"Humans have a phrase," Delenn narrates, as we see a recap of events leading up to the present, while she watches over Sheridan as he sleeps. "'What is past is prologue.' Minbari also have a phrase. 'What is past is also sometimes future.'"
The door to Sheridan's room bursts open, and he emerges, mouth agape, staring at Anna. He can't believe what he is seeing, and asks her what she's doing there. She asks him if that's the best she can do, but, indicating Delenn, says she can understand under the circumstances. Delenn rushes out, and Sheridan tries to stop her, but Anna lets her leave. He tells Anna that he thought she was dead, and she expresses surprise that Delenn didn't tell him. She says she's sorry she couldn't tell him herself, and that she had to leave him alone for so long with no word. But that's behind them now, and they're together again. He pulls away, and she tells him she understands his doubts, based on what Delenn told him. She tells him she will take any tests and answer any questions to prove she is his wife. She says she's here to explain everything to him to help him understand what it's really all about. She says all he needs to do is come with her.
"Where?" Sheridan asks.
"Where else?" Anna replies. "To Z'ha'dum."
As G'Kar and Ivanova walk through a storage bay, G'Kar explains that the devices around them were delivered by the Gaim ambassador, and that each of the weapons can deliver a blast of between five and six hundred megatons, and they are very difficult to detect. Ivanova plans to use them as mines to destroy Shadow vessels when they come out of hyperspace.
Sheridan watches in MedLab as a group of medical personnel examine Anna. Dr. Franklin emerges and tells Sheridan that Anna is human, and that all of her old medical records match up perfectly: It is his wife. Sheridan protests that she died at Z'ha'dum, and Franklin asks why he isn't glad she's back. Sheridan explains that he had to move beyond her death, and now, with Delenn, things are even more complicated. He asks Franklin if there is anything else, and Franklin mentions that he found some epidermal scarring above the nape of her neck, and that he doesn't yet know what caused it. Franklin promises to run some tests, and Sheridan tells him that he has to know whether or not it's really Anna.
Sheridan, in his office, demands to know from Delenn if it really is
Anna. Delenn says she doesn't know, but Sheridan doesn't accept that
answer--the pictures she and Kosh showed him led him to believe she was
dead, but he wants to know why they did that if they didn't know for
sure. Delenn said she was sure Anna would not serve the Shadows, but
she admits she might have been wrong. Sheridan is adamant in believing
Anna would never go along, and Delenn says she has no other
explanation, but Sheridan can't accept that. He demands to know why
she didn't tell him if there was even the slightest chance she was
still alive. She says, that if she had, he would have gone to Z'ha'dum
after her, and they couldn't allow that.
"You and Kosh... You couldn't allow it," Sheridan says. "I trusted you, Delenn, I cared for you. I let myself start to love you. Do you know what that means? Do you know how hard that was for me? All along a little part of me was still in love with Anna, even though she was gone--I had to fight that part off. Everytime I thought about you... about holding you, about building a life for the two of us..."
"John, you must believe me, I didn't know she was alive. We assumed that she had died with the rest of the crew of the Icarus, that only Morden had survived."
"And had you known, would you have told me?"
"That would depend. It would depend on what she had become. Z'ha'dum is the homeworld of the Shadows. No one leaves there the same as they arrived."
"You... you would have denied me the right to make that choice. How can you say that and expect me to ever trust you again?" He starts to walk out, but Delenn stops him.
"John, I do love you. If you believe nothing else I ever say,
please... please believe that." Sheridan, without responding, walks out
of the office.
Londo and Vir are in the Zocalo, and Vir asks Londo why he has been drinking so much since a diplomatic pouch arrived. Londo explains that he has been promoted, to the position of advisor to the emperor in matters of planetary security. Vir thinks that's great news, and doesn't know why Londo is upset. Londo tells him that it's because it didn't come twenty years ago, when he could appreciate it, but now, since they are afraid of him, they want to put a leash on him so they know what he's doing at all times. He knows that, if they see him doing anything suspicious, he will soon be killed. A man, who identifies himself only as "a friend" approaches the table. He says he was sent by their "mutual associates" and tells Londo to leave the station at once. Londo says he doesn't want to, and the man says that, if he won't go, he won't be responsible, but that Londo must leave quickly if he values his life. Londo and Vir know that it was more than likely a friend of Morden's, and Londo doesn't like the sound of the warning at all.
As Dr. Franklin looks over the medical records, searching for an explanation for the epidermal scarring, Anna tells Sheridan, in his quarters, that she has never been examined in such deatil--by anyone other than him. She tells him that the medical reports have confirmed that she is Anna, but Sheridan doesn't understand what she has been doing on Z'ha'dum for so long, and why she picked now to come back. She can't tell him that, but says that he needs to come back with her, and that they are eager to meet him. Sheridan asks what will happen if he doesn't go, and Anna says she will leave without him, and he'll never know the truth. She promises no threats and no ultimatums--merely an opportunity to hear their side of the story. Sheridan asks why she wants to go back, and Anna tells him it's her home now, and she's doing important work, and that he'll understand when he goes there. Sheridan still refuses until he gets some answers--he wants to know what happened to the Icarus and its crew when they landed there. Anna asks him if, when she tells him, he promises to go back with her. Sheridan agrees.
"Interplanetary Expeditions said that one of their probes out on the Rim had found the ruins of an ancient civilization," begins Anna. "Dr. Chang was putting together a follow-up expedition and he wanted me on his team. It was the find of a lifetime. What he didn't tell me, or most of the crew, was where he really got the information.
"A few years earlier, IPX had found an alien ship buried beneath the surface of Mars. It was unlike anything they had ever seen before. As soon as it was exposed to daylight, an automatic beacon on board sent out a coded message. They knew whoever the ship belonged to would be coming in fast to pick it up, so they moved quickly. They analyzed the ship, took pieces of it for study later, and planted a homing device inside. Three days later another ship turned up and was digging it out of the ground. When it left, IPX was able to track it through hyperspace to a world out on the Rim."
"Z'ha'dum," Sheridan realizes.
"We didn't have a name for it at the time," Anna continues. "And Chang was under strict orders from EarthForce New Technologies Division to keep this top secret. As soon as we landed, we picked up an energy source. We were told to check it out. And that's where we found them."
Anna tells him that that is not a descriptive name, nor their true
name, which is very long and nearly unpronouncable. She says they were
quite approachable, but Sheridan tells her to tell that to the rest of
the crew. Anna says that there was an accident, the crew was killed,
and the comm system was destroyed. They had no way to contact anyone
else. She says that, since the Shadows had just come out of
hibernation, they made a deal with the crew: If the humans would stay silent,
the Shadows would let them study their technology, which would solve nearly
all of Earth's problems and let them leap forward 10,000 years. Anna
says she didn't want Sheridan to think she was dead, but that he knows
he always said his first duty was to Earth. In addition, time doesn't
work quite the same on Z'ha'dum as it does everywhere else. She tells
him that, now that she's back, she'll take him to Z'ha'dum, so the
Shadows can tell him what it's really all about. She says that Delenn,
Kosh, and the others have misled him, and it's time to learn the
truth. He agrees and embraces her, but while he does so, his gaze falls
on Franklin's medical report on a table across the room.
Garibaldi enters Sheridan's office and asks if there's anything he can do to help. Sheridan tells him that, since the Minbari crew of the White Star has never been logged into the security net, he wants Garibaldi to begin that right away. The White Star can orbit the station on autopilot. Garibaldi reluctantly agrees. Sheridan says he also as a few other things for him to do, and hands him a list. Garibaldi agrees to do it, but is more than surprised by what he sees.
Sheridan, in his quarters, prepares for his trip to Z'ha'dum, by making
sure he is armed with a PPG at his side. He pulls another one out from
a drawer and looks at it critically in the mirror. As he gazes into
its surface, he realizes he is not alone.
"If you go to Z'ha'dum, you will die," says the old Kosh, whose image is also in the mirror. But when Sheridan turns around, there is no one else there. Sheridan turns back around, and looks at himself in the mirror for a moment, before walking to his comm screen. He tells the computer he wants to record a time-delayed message for Delenn.
Aboard the White Star, Anna asks if Sheridan is sure he can run the ship by himself. Sheridan thinks he probably can, as the design is pretty intuitive, and Anna assures him he is guaranteed safe passage. "Next stop," Sheridan says, "Z'ha'dum."
On the journey through hyperspace, Anna examines the White Star, and says she wishes they could have taken a different ship. As it is based partly on Vorlon technology, it could be dangerous; the Shadows believe they will die if anything even remotely Vorlon were to touch the surface of Z'ha'dum. Sheridan says he won't take any chances, and they'll take the shuttle down to the surface.
Back on Babylon 5, Franklin catches up with Ivanova as she walks down the corridor. Franklin asks why Sheridan left, and tells her that he knows Sheridan read the report he gave him. Ivanova doesn't know what he's talking about, and Franklin tells her it's about Anna.
The shuttle lands on the surface of the planet, and Sheridan and Anna,
wearing oxygen masks, make their way through the harsh atmosphere to
the entrance of the structure. The air inside is breathable, and Anna
explains, for security reasons, the structure was moved underground
many centuries ago. They are about to go further, but Anna takes
Sheridan's PPG before she will let him go further. She explains this
part of the complex was designed specifically for them. She takes him
down a corridor, and to a door. She knocks, and a voice inside tells
her to enter. She does so, and inside are two humans. One is an older
gentleman, and the other is a very familiar face: Morden.
Sheridan asks the older man who he is. The man insists it isn't important, but Sheridan demands to know. "Who decides that the work day is from 9 to 5 instead of 11 to 4? Who decides that the hemlines will be below the knee this year, and short again next year? Who draws up the borders, controls the currency, handles all the decisions that happen transparently around us?" Sheridan admits he doesn't know. "Ah," says the old man. "I'm with them. Same group, different department. Think of me as a sort of middleman. And the name is Justin."
Delenn receives a time-delayed message from Sheridan. "Delenn,"
the message says, "by the time you get this message, I will be at
Z'ha'dum... with Anna. I can pretty much guess your reaction when you
hear this, but I think it's the only way. When you and I were in the
time rift with Babylon 4, for a moment, I jumped forward in time. We'd
won the war, but Centauri Prime had been devastated. You said that
this future couldn't be changed. You also told me, 'Do not go to
Z'ha'dum. Do you understand? Do not go to Z'ha'dum!' I began to
wonder... What if that future happened because I listened to your
warning and didn't go to Z'ha'dum? What if... what if I could prevent
the fall of Centauri Prime and end the Shadow War by going there? What
I want... is to stay alive, to be with you. But you were right
before. This is about more than what I want. So I'm going, even
though I know it's almost certainly a trap."
"You see, John," Justin explains, as he pours tea, "back, a million years ago, there were forces prowling around the galaxy beyond anything that we could understand. And, like anything else, most of them outgrew this little corner of the universe, and headed off toward greener pastures. Now, two of them stayed behind, shepherds, you might call them. They wanted to look after the younger races, bring them around, help them evolve into something better."
"One of these was the Vorlons," Morden tells Sheridan. "The other was what you call the Shadows."
"The Vorlons are like your parents, I suppose," Justin continues. "They want you to play nice, clean your room, do it by the rules. I guess you could call them lords of order."
"The others," Anna says, "the ones who live here, believe that strength only comes from conflict. They want to release our potential, not bottle it up."
"It's really simple," Justin explains. "You bring two sides together, they fight, a lot of them die. But those who survive are stronger, smarter, and better."
"It's like knocking over an anthill," Morden says. "Every new generation gets stronger. The anthill gets redesigned, made better."
"So that's what the Shadows do," Sheridan says. "Come out every few thousand years, and kick over all the anthills, start wars, destroy entire races."
"A few get lost along the way, yes," Justin admits, "and that's
unfortunate. I don't think it was ever easy, but you can't let that
get in the way of the dream."
On Babylon 5, Corwin reports to Ivanova that he is picking up a disturbance coming from all around them. Many Shadow ships are appearing outside, encircling the entire station. Ivanova orders a red alert, and all the fighters are scrambled. None of the Shadow vessels are attacking, but Ivanova still orders the fighters to launch, but not to approach until she authorizes it.
"Think about it, Captain," Morden says. "Look at the long history of human struggle. Six thousand years of recorded wars, bloodshed, atrocities beyond all description. But look at what came out of all of that! We've gone to the stars, split the atom, written sonnets... We never would have come this far, if we hadn't been at each others' throats evolving our way up, inch by inch."
"It was supposed to be an equal balance between our side and the Vorlons," Anna says. "But the Vorlons decided that their way was the right way. They enlisted the support of the other worlds, like the Minbari. They even started interfering with the development of younger races."
"When you look at a Vorlon," Morden says, "you see what they want you to see. They've manipulated us so we respond favorably to them. They've even at a genetic level, taking humans and adjusting them. Why do you think certifiable telepaths came out of nowhere a hundred years ago?"
"They created telepaths on a hundred worlds to use as cannon fodder for the next war," Justin explains. "But fortunately, our friends got there first and with the help of the Psi Corps, made sure that they came out on our side. John, they think that the human race shows great potential. When all this is over, we can be riding high, the first to rebuild, making things our own way. But the only thing that's standing in our way now is you. So, we can either work together now, or we can remove your support mechanism."
The fighters begin to mobilize around the Shadow vessels, and Garibaldi is among them. Ivanova tries to get through to Draal, but communications are being jammed. Ivanova knows the ships' appearance has something to do with Sheridan, but has no idea what it is, or why they are waiting.
"Everything depends on getting the other races to fight each other," Anna says, "to create conflict in order to promote growth and evolution. By getting them to cooperate, you are working against that goal."
"Whenever this starts," Morden says, "there's always someone who tries to organize the other races. You've done it. That's a commendable achievement, but as far as our goals are concerned, unproductive."
"So why don't you just kill me?" Sheridan asks.
"It doesn't work," Justin says. "Somebody'd just come around and replace you. That's always been the trouble with creating martyrs. We brought you here hoping you'd understand us, work with us, not against us. You're important. You're what they call a nexus. You turn one way, and the whole world has a tendency to go the same way. Let go of those other races. You can't hold them together. Evolution will be served one way or another. You can work with us, or..."
"Or you'll do to me what you did to Anna," Sheridan says.
Justin, Anna, and Morden all look at each other. "I don't know what you're..." Anna begins.
"The memories are there, the voice is there, the DNA is there... But the personality, the look in her eyes... The woman I loved, the woman I married isn't there. She would never go along with this."
"You're right," Justin tells him. "Just so. You see, when she came here five years ago, she was given a choice. The same choice that we're giving you. She made the mistake of choosing badly." As Justin is talking, Sheridan's hand creeps down toward his leg.
"You stuck her in one of those ships, didn't you?" Sheridan asks. He uncovers a PPG strapped to his leg, beneath their field of view.
"How did you know?" Morden asks.
"A few months ago," Sheridan tells them, "we intercepted a ship full of people who were going to be merged with the Shadow vessels. They had implants in the brain stem, right back here. The scars in the back of her head are in exactly the same place."
"Our associates needed fresh bodies for the central processing units in their ships," Justin explains. "But we pulled her out as soon as we found out who she was and who you are. But once you've been inside of one of those ships for a while, you're never... quite whole... again. But you do as you're told!" Behind Sheridan a door opens, and a Shadow begins entering the room, and Sheridan sees it out of the corner of his eye. "And so will you!" As soon as Justin finishes, Sheridan jumps up and begins firing the PPG at the Shadow.
G'Kar runs into C&C. Ivanova asks if they can get the bombs outside,
but G'Kar says it would be too dangerous -- the blasts would take out
Babylon 5 as well. Ivanova is willing to risk it, and asks how many
they have. G'Kar explains that's why he's there -- two of the devices
A bleeding Sheridan makes his way through a rocky corridor, and eventually comes to a balcony overlooking a Shadow city. Directly beneath him is an enormous black abyss, and above him, a glittering ceiling, seperating this place from the outside atmosphere. Sheridan types in some commands on his commlink, and the White Star begins to come alive. Inside, a voice from the bombs says, "Thermal fusion system armed for detonation," and the White Star begins moving toward the planet.
"John," Anna says, as she arrives. "There's nowhere to run. Come back
inside. We can work this out." As the White Star hurtles toward the
surface, Anna continues. "I know this isn't the Anna that you knew.
What I am is what was made in her. A new personality. She can never
come back. But I can love you as well as she did."
"Finally," Sheridan's message concludes, "I heard what you said when I left.
I want you to know, I love you Delenn. Goodbye." Delenn touches the
screen, and as the message ends, she collapses against the wall,
Sheridan looks through the semi-transparent ceiling, and sees the White
Star on its way. He looks down into the abyss, and hears a familiar
voice--that of Kosh in his mind. "Jump... Jump now!" the voice urges.
As Anna and a group of Shadows begin to move closer, Sheridan climbs
over the edge of the balcony and leaps into the abyss below. Anna
watches, stunned, but has little time to contemplate what's happening.
The White Star crashes through the ceiling, and she lets out a blood
curdling scream as a white light floods the balcony. The White Star
impacts in an enormous exlosion.
The Shadow vessels, without warning, all vanish immediately, and while Garibaldi watches, a shadow comes over his viewport. No one on C&C understands the sudden departure, unless it is because they are no longer a threat, as G'Kar suggests. Ivanova believes she knows why, though. "He's gone."
As Delenn and Lennier pray over candles, we hear G'Kar's voice. "It was the end of the Earth year 2260, and the war had paused, suddenly and unexpectedly. All around us, it was as if the universe were holding its breath. Waiting... All of life can be broken down into moments of transition or moments of revelation. This had the feeling of both..."
Corwin reports to Ivanova that there has been no further word on the Captain, but that they can't communicate with the White Star--he thinks it's been destroyed. In addition, one of the fighters sent out didn't return. Ivanova asks who the pilot was, and Corwin tells her, "Mr. Garibaldi."
G'Kar continues speaking. "G'Quon wrote, 'There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.'"