An elderly Minbari male arrives on the station and asks to be shown to Ambassador Delenn.
Asking for directions.
Epsilon 3, the planet B5 is orbiting, is experiencing large earthquakes. Ivanova and Sinclair clear Dr. Tasaki, a geologist, to take a shuttle closer to the planet and collect data.
On his way to a negotiation session, Sinclair runs into Talia Winters waiting for the transport tube. She comments that Garibaldi is always in the tube waiting for her, and sure enough, he's there when the door opens. She opts to take the stairs.
As Dr. Tasaki's shuttle nears the surface of the planet, a powerful energy beam suddenly fires into space from below ground, knocking the shuttle out of control. Ivanova orders two Starfuries to tow the shuttle back to base. When he returns, Tasaki is eager to go down again the next day with more equipment, to try to figure out what's causing the beam.
Sinclair is presiding over a negotiation between Delenn and Londo about trade routes. The negotiation proceeds smoothly, which Londo attributes to G'Kar's absence. Delenn assures him that G'Kar's anger will fade with time, but Londo insists that the Narn hatred of the Centauri is intense enough to reduce Centauri Prime to ash if it could be made physical -- and the Centauri react to that hatred by hating the Narn all the more. After Londo leaves, Delenn comments to Sinclair that if Londo is right, if future generations won't be born into a brighter world, "then life is pointless, and evolution vastly overrated."
Londo describes the Narns' hatred.
Later, Ivanova tells Sinclair that the beam is a signal, perhaps a beacon, though nobody has been able to decipher it. She remarks that the day's Earth Force status report didn't say anything about the Mars colony, very unusual as it's mentioned every day.
Delenn is returning to her quarters when she's met by the Minbari male who boarded the station earlier. His name is Draal, and he's an old teacher of hers.
Sinclair is preparing for bed, watching the news on TV. The anchor is interrupted by a special report from the Mars colony: an armed revolt has begun, and heavy fighting is reported. The news show is able to broadcast a few moments of a field report before the reporter is cut off. Sinclair shuts off the television, disturbed.
Before he can contemplate further, a flickering image appears in midair across the room, an alien man who pleads for Sinclair's help before vanishing abruptly.
Pleading for help.
The next morning, Sinclair and Ivanova talk about the situation on Mars over breakfast. Sinclair, of course, was born there, and it's his home that's being blasted apart; but neither of them has friends or family there any more. Garibaldi, according to Ivanova, is taking the news badly.
Draal joins Delenn in her quarters. After thanking her for arranging for his quarters, he says that he left Minbar because it's changing for the worse, the people growing dissatisfied, self-involved to the exclusion of others; they've lost their sense of purpose. He says that he's "going to the sea" -- journeying out into the sea of stars in the hopes of finding a place where he's needed. Delenn is shocked.
Garibaldi tries to get a comm channel to Mars, but the government has imposed a communications blackout and he's not highly-placed enough to get through despite the blackout.
Ivanova briefs Dr. Tasaki and his crew, reminding them that the Starfuries escorting them are only designed for spaceflight and won't be able to help if the shuttle goes into the planet's atmosphere. Tasaki agrees not to do that, and the shuttle and escort are launched.
Ivanova briefs the shuttle crew.
Garibaldi goes to Talia and explains that when he was working security on Mars, he met and got involved with a woman named Lise Hampton. It was serious, but when he accepted Sinclair's offer to come to Babylon 5, he and Lise broke up angry with each other. They haven't spoken since, but now he's worried sick about her. He asks Talia to try to get him a comm channel via the secret Psi Corps training facility on Mars -- a facility, Talia notes with surprise, that he's not supposed to know about.
Garibaldi talks about Lise.
Ignoring Ivanova's order, Tasaki takes the shuttle into the upper part of the atmosphere to get more detailed sensor readings. Suddenly, a barrage of missiles is launched from the surface. One of them strikes the shuttle, but after Ivanova has the Starfuries disorient the missiles from orbit, Tasaki and his crew manage to escape safely.
Back on the station, Tasaki shows Sinclair and Ivanova a high-resolution image he captured just after the missiles were launched. It shows them coming from deep inside a fissure in the surface, five kilometers below the surface. Sinclair easily convinces Ivanova that the two of them should take a shuttle down to take a closer look, justifying his presence because it might be a first contact.
Tasaki describes the image.
Garibaldi is in the zocalo, looking miserable. Londo cheers him up by telling him a story. Londo was sitting in a club one day, looking miserable, when one of the dancers kissed him and told him it couldn't be that bad. He married her, regretted it the next morning, and has regretted it ever since.
On his way back to his quarters, Londo sees the same alien Sinclair saw earlier. Once again, it asks for help, then vanishes.
With orbiting Starfuries disorienting the missiles, Sinclair and Ivanova take a shuttle into the fissure, where they discover an artificial tunnel in the rock face. They land on a platform inside and put on breathers to go have a look around.
Distracting the planetary defenses.
Talia speaks with a member of the Psi-Corps, someone at the Mars facility. The woman refuses to let Garibaldi have a link -- doing so would confirm the existence of the facility, and he might be asking for a channel just to find out if the place really exists -- but she offers to look Lise Hampton's name up in the files and see if she's all right. Fighting is occuring less than a quarter-mile away from the facility, it seems; the Free Mars movement was much better armed and organized than anyone suspected.
Sinclair and Ivanova explore some smaller side tunnels on foot. They pass a dead alien, then nearly stumble into a high-tech deathtrap, but Sinclair sees it in time and the two of them make it through uninjured. They find themselves on a bridge spanning what looks like the hollow core of a gargantuan machine, miles tall with huge parts moving up and down the walls.
Sinclair and Ivanova cross the bridge.
Delenn and Draal visit Londo, who complains that he's unable to comprehend Earth people. As an example, he quotes a song he's been studying for a week. "It doesn't mean anything," he complains.
Talia visits Garibaldi in the command center and tells him Lise Hampton isn't on the survivor list. Garibaldi refuses to believe that something has happened to her, but seems somewhat numb.
An earthquake cuts off the tunnel behind Sinclair and Ivanova. Continuing forward, they see another projection of the alien Sinclair saw on the station. This time, though, the real alien is just around the corner, strapped into the center of a huge machine on the wall. "Help me," he says, "or your people, all your people, will die."
They help him out of the machine and take him back to the shuttle. With fighter cover, they head full-speed back toward the station. Sinclair orders Garibaldi to have a medical team standing by.
Garibaldi is relieved to hear that they're returning, but his relief is cut short when a tech announces that a ship, a big ship, is coming through the jump gate. He looks down at his computer display. "What the hell?"
To be continued...