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Synopsis by Matthew Murray (n9641343@cc.wwu.edu)

Z Minus 7 Days

Delenn appeals to the League of Non-Aligned Worlds to assist the Army of Light in the war against the Shadows. The League, however, is not inclined to join them, without knowing what they are getting into. Lennier urges them to trust Delenn, but they aren't sure, and even though Delenn believes many of her previous actions should have earned their trust, none of them are sure they want to weaken their own defenses. Delenn promises that she will work to keep the other ships as safe as possible, using as many ships as she can spare. She reminds them that their time is short.

Sheridan, addressing the War Council, explains that he believes the Shadows are trying to lure everyone into one place, sector 83, in order to attack them all at once. One ship, the White Star, will be sent there to inform the fleet when the Shadows arrive. Sheridan orders Ivanova and Marcus not to engage the Shadows without further orders. He warns them both that, even if everything goes as planned, they can hope for little more than a fifty percent chance of success.

Delenn returns to the council chamber to find the entire League of Non-Aligned worlds gone, except for the Drazi ambassador. He explains that the others went to speak with their governments, and that the other ambassadors have agreed to commit their ships. He hopes she's right about her plan, as it will cost them all greatly otherwise.

Ivanova and Marcus prepare to leave in the White Star, and the only further advice Sheridan has for them is an old Egyptian blessing. As the White Star begins the journey to sector 83, Marcus asks Ivanova what the captain meant by the blessing. "May God stand between you and harm in all the empty places you must walk," explains Ivanova.

As Garibaldi walks down the corridor, he is met up by Zack on his way to lunch. Garibaldi doesn't care to join him, since he is still more than a little concerned about Dr. Franklin, who is still on Walkabout. Zack doubts Franklin's choice, and Garibaldi agrees that it may be an immature course. Zack tries to convince Garibaldi that he did everything he could to help, but Garibaldi is not so sure; perhaps he tried to help Franklin in the wrong way. Even though he knows it's too late to help further, he hopes Dr. Franklin will find what he's looking for--himself.

In a crowded marketplace in Downbelow, a family of visitors to Babylon 5 tentatively makes their way, the mother not able to understand its appeal. She insists she heard the sqalid conditions are due to Babylon 5's secession from Earth, though her husband disagrees. While they argue, their daughter loses her ball, which is caught by Dr. Franklin, lurking amongst the crowd. Though all he does is return it to her and try to make her smile, the mother is vary wary and pulls her away.

Z Minus 6 Days

Ivanova enters the White Star's sleeping chambers and awakens Marcus, who is quick to run a check on the weapon systems. Ivanova observes that Marcus is fluent in Minbari, and Marcus explains that part of his training as a Ranger was to learn to be able to speak and think in a Minbari tongue, and that, to the Minbari, it is as important as fighting prowess. He offers to teach Ivanova, who politely refuses. Though she does relent a little, she is intrigued by some words he speeks to her: "You're the most beautiful woman I've ever met," though she can't understand the Minbari tongue he speaks them in. He tells her it is a greeting that means, "My words are inadequate to the burden of my heart." She finds the saying unusual, but is anxious to get to bed, though sleeping on the diagonal bed proves less than easy for her. Marcus pesters her a little more but eventually leaves, leaving Ivanova to attempt to rest. However, she has very little success.

Sheridan is in his quarters charging up his PPG when Delenn enters with a progress report on the fleet. She explains that, as difficult as forming the fleet was, keeping it at full strength will be even harder. Sheridan tells Delenn he wishes she would stay behind during the battle, what with everyone else being tied up, but she insists it is important for her to go and that, when she returns, they will spend the night together. Delenn explains to Sheridan, who misinterprets her remark, that "when Minbari become close as we have become close, it is tradition that they spend three nights together. The male sleeps, the female watches." This confuses Sheridan until Delenn explains that Minbari believe one's true face is only revealed during their sleep, when they have no need to put on a different one for the people they meet during the day. If the female likes what she sees, the ritual continues. Delenn insists to Sheridan that she already does, and he needn't worry about the lofty consequences, should that not happen. "History awaits," she tells him as she leaves.

As Franklin is exploring some of the dark environs of Downbelow, he witnesses two thugs savagely beating up on a man. Franklin tries to come to the man's assistance, but a vicious battle between Franklin and the assailants ensues, leaving Franklin bleeding profusely. The man he tried to save was dealing drugs and refuses to help for fear of being caught. Some time later, Franklin is still alone, despite his frantic shouting and attempts making progress out of the secluded alcove in which he's trapped.

Ivanova discovers the solution to sleeping on the White Star -- removing the pillows from each of the beds, and making a bed from them -- just as Marcus calls her to tell her that she's needed on the bridge. When she arrives, he shows her that a small ship, made of the same material as Shadow vessels, has appeared. It seems to be some sort of a scout ship, but the White Star has little time to spare -- they can't move without their energy signature being picked up, and since the planet they are hiding behind is about to come out of eclipse, they are going to be seen very soon. The sun appears, and the White Star is revealed to the scout ship. It sees them and begins to send out a warning signal, but Ivanova orders Marcus to jam it before it can warn the Shadows.

Delenn, Sheridan, and Lennier, aboard the command ship of the fleet, prepare for the battle. The telepaths are safe, and the other White Star ships are on their way. Delenn is very worried about Ivanova, but Sheridan insists she will be fine. Delenn leads Sheridan to the place where he will lead the battle--a chamber much like that in which the Grey Council met. Delenn tells him that he will be able to keep track of the battle. Sheridan doesn't understand how, but Delenn promises him he will when the time comes.

Franklin, still bleeding and weaker than before, continues to cry out for help, but to no avail. He mutters to himself about how stupid what he's done is, and another voice from nearby agrees with him. He looks up to see a healthy, clean-cut version of himself standing nearby, agreeing. "You said you had to keep walking until you met yourself. Well, here I am. So, if we're gonna talk, let's talk. Only, I don't think you have enough time."

The Shadow scout ship fires upon the White Star, but does no damage. Ivanova is determined to prevent the Shadow vessel from getting out of jamming range, and she prepares to fire. She returns fire on the vessel, and does some damage, but angers it greatly -- the ship moves to ram them, delivering a glancing blow that takes the White Star's jump engines offline. Marcus detects an energy surge several thousand kilometers away, and he puts it up on the view screen. Dozens of full-sized Shadow vessels begin appearing. Without the jump engines on-line, the White Star is in trouble. They know that they have no chance of escape, so they signal their fleet.

As the Minbari fleet moves to assist the White Star, and the Shadow vessels continue to move closer, Dr. Franklin continues his conversation with himself, who tells him that he has spent his whole life running away from his father, his future, his life, and his work. The other Franklin is upset at the wounded Franklin, who, when he finally had everything he needed including a good job and people that cared about him, just gave it up and ran away. He is also less than happy that Franklin won't stop dying long enough to answer his charges. He tells Franklin he doesn't care if he dies, as the two of them parted ways a long time ago.

As the White Star's jump engines begin to come back on-line, Marcus determines that a Shadow vessel has detected the White Star, and is moving to intercept. As it comes closer, a jump point opens, and numerous ships emerge -- including the White Star fleet, Minbari heavy cruisers, and the ships of the League of Non-Aligned worlds. As Sheridan watches in the command room of the lead Minbari ship, a circular viewscreen descends around him and Delenn, and he dispenses his orders to the fleet. The battle begins.

"Blood pressure's dropping fast," Franklin says, taunting his wounded alter ego. He asks Franklin what he has to live for, and what he could possibly want, since he threw it all away the first time. Franklin insists he wants to do it all over again, and begins to regain his determination. He begins to move, and pull himself up the ladder that leads out of his prison. With his healthy self taunting him all the way, and despite his wounded condition, Franklin is eventually able to get out. With great difficulty, he makes his way through the station, until he finally arrives in a Downbelow market area, where he is dragged away by security personnel.

The battle rages on, with all of the ships, Shadow and non-Shadow alike, taking heavy damage. However, despite the Shadows' superior numbers, Sheridan's battle expertise and the large number of telepaths at his disposal manage to help keep the Shadow ships at bay, if only a little. The battle comes to its conclusion, and despite heavy losses on all sides, the Shadows, realizing what they are up against, eventually retreat, leaving a massive graveyard of ships behind. As they stand amidst the remains of their fleet, Sheridan and Delenn embrace, knowing they have, for now at least, triumphed.

Franklin, on a gurney, is taken back to Medlab as the remants of the fleet and the numerous casualties therefrom are returned to the station. Garibaldi asks Sheridan, once he is back in the docking bay, how the battle went, to which Sheridan replies that it went okay, but not great. Two of their ships were destroyed for every one of the Shadow ships that were taken out, and Marcus reminds them that this time they had the advantage -- they knew where the Shadows were going to strike. Next time they won't be so lucky. But Ivanova is still impressed -- they were able to unite with the League of Non-Aligned Worlds against the Shadows.

"So here's the big question," Garibaldi says. "Now that we've shown them we can hurt them, how long until they come knocking at our front door?"

"That's what worries me," Sheridan says as he and Delenn leave.

Z Minus 4 Days

Garibaldi goes to visit Franklin, being treated for his wounds in Medlab. Franklin finally regains consciousness, and Garibaldi tells him that he is disappointed -- he lost 30 credits in a bet because of it. Franklin, though still in great pain, is willing to admit that he found what he needed -- a short, sharp kick to the head, which Garibaldi says he would have been only too happy to provide. Franklin also says that, when he found himself, he didn't like the person he met too much. Garibaldi gets ready to leave, but reminds Franklin before he goes never to do something like this again -- he can't afford to lose another 30 credits.

In Hyperspace, a Shadow vessel is travelling, but it stops for a moment, and something emerges from it -- a ship. It flies off quickly in an opposite direction from the Shadow vessel.

Sheridan tells everyone that, though they did everything they could, they took a big loss, and that it is only a matter of time until the Shadows come looking for them. Sheridan wants to know how and when, but Delenn suggests that they may be reluctant to do so, and with the weapon on Epsilon 3 at their disposal, they may be foolish to try. Ivanova doesn't understand why, when the Shadows could have attacked at any time during the past year, they waited so long to attack now? As Sheridan ponders this, he remembers part of his dream from long ago -- something he's been doing ever since Kosh died.

Ivanova, with a large raven on her shoulder, asks Sheridan, "Do you know who I am?"

Sheridan explains that, not too long after he had the dream, Ivanova revealed that she was a latent telepath, and that she said she sometimes didn't know who she was. Ivanova doesn't know how Kosh knew that, but that the image does fit. He explains further that the dream showed him wearing the uniform of a PsiCop, and Ivanova realizes that that foreshadowed their siding with Bester. Sheridan further explains he had an image of Garibaldi, with a dove on his shoulder.

"The man in between is searching for you."

Ivanova surmises that that could refer to Sinclair, but Sheridan is unsure, feeling that there must be another explanation. He moves on to the next part of his dream -- Ivanova, dressed in a black veil.

"You are the hand."

Ivanova doesn't understand why she would say anything that sounded so strange, but Delenn explains that Sheridan has two hands, both equal, but opposite, and that it is possible that is the "man in between" to which Sheridan's dream was referring -- Sheridan's equal and opposite. The final part of Sheridan's dream -- his looking up and seeing himself -- seems to support that theory as well. Sheridan orders that all of Babylon 5's squadrons be on flybys, since sooner or later, trouble will find them. And he expects it to be sooner.

Before long, Franklin is back up and around, advising those beneath him in Medlab. Though he is confined to a wheelchair, he can still do what he does best: give orders. Sheridan comes into Medlab and tells Franklin that his job is waiting for him, should he still want it. Franklin doesn't have to hesitate very long before saying yes. Sheridan asks him if he is sure, but Franklin knows he is. Franklin tells Sheridan that he used the stims to do more, when what he needed was to do better, and he knows that he ran away when he quit to avoid being fired. He explains that he has, for his entire life, looked at himself in terms of what he wasn't, but never what he was, and that he missed a lot of important things because of it. He knows he can't go back and undo his past mistakes, but can appreciate what he has now, and he can define himself by what he is and not what he isn't. Sheridan asks what that is. "I'm alive," Franklin tells him. "Everything else is negotiable." Sheridan's commlink beeps, and he answers it. It is an officer telling Sheridan that Delenn is awaiting him. Sheridan leaves, and as he goes, Franklin continues his advising.

Later that evening, as another visitor arrives on the station, Sheridan is in his quarters, asleep, while Delenn watches him silently. Ivanova, however, is having trouble sleeping. Zack interrupts her, telling her there is someone new onboard the station, that he considers very important, and that concerns the captain. As Sheridan sleeps, Delenn gets up from his beside and moves out to the front room, where she finds a snow globe. She picks it up, turns it over, and watches the falling flakes silently. The door to Sheridan's quarters burst open, and a shadow appears in the doorway. What she sees is enough to cause her to lose her hold on the snow globe, which falls to the ground and shatters.

"Hello," the figure, a woman, says as she appears in the doorway. "You must be Delenn. I'm Anna Sheridan. John's wife."

Z Minus 2 Days


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Last update: December 20, 1996