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Synopsis by Katrina Glerum (kat@midwinter.com)

Londo insists on giving Vir unwelcome advice on how to phrase his intelligence report regarding Minbar. Just as Vir finally loses his temper, Londo receives a call from Centauri Prime telling him that Lady Morella, the late Emperor Turhan's third wife, will be arriving soon. Delighted, Londo exclaims that everything must go smoothly for this important visit. As he goes to prepare he finds his exit blocked by a corridor full of people in a panic because the Earth Alliance has just declared martial law.

The latest word for Sheridan and Ivanova from Earth is that President Clark has just dissolved the Senate and the Elite Guard is moving in on defiant members in their chambers. Joint Chief of Staff General Hague is missing, but he left a message for Sheridan: "Everything's gone to hell, John. You're on your own." They head to command and control to try to steady the crew, ordering them to stay at their posts and keep a squadron of fighters on patrol at all times. Garibaldi catches Sheridan and Ivanova a moment later in the hall and relays that an alert has been posted for General Hague, who is trying to organize a counter strike. Hague is outnumbered, and the conspirators realize that if the general is captured, they will be arrested next. If he comes toward B5 they can help him, but in the meantime, they and everyone else will keep watching ISN.

Zack's viewing is interrupted by the Nightwatch liaison telling him to come to a critical meeting in a couple of hours--and to bring extra caps for his PPG just in case.

G'Kar's singing is interrupted by Garibaldi setting him free from prison. He is quite pleased and obliquely promises some assistance.

Londo curses the crisis in Docking as he explains how much effort it took to arrange Lady Morella's visit. Her importance is due as much to her status as the ex-consort as because she is a prophetess, and Londo hopes for some much needed advice.

The four senior officers receive a briefing from General Smits informing them that the Political Office has assigned all off-world security responsibility to Nightwatch personnel, and over Sheridan's protests orders them to obey the chain of command. This is the same order that the Nightwatch liaison is relaying to security members in their meeting. It is now their responsibility to root out the traitors who have sold out Earth throughout the station.

Returning to his quarters, G'Kar is astonished to find that Ta'lon has been guarding the door throughout his incarceration.

One by one, the security personnel approach the liaison and Zack to decide whether to accept the Nightwatch armband or quit duty and hand in their weapon and ID. Garibaldi knows what's going on and is infuriated by it. It is a matter of personal honor to him that the people he has carefully gathered and nurtured are not sold down the river by what he considers the squabbles of Earth politicians. Even though Sheridan begs him to reconsider, Garibaldi storms down to security to confront the Nightwatch armed with only the force of his character and his fierce sense of personal loyalty.

As Londo attends Lady Morella, she speaks about the late emperor's efforts to keep the present madness at bay and then asks why Londo really asked her to come to the station. With rare candor Londo replies that he needs a prophecy to discover whether in the great future he envisions for himself, he has any hope of redemption. She agrees to give him a reading before she leaves.

Zack is unable to get the furious Chief to wear an armband or stop him from crashing the Nightwatch enrollment procedures. Although they are shamed, not a single Nightwatch guard wavers. Just as the Captain predicted, Garibaldi is ousted and Zack is placed in command of security.

Alternately musing and inspired, G'Kar tries to explain his revelation to Ta'lon. In order to save themselves the Narn must be willing to give up pride and vengeance, be willing to die by the millions for others and for the Universe itself. The humans are the key, he says, and a key that they must turn to find salvation for all.

The Captain shows Commander Ivanova the official order of martial law on B5 which he must impose, but he refuses her offer of assistance in order to shield her from association with this despicable command.

Nightwatch officers move through the Zocalo, breaking up groups of tense humans clustered around the news, while Londo tries to present the atmosphere in a brighter mood for his tour with Lady Morella. She is not taken in by the Ambassador, but is almost swept up in a riot that erupts between civilians cheering word of General Hague's escape and the Nightwatch. All monitors switch to Sheridan reading the declaration of martial law as pandemonium reigns the marketplace.

Franklin finds Sheridan filled with revulsion for the entire situation, and the Nightwatch in particular. Suggesting caution and faith in Hague, Franklin reminds the Captain that he can't disobey the chain of command. This echo of General Smits prompts Sheridan to realize that there was a hidden message in the General's briefing.

Resplendent in full battle garb, G'Kar stalks into C and C to whisper in Ivanova's ear that he has had an idea.

A stressed and weary Zack comes home to find his living room staked out by Garibaldi, Ivanova and G'Kar, with Sheridan ordering him inside from the corridor behind.

Lady Morella is disturbed when an incidental touch passes her Londo's vision of himself on the Centauri throne.

When Zack discloses to the Nightwatch liaison that the Captain intends to replace the Nightwatch security personnel with a shipload of Narn arriving soon in Bay 9, the man glows with excitement at the prospect of catching them and arresting the entire command staff for sedition.

G'Kar asks a packed meeting of Narn for their assistance, while Sheridan broods in the darkness of his quarters. When the hour arrives, the four senior officers stride towards a momentous encounter and the end of their careers as they know them, and the Nightwatch gear up to make a stand at Bay 9. When they are all in place, Zack speaks, "Now!" into his link and dives out as the bay doors fall. Sheridan addresses the trapped officers. He explains that any order by the Political Office to Earth Force personnel is an illegal order, and thus they are under arrest for conspiracy to mutiny until the order is confirmed through the proper military hierarchy in a few hours or days. In the meantime, the security lack will be made up by G'Kar's Narn on the station.

Lady Morella gives Londo his reading, but as prophecy tends to be, it is obscure and not what he wants to hear. She tells him he will have three opportunities to sidestep the fiery future awaiting him at the end of his journey, and has already missed two others. He must save the eye that cannot see. He must not kill the one who is already dead. And if all else fails, he must surrender himself to his greatest fear, knowing that it will destroy him. In addition she tells him that he will be emperor someday. As an aside she informs Vir that he will be emperor also, which amuses him enormously-until he realizes that she isn't joking. "One of you will become emperor after the other is dead."

In single file and under the watchful eyes of Narn and loyal security guards, the Nightwatch are permitted to surrender their weapons and IDs and submit to house arrest.

Sheridan expresses his gratitude to G'Kar but is disturbed and suspicious when the former ambassador demands in return to be admitted into the secret alliance he knows Sheridan has been gathering.

Seated on far sides of their chamber, Londo and Vir eye each other edgily while the Lady Morella's parting line hangs in the long silences between them.

"I never thought it would end like this," Ivanova remarks to the Captain as they gaze out his office window at the station core. General Hague is likely to be captured soon, and the other defectors have already been shot down. They understand that they are next on the list.

"Me either," he replies.


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Last update: November 8, 1997