given moment. While most are in transit to distant worlds, many others actually live and work here. What does it take to call a place like this home?

* * *

Eduardo Delvientos. Dock Supervisor. Guild dockworkers on B5: 1500.
Well, it's a...it's a job. I've been in a lot worse places, let me tell you. It gets crazy around here sometimes, you got fifty, sixty ships a day coming through here, loading and unloading, and every last one of them is a priority job, at least that's what they tell us. (to a worker) Hey, watch those crates over there. Get 'em over to the side. No, no, the other side. (to Torqueman) We had a couple of problems here last year, try to hit us with some budget cuts. You know, same old song. But that's the past. You gotta go along to get along, you know what I mean?


Second Lieutenant David Corwin. Earthforce personnel on B5: 6500.
Overall, I've found this to be a good working environment, and a valuable experience. I've learned a lot while I've been here.

Torqueman
And you've never felt that your safety has been compromised?

Corwin
No ma'am.

Torqueman
So this has been a positive experience for you?

(Corwin smiles and nods)

Torqueman
You enjoy working with everyone?

Corwin
(Glancing at Ivanova over left shoulder) Yes. It's a calm, pleasant environment. I don't think I've ever seen anyone get upset here.


Captain John J. Sheridan. Recipient, Earthforce Silver Star for Valor in Minbari War.
I guess it's the old joke, "You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps." I suppose there is a...certain attraction to being out here on the edge like this. A new frontier...

Torqueman
New frontier is right. When Babylon 5 went online in 2257, oddsmakers from New Vegas to Lloyds of London were predicting it wouldn't last six months.

Sheridan
Hmm. Well, I've never been very much on gambling. Never quite found the time for it.

Torqueman
You were originally a starship captain, correct?

Sheridan
Yeah. The Agamemnon. She was a real beauty. One of the first Omega class destroyers to come off the assembly line after the war. Our job was part military patrol, part diplomatic mission. We went around to most of the Non- Aligned Worlds, put in an appearance, kept the peace, that sort of thing.

Torqueman
Babylon 5 has been through some dramatic changes in administration since it became operational. Would you attribute these changes to...bad management, or, to quote former Senator Hidoshi, "Is this horse just to big for anybody to ride?"

Sheridan
Changes are part of the military life. Everybody goes into this knowing that tomorrow you could be someplace you hadn't even heard of 24 hours ago. I've been stationed so many places over the years I can't even remember most of them. But you're right. Some days this is one hell of a big horse.


Dr. Stephen Franklin. Chief of Staff. Medlab facility. Speciality: Xenobiology
You know what the folks back home don't understand, the ones who've never left Earth, is just how dangerous space can be. Aside from incidents like this, just the everyday reality of living your days and nights in a big tin can surrounded by a vacuum. I remember my first time on a transport, on the Moon-Mars run. I was just a kid, maybe seventeen. A buddy of mine was messing around, and zipping through the halls, and he hid in one of the airlocks. I don't know, I guess he was gonna try to scare us or something, I don't know...But just as I got close, he must have hit the wrong button because the air doors slammed shut, the space doors opened, and he just flew out into space. You know, the one thing they never tell you is that you don't die instantly in vacuum. Just hung there, against the black, like a puppet with his strings all tangled up. Or one of those old cartoons where you run off the edge of a cliff and your legs keep going. You could see that he was trying to breathe, but there was nothing. The one thing I remember, when they pulled in his body, his eyes were frozen. A lot of people make jokes about spacing somebody, about shoving somebody out an airlock. I don't think it's funny. Never will.


Torqueman
Although the airlocks on Babylon 5 are considerably safer, the last three years have shown that the station itself is anything but secure. In its first year of operation, there were half a dozen murders, three acts of sabotage including a bomb that blew out two levels, and a barely averted attack by the Vorlon Empire. Since then, there have been fifty deaths by violence. So the question remains, given its cost in lives and money, is Babylon 5 serving any useful purpose, or, as we're about to see, is the whole thing falling apart at the seams?


G'kar
I've just been briefed by my government, and I'm prepared to issue the following statement. The Centauri ship that was attacked by one of our vessels was not simply a commercial transport. It was secretly transferring weapons of mass destruction to ships bound for the front lines where they were to be used in the war against our people. They have turned Babylon 5 into a weapons supply post, and we cannot allow this to continue, even if it means shutting down Babylon 5 completely.


commercial break
Announcer
"36 Hours on Babylon 5" continues with Cynthia Torqueman.

Torqueman (at anchor desk)
According to figures released by the newly-formed office of public morale, President William Clark has risen to dramatic new levels of popularity, because of his administration's emphasis on addressing the needs of Earth. As a result, recent hearings in Earthdome have openly questioned how much time and money should be invested in a project that seems perpetually bogged down in non-human conflict. So, we took that question to Senator Ronald Quantrell.

* * *

Senator Ronald Quantrell. Chairman: Babylon 5 Senate Oversight Committee. (in his office)
Well, obviously, Babylon 5 is something President Santiago believed in very strongly and I think we owe it to his memory to try to make it work.

Torqueman
That doesn't exactly sound like a ringing endorsement.

Quantrell
Well, clearly we've taken a lot of heat, and the cost overruns have been appropriately astronomical. But let's remember that the Babylon Project was conceived right after the Earth-Minbari war. At that time, the idea of a diplomatic station designed to keep anything like that from happening again was very appealing.

Torqueman
And now?

Quantrell
Now? Well...still too early to tell. Certainly we've rebuilt our military forces to a point far in advance of where they were fourteen years ago. If the Earth-Minbari war started today, I think things might have gone a little differently. So, while I'm not sure how much...concrete benefit we really derive from Babylon 5 any longer, I suppose it still does keep us in a highly visible position with other races, and of course it's very important to interstellar commerce and trade.

* * *

Sheridan
Well, with all due respect to Senator Quantrell, speaking as someone who did his part in the front lines, I'd have to say we still haven't fully recovered from the Minbari war. And we haven't anywhere near the level of technology we would need in the event of another major conflict. And anybody who thinks that we could hold our own with the Minbari, the Centauri, and, God forbid, the Vorlons, is just plain kidding himself.

Torqueman
You sound angry about it.

Sheridan
No, I'm not. It just...it just sounds to me like...like jingoism and self-deception and armchair quarterbacking. Any time you lose a war, you just...you just wait a few years, and you'll hear from everyone who thought that we could have won if they'd have done the fighting.

Torqueman
Except, of course, Captain, we didn't lose the war. The Minbari did surrender.

Sheridan
(Pause, then smile) Of course.


Torqueman
Who are the people who run Babylon 5, and what do they do here? What are their hopes and dreams? I'm standing in what's called the Observation Dome, or C&C, short for Command and Control. When the Captain is otherwise engaged with diplomatic or business affairs, this place is under the watchful eye of its perky and energetic commander, Susan Ivanova.

Commander Susan Ivanova (to a ship)
All right, make one more sweep pulling in whatever you got, then head for the barn.

Torqueman
Commander Ivanova, would you mind telling us what it is you're doing here?

Ivanova (showing her a control panel displaying the HAZMAT team)
We're investigating Ambassador G'kar's allegations that the Centauri transport was carrying weapons, justifying his government's attack. The HAZMAT team outside is checking the debris for any unusual levels of radiation or trace elements that could indicate the presence of unauthorized weapons.

Torqueman
While we wait for the analysis, would you mind telling us a little about yourself, how you got here?

Ivanova
Well, there's really not much to tell. I was born in the Russian Consortium, but spent most of my life at school abroad. Graduated from OTC ten years ago.

Torqueman
How did you come to join Earthforce?

Ivanova
After my brother Ganya was killed in the war, I felt that I had to try and finish what he started. Of course, as my luck runs, the war was over before I saw any action.

Torqueman
Now, Commander, I'm sure there's more to your story than that.

Ivanova
Yes.


Security Chief Michael Garibaldi
What do I hope for? I hope to get through this interview without getting myself fired. How's that for a start? Hmm. I don't know, it's one of those questions I don't think about in words. Maybe because so many times it seems like, if I say what I want, it never comes.

Torqueman
There must be something.

Garibaldi
Yeah. There are...little hopes I guess. Every day I get up and I hope nothing will happen. I'd love to be just bored out of my skull for twenty-four hours. And, uh, I guess I keep hoping that someday, somewhere I'll make a difference. That at the end of the day, everything we've gone through for the past few years will, uh, mean something.

Ivanova (over communicator)
Garibaldi, we just got back the HASMAT report. We've got a problem.

Garibaldi (getting up)
See what I mean? Always something.


Torqueman
So far, we've spent most of our time here talking to the humans, but aliens make up nearly forty-two percent of Babylon 5's population. Many of them live here in the so-called "Alien Sector," which provides alternate atmospheres for fourteen different species. Ironically, the "Alien Sector" is how the aliens here refer to the human part of the station proving once again that beauty... and the beast...are in the eye of the beholder. Probably the most elusive of all the aliens is Ambassador Kosh Naranek, a representative of the Vorlon Empire, sent here roughly two years ago. Nothing is known of the Vorlons, in fact three expeditions sent into Vorlon space over the years have never returned. The Vorlon government said they had met with accidents...and suggested no further expeditions. Even their appearance is a mystery, compounded by the fact that Ambassador Kosh can only leave his quarters in an encounter suit, which contains his atmosphere and other life support equipment. A few moments ago, while we were setting up this shot, we got our first glimpse of the Vorlon as he was leaving his quarters just behind me. This is an ISN exclusive, presented here for the first time.

Video Footage
(Cynthia Torqueman, wearing an oxygen mask, is speaking with someone else also wearing a mask.)
Man's Voice
It's Ambassador Kosh, over here!
Torqueman
Maxie, quick, the camera!
(The camera pans to reveal Ambassador Kosh.)
Torqueman
Ambassador Kosh! Ambassador! Cynthia Torqueman, ISN news. Can we ask you a few questions?
(The doors in front of Kosh close.)
Torqueman
Ambassador Kosh! (to camera) Did we get that? Tell me we got that. Did we get it?

* * *

Torqueman
Second in elusiveness to the Vorlon is Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari Federation. After initially refusing several requests for an interview, she finally agreed to talk to us.


Torqueman
Since very few humans have ever been allowed on Minbar, perhaps you could start by telling us a little about your world.

Ambassador Delenn. Minbari Federation.
We are the seventh planet from our sun [a graphic of Minbar appears over her shoulder]. Almost one quarter of Minbar is covered by our north polar icecap. Because our world is rich with crystalline deposits, many of our cities are cut directly out of crystal formations. During the spring, the patterns of color caused by the light are breathtaking. Let's see, what else? We have three basic languages, Len'au, Feek, and Audronado, which is the language of the Religious Caste.

Torqueman
Can you give us an example of Audronado?

Delenn
Neech sach schnek, slem-ba. I am your friend, in peace.

Torqueman
Your appearance, though, isn't typical of your people, is it?

Delenn
No.

Torqueman
According to station records, you looked quite different a year ago. [An image of Delenn's old appearance appears over Delenn's shoulder.]

Delenn
I volunteered for this change, in the hope that it would lead to a better understanding between our peoples.

Torqueman
Over a quarter million humans were killed in the war with your people. How do you think the families of those victims will feel about your...change?

Delenn
I, uh...I don't know. I uh...I would hope...

Torqueman
I think they would feel hurt, betrayed. That by assuming a human face, you're taking a part of us you're not entitled to. What would you say to them? To all the husbands and wives and children and brothers and sisters of the people who were killed in the war with your people, and now see a Minbari...with a human face?

Delenn
I'm uh...I'm sorry, I can't...can we...can we stop this? Please?

Ivanova (over communicator)
Ambassador Delenn, you're needed in the council chambers. Ambassador? Ambassador Delenn?


Torqueman
We've just been informed that there's been a new development in the Narn attack. The Babylon 5 Advisory Council and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds have been convened to hear this update. We've been given permission to record these proceedings in the council chambers.

G'kar
And now, thanks to Commander Ivanova's investigation, we have proof of what we've been saying all along. An inspection of the destroyed Centauri has found conclusive proof that she was carrying fusion bombs and support equipment for ion cannons, mass drivers, and heavy-energy weapons!

Sheridan (banging gavel)
Now we have already filed a complaint with the Centauri government on the grounds that Babylon 5 is neutral territory, and is not to be used as a staging ground or a munitions depot.

Londo
If I may make an observation...

Sheridan
It is this kind of irresponsible activity, Ambassador, that endangers this station and everyone here. It will not be tolerated!

Londo
Classified shipments and weapons are transferred outside the station, from ship to ship. The risk to Babylon 5 is minimal.

Sheridan
Oh, we've already seen your minimal risk, Ambassador.

Londo
Caused by their attack on one of our vessels! Our ships have the right to carry any cargo they choose. We will not surrender our sovereign rights.

Delenn
The sovereign rights of any race end with the threat of innocents.

G'kar
Enough! They're doing what they always do--using details to distract us from doing what must be done! There are seven more Centauri vessels berthed outside, and I have reason to believe that they also carry weapons of mass destruction to be used against our people. My government demands that these ships be impounded and their weapons seized!

Londo
No, no, no! We will not allow this!

Sheridan (banging gavel)
This is Babylon 5's space. And here, we have sovereign rights.

Londo
Our ships will defend themselves against any who try to seize them.

Delenn
Perhaps, if the transports return to Centauri space...

G'kar
We cannot allow those ships to leave here with their weapons. They'll just turn right around and use them against us.

Sheridan
Then how do you intend to...[there is a loud sound, and the lights in the room dim suddenly] What the hell?

Ivanova (over monitor)
Captain, we need you in C&C. We've got a shooting war going on out here.

Video Footage
(Securecam 15 shows several shots being exchanged before one ship is destroyed. The blast causes debris from the ship to strike the camera, and the image fades to static.)


commercial break

Torqueman
The sounds you hear are heavy weapons on the Narn and Centauri vessels doing battle just outside Babylon 5. The station is on a priority one alert, and people are being evacuated to shelters. We're en route to C&C to try and cover the battle. As we speak, our vidsystems are being plugged into the station's external cameras and communications systems, and we should be seeing...

Video Footage
(Securecam 02 shows an image of several ships firing at each other.)
Voice of starfury pilot
Coming in. Reading five, repeat five incoming hostiles. No reply. Got the beacon targeting systems online.
(The image shifts to a camera inside a starfury cockpit.)
Voice of pilot
Delta leader to hostile vessels. You are ordered to cease fire at once. Do you copy? You are ordered to surrender or we will open fire.
(Securecam 08 shows a Centauri vessel destroyed by a Narn ship. The image shifts to Securecam 23, which captures more shooting before it is disabled by fire from a Narn ship.)


Sheridan (in C&C)
Damage report?

Ivanova
Levels brown ninety through ninety-two report damage. Hull breach in blue seventy. Dropping pressure doors.

Sheridan
Get a repair crew down there, stat.

An Officer
Aye, sir.

Sheridan
Any reply yet?

Ivanova
Negative. Hostile forces continue to fire at each other. They've started targeting our ships.

An Officer
Delta squadron requesting permission to fire.

Ivanova
Ambassadors Londo and G'kar on the link. They're saying that if we open fire on their vessels, they'll consider it an act of war.

Sheridan
Screw 'em. We have a quarter million people here to defend. If they won't stop this, we will. (to ships) All fighters, open fire. Fire at will.

Video Footage
(In the cockpit of the delta leader.)
Pilot
Roger, Babylon Control. Delta squad, open fire. Target engines and navigation if possible, but if you have to take them out, do it. (to himself) Come on. Come on. Heaters lit. Come to papa. Got it. Bombs away.
(He fires on a small Narn ship as he passes by the observation dome.)
Pilot
This is seven. Target splashed.

Ivanova
Two Narn vessels destroyed, two damaged and out of the fight. Remaining Centauri vessels are offering to surrender.

Sheridan
All right. Pick 'em up, bring 'em in, and throw them in the brig. And I want every one of those ships scanned for weapons. And tell Ambassadors G'kar and Londo that I want to see them in chambers now.

Ivanova
And what if they refuse?

Sheridan
Then you can throw them in the...

Ivanova (motioning toward camera)
Ahem.

Sheridan
Then invite them again, as firmly and politely as you can. This nonsense has gone far enough.


Torqueman
The "nonsense" Captain Sheridan referred to is the Narn-Centauri war, which, over the past several months, has grown into a conflict which threatens to spill into other systems and lead to an escalation of hostilities. Prior to the battle we just witnessed, ISN spoke with representatives from both sides, in order to better understand the history of this conflict.


G'kar
Roughly one hundred and fifty of your years ago, the Centauri came to our world. Narn was a green and fertile place then. We greeted them in peace, and spent the next hundred years in chains. But we never gave up hope. We formed a resistance, learned their secrets, turned their own machines against them, and finally drove them from our world.

Torqueman
How did you become involved with the resistance?

G'kar
My family lived in G'kamizad, one of the larger cities on Narn. My father... served in a Centauri household during the last years of the rebellion. I was barely a pouchling at the time. My mother was ill, unable to escape through the underground, so we all stayed. It was a difficult time--we were striking deep into Centauri resources. Things were tense. One day, my father spilled a cup of hot jala on the mistress of the house, and...and she had him killed. They took him out, tied his hands together, and hung him from a Jalwa tree for three days. I came to him the last night against my mother's orders, and he looked down at me. He said he was proud and to go and fight and...be all the things he never was. Then he died. The next morning I ran away and killed my first Centauri.

Torqueman
Why do you think they invaded back then?

G'kar
Why does any advanced civilization seek to destroy a less-advanced one? Because the land is strategically valuable, because there are resources that can be cultivated and exploited, but most of all, simply because they can. You have experienced much the same on your own world. There are humans for whom the words "never again" carry special meaning, as they do for us.

Torqueman
How do you respond to reports that your military has lost six out of the last seven engagements with the Centauri forces, and now the war consists mainly of holding actions and forced retreats?

G'kar
Centauri propaganda. We will never fall back. We will never surrender.

* * *

Londo
When we first met the Narn they were, what, a primitive people. We gave them technology centuries ahead of their own, took them with us to the stars, taught them laws, civilized them. They repaid us with terror and death.

Torqueman
So you're saying that the Centauri originally came to help the Narns?

Londo
Of course. And at considerable expense, I might add. Which is why we finally left. We wished them well, but the cost, you've seen.

Torqueman
Then you weren't driven off the Narn homeworld?

Londo
Please. The Narn have rewritten history enough, don't you think? If they wanted us gone, we were hardly going to force the issue. But ever since, they have grown more and more irrational, have gone out of their way to harm us, to seize Centauri territory. Finally, we had to take a stand. They were the ones who declared war. Not us. We want only peace.


Torqueman
"We want only peace." Both sides say the same thing. But as we've just seen, the reality is anything but peaceful. With the skirmish outside concluded, and the captured Centauri vessels about to undergo a complete search, things seem to have calmed down a bit.

Ivanova
What is it?

Officer
Jump point forming in sector seven.

Ivanova
Are they crazy? That's practically on top of us.

Officer
Reading one Centauri battle cruiser.

Torqueman
Maxie, do we still have a feed from the external monitors? Are they on-li...

Video Footage
(Securecam 27 shows an enormous Centauri cruiser appear through a jump point.)

Officer
We've got Ambassador Mollari on the link.

Ivanova
Put him through. Ambassador Mollari, what the hell is going on here?

Londo
I'm sorry this has come as such of a surprise, Commander, but I warned you not to interfere. You have no right to search or detain our ships. If we don't act in our own defense, we invite the same from others.

Officer
Centauri cruiser is arming weapons, opening her gun ports.

Londo
The cruiser will blockade Babylon 5 until our ships are returned to Centauri custody intact and unopened. Any ship attempting to enter or leave Babylon 5 will be fired upon, boarded, and sent back. We will use the minimum possible level of force, but if provoked, we are prepared to use deadly force. Even against Babylon 5 itself.


Announcer
ISN. The galaxy's most important network.


Commercial
(A young boy sits alone in a living room, dejected. His mother comes in.)

Mother
John, why aren't you outside playing with the other kids?

John
They hate me.

Mother
Now, John...

John
It's true. I'm just...I'm different, Mom. I can feel what they think about me, and they know I can. I called one of them a liar because I knew he wasn't telling the truth somehow. And he just kept hitting me until I said I was the liar. I just don't know what to do anymore.

(A Psi Cop appears in the far corner of the room.)

Psi Cop
Don't worry, Johnny. We'll take care of it from here.

John
Mom! Look! A Psi Cop!

Psi Cop
That's right, Johnny. You know, there a lot of other kids who feel just the same way you do. They're confused and afraid, but they don't have to be. The problem isn't that other kids don't like you, it's that they don't understand you. But we do. You're special. You're a latent telepath about to come into full bloom.

Mother
My Johnny? A telepath?

Psi Cop
Probably. But to be sure, take him down to the Psi Corps Testing Center first thing tomorrow.

Mother
How do I find one?

Psi Cop
We're everywhere...for your convenience. We have offices in schools and children's hospitals. We even have mobile testing centers that travel the country. And if he qualifies, we'll give him an education, a job, a purpose. And, we'll pay all his bills for life.

Mother
Oh my!

(A large Psi Corps symbol appears on the screen, with the words TWO WEEKS LATER below it.)

Mother
Oh, John. I can't believe it. You've come so far. Just look at you. We're all so proud.

John
And I'm proud to be part of the Psi Corps.

Psi Cop (to camera)
So remember. If you know someone who might be a telepath, or think you might be one yourself, help them get the help they need. Call the Corps!

Announcer
Call government information for more on a Psi Corps center near you. This message has been brought to you by the Ministry for Public Information and your local Psi Corps recruitment office.

(While the announcer is speaking, the words "THE PSI CORPS IS YOUR FRIEND. TRUST THE CORPS." flash across the screen for an instant.)


Other commercials
Torqueman
As we enter our thirtieth hour aboard Babylon 5, the Centauri-Narn crisis has not diminished. The various parties to the dispute have gathered in council chambers behind me, in closed session, to discuss the crisis. Meanwhile, all traffic, in or out of Babylon 5 has come to a halt, due to the Centauri blockade. [Sheridan appears from the council chambers.] Captain, any progress in the negotiations?

Sheridan
All sides are still talking. That's all I can say for now.

Torqueman
Well, is it true that some of the senate have suggested that you accomodate the Centauri by releasing their vessels without further searches?

Sheridan
As the commander of record on Babylon 5, I doubt that the senate would attempt to undermine my position in these negotiations by armchair quarterbacking. [He enters an elevator, and G'kar appears from the council chambers.]

Torqueman
Ambassador G'kar, do you have anything to say?

G'kar
Only that this should prove once and for all that the Centauri are a menace to more than just our world. This kind of thing cannot be allowed, and we will take whatever steps are necessary to make that perfectly clear to them.

Torqueman
Well, what does that mean? Ambassador G'kar!


Senator Quantrell (in his office)
Certainly the events on Babylon 5 which took place during your recent visit are emblematic of what many of us at Earthdome have been worried about for some time. By placing an Earth installation between warring factions, we risk being drawn into a conflict which has nothing to do with us, or Earth interests. If we had not been in that place at that time, the terrible loss of life might have been avoided.

Torqueman
On the other hand, senator, they are at war with one another. People die in war.

Quantrell
Yes, but it wouldn't have happened in our backyard. What happened next came with the reluctant support of Earthdome, but hundreds of deaths...I don't see how we can support that sort of thing. I'm only glad you made it out alive, Cynthia. We need all the good reporters we can get.


Torqueman
Ten minutes ago, Captain Sheridan received a coded transmission from Earthdome on the current crisis. After considerable negotiations, we've been allowed back into C&C...

Sheridan
Captain John Sheridan, Babylon 5, to Centauri cruiser. My government has rejected your demand that we release your ships. We will not consider any demand made under terrorist threat. We have activated our defense grid, and are prepared to defend all ships coming through here. Any hostile action taken by you against ships entering or leaving this station will be considered an attack on Babylon 5 itself, and we will respond accordingly. If they send back a reply, don't acknowledge it.

An Officer
Aye, captain.

Sheridan
We'll let 'em sweat for a while.

Ivanova
I hope this works. I know that our defense grid can probably hold them off, but the repurcussions...

Sheridan
Oh, they're bluffing. I can't believe they'd take on the whole station. That'd bring Earth in on the side of the Narns, and the last thing the Centauri want is a war on two fronts.

An Officer
Docking bay nine just linked in. The transport's ready to go.

Sheridan
Bring her up. Activate autopilot. We'll run the transport from here, make sure no one gets hurt. Just in case they're not bluffing.

Ivanova
Bring the maintenance bots around for a closer look.

Video Footage
(Securecam 23 shows the transport leaving Babylon 5.)
Voice
Move Securecam 23 to high overhead and Maintbot 9 through 14 at twelve-click intervals...

Ivanova
You realize that if they do attack the transport, they'll turn right around and fire on us next, figuring we'll have to retaliate.

Sheridan
I know.

Video Footage
(Maintbot 12 shows the transport making its way toward the Centauri cruiser.)

Sheridan
All tracking stations. If you see their weapons targeting us, open fire.

Video Footage
(Maintbot 17 shows the transport nearing the Centauri cruiser.)

Sheridan
Any reply from the cruiser?

An Officer
Negative, sir. No response.

Ivanova
Their weapon system is still armed. I don't like this.

Video Footage
(Maintbot 9 shows the transport begin to pass under the cruiser. The image shifts to inside the transport, where it continues under the cruiser with no problems. The image shifts back to Maintbot 9, where the transport makes its way past the cruiser.)

Ivanova (as the officers at C&C clap)
Well, the transport's through. We called their bluff.

An Officer
Getting a signal from the Centauri cruiser. They want to talk.

Sheridan
Open a channel. Let's be gracious about this.

Torqueman
Captain, any thoughts on the...

An Officer
Second jump point forming in sector ten.

Video Footage
(Maintbot 06 shows a Narn cruiser arrive through a jump point.)

Sheridan
Oh, hell. Babylon Control to Narn cruiser. We do not, repeat we do not require assistance. Do not interfere. We have the situation under control...

An Officer
Narn cruiser powering up weapon systems.

Sheridan
No! Listen to me, we do not need...

Video Footage
(Maintbot 12 shows the Narn cruiser firing on the Centauri cruiser several times, but hitting once. The image shifts to Securecam 23 where the Narn ship continues to fire, but is hit several times in return by the Centauri creature. There are explosions on both ships.)

Sheridan
All civilians to the shelters. Get me that cruiser, and I don't care how you do it.

An Officer
Aye, sir.

Video Footage
(Maintbot 02 shows the Narn ship attacking the Centauri ship, which causes a piece of debris to fly directly toward the observation dome.)

Ivanova
Close blast doors, now! [The doors close, and the Dome is rocked as the debris strikes it.]

Video Footage
(Maintbot 12 shows the two ships exchanging more fire before the Centauri cruiser is blown apart.)

An Officer
Narns have destroyed the Centauri cruiser. They're trying to open a jump point.

Ivanova
Can they make it?

An Officer
I don't think so. They're hit bad. Jump engines are malfunctioning.

Video Footage
(Maintbot 02 shows the Narn cruiser trying to generate a jump point and enter hyperspace, but the jump point looks malformed. The ship begins to explode. The view shifts to Securecam 15, which shows the remainder of the explosion of the ship.)

* * *

Torqueman (at anchor desk)
As journalists, we would be remiss in our responsibilities if we suggested that events such as those you've just witnessed were typical of the situation on Babylon 5. Like anyone else, they have good days and bad days. But there can be no question that it is a flash point that can only grow hotter as time passes. And yet, growth only comes through pain and struggle, so perhaps we should allow Babylon 5 time to realize, or one day, even exceed the dreams we have invested in it. We'll be back with some concluding thoughts right after this message.


Commercial break

Torqueman
After the crisis was over, the debris cleared, and the bodies counted, we asked each of the people involved in this story one question: Given the danger, at the end of the day, as Mr. Garibaldi said, is it worth it?


Garibaldi
Absolutely. Sure, when things get tense out here, we have to be careful. Our search of the Centauri vessels we captured proved that they were bringing in weapons of mass destruction, offloading them outside the station, and sending 'em on to the front lines. Now that we know that, we can make sure it doesn't happen anymore. We learn. That's what humans do.

* * *

Londo
Misunderstandings aside...yes, I definitely think it's worth it. We must simply work harder to make sure we communicate with each other to prevent this sort of tragic situation from ever happening again. A violent attack by Narn forces is an unacceptable response to a peaceful protest by my government. And with the intervention of Earth, perhaps we can keep them from making a similar mistake in the future.

* * *

G'kar
I don't know anymore. I used to think so, but now...

* * *

Ivanova
Yes.

* * *

Delenn
Of course it is. For the simple reason that no one else will ever build a place like this. Humans share one unique quality: they build communities. If the Narns or the Centauri or any other race built a station like this, it would be used only by their own people. But everywhere humans go, they create communities out of diverse, and sometimes hostile, populations. It is a great gift and a terrible responsibility--one that cannot be abandoned.

* * *

Quantrell
Well...I guess we'll just have to see, won't we?

* * *

Franklin (to medics)
All right, med 2. Go. Go. (to Torqueman) Look, if we weren't here right now, half the people in this room would be dead. That should be a good enough answer for anyone.

* * *

Delvientos
Sure. What, are you kidding? I have a retirement pension to make, you know?

* * *

Sheridan
Yes, but not for any of the reasons that you've probably been told. The job of Babylon 5 is not to enforce the peace, it's to create the peace. And this place was built on the assumption that we could work out our problems and build a better future. And that, to me, is the key issue. See, in the last few years, we've stumbled. We've stumbled at the death of the president, the war, and on and on. And when you stumble a lot, you...you start looking at your feet. You know, we have to make people lift their eyes back to the horizon and see the line of ancestors behind us saying, "Make my life have meaning." And to our inheritors before us saying, "Create the world we will live in." We're not just...holding jobs and having dinner. We're in the process of building the future. That's what Babylon 5 is all about. Only by making people understand that can we hope to create a better world for ourselves, and our posterity.


Torqueman
I'm Cynthia Torqueman, ISN news. Good night.

[Home] [Top] [Comments] [Episode List] [Previous] [Next]

Last update: November 27, 1995