Ambassador Delenn is in her quarters, examining a mobile hanging there. Lennier comes in, asking why he was summoned. She tells him that she received a message from the Grey Council, saying that, now that the new leader is in place, she should return so it can be decided whether she can remain part of the Council, or should be removed from it. She tells him that she is leaving shortly, and is not certain if she will return, as they may remove her from Babylon 5 as well, because she made the decision to undergo her transformation. She tells him that she is leaving him as much information as possible about her work so that, in case she doesn't return, he will have everything he needs if someone else is assigned to the station. She says to him that she feels very alone. He takes her hand and tells her she will never be alone.
"Never alone, Delenn."
"The last two ships that came through sector 92," Commander Ivanova explains to Captain Sheridan, "both reported unusual sightings." He asks what details they provided, but she tells him that they discovered little more than a disturbance or flash of light, but that at least one transport just vanished in that area. Sheridan knows that it can't be the raiders, as they are out of commission, but something is clearly going on. He asks what squadrons are available to investigate, and she tells him that alpha and zeta squadrons are unavailable, and the leader of delta squadron is sick. She offers to reassign the leader's second to command, but Sheridan decides to do it himself. Ivanova insists he take a full escort with him, and he agrees, though she is still uneasy about his going on the mission. "I'll be in and out in an hour," he tells her. "What could go wrong?"
Meanwhile, a group of several Narn ships is attacked by a huge ship. All of the Narn ships are destroyed, and the pilots killed, except for one Narn pilot, whom the ship brings into its depths with a blue beam.
Lennier arrives in the docking bay, where Delenn is waiting, and he tells her that her flier is recharged, and can leave at any time. He has borrowed a flier as well and intends to accompany her. She tries to dissuade him, in case her disfavor with the Council becomes associated with him, but he insists.
Sheridan arrives in his quarters and receives a message from Ivanova, telling him that his escort is ready for him and that General Hague is arriving earlier than planned. She complains that she should have been informed of the General's visit, but Sheridan tells her that it is a private matter, and nothing to worry about. And since he will have returned from his trip by the time the general arrives, there is nothing to worry about.
Delenn and Lennier arrive at the Grey Council's ship. She tells him that he must wait outside while she enters the Council chamber. He tells her that he will wait, and pray, for her. "Until later, Satai," he says to her as she enters the chamber.
Sheridan and his escort explore sector 92, but they find no debris or strange radiation there. They prepare to return to the jumpgate and Babylon 5, when a jump point forms, and a large, strangely-configured ship emerges. Sheridan orders his people to take evasive action. The ship fires on him. He manages to eject right before his ship explodes, but most of the other starfury pilots aren't so lucky--with the exception of one starfury, the rest are destroyed trying to rescue the captain. The starfury that remains is disabled by a blast from the strange ship. The pilot, Lt. Ramirez, is the only one to see Sheridan's ejection pod be taken aboard the ship.
Sheridan in peril.
Ramirez receives a message from his computer, telling him that the ship has been severely disabled and that a leak in the fusion reactor has caused radiation in the ship to reach terminal levels. Since the communication system is not functioning, he redirects all the energy he can to the system controls, and re-enters the jumpgate he came through.
Ivanova greets General Hague, who arrives in the docking bay. He asks where Captain Sheridan is, and Ivanova tells him that he had to look into another problem. Hague says it is unlike Sheridan to be late, but Ivanova tries to convince him that nothing is wrong, and takes Hague to C&C.
Sheridan awakes to find himself in a strange, cavernous room on the alien ship, strapped to a table. He calls out, to see if his abductors are there, but no one answers. A panel opens in the ceiling and a strange device with surgical implements is lowered into the room above his head. Sheridan tries to shy away from the machine as it edges closer to his face.
Delenn stands in her light at the Grey Council, surprised to find no other council members there. She addresses the Council in the traditional fashion, but is greeted only by Hedronn appearing out of the shadows, telling her that the rest of the Council will not come. She tells him that she was summoned, but Hedronn tells her that she was not called to serve on the Council, but rather receive judgement. She says she is allowed a hearing and entitled to defend herself, but Hedronn disagrees. "You were told to wait," he says to her, "before taking this action. Before becoming alien to us. You have been away from us for too long, Delenn. Your contact with the humans has changed more than your appearance. If you are no longer one of us, how can you be one of the Nine?" She tries to convince him that her heart has not changed, but he says that the Council no longer knows her heart. He tells her that the Council voted to remove her from their number.
"You were told to wait."
Before she leaves, she asks about her position as Ambassador to Babylon 5. He says they haven't decided on that yet, but that she has the right to make a statement to the Council. She thanks him and asks who her replacement to the Council was. Hedronn doesn't answer, and only says that she will be called when the Council is ready.
Ivanova and General Hague are unable to contact Sheridan, and are about to try something else when Ramirez's starfury comes through the jump gate. Ivanova scans the ship, learning that it has been shot up pretty badly and there are minimal life signs. She calls down to MedLab to inform Dr. Franklin.
Sheridan lies on the table, three spots on his face bleeding profusely as the alien device retracts into the ceiling. He calls out again, but there's no answer. A long metal bar falls to the floor as his restraints come off of their own accord. He sits up just in time to miss being hit by a Drazi wielding a similar metal bar. Sheridan tries to speak to the Drazi, but finds the only way he can communicate is by grabbing the metal rod and fighting. The alien doesn't respond to anything Sheridan says, but apparently is controlled by a device attached to its head. Sheridan asks who his captors are and why they are doing this, but receives no response. They continue fighting, and Sheridan eventually triumphs as the Drazi is accidentally impaled on his own weapon.
Hoping the worst is over, Sheridan is surprised to see another alien appear, this time a Narn -- the same one captured by the aliens earlier -- swinging a sword at him furiously. The Narn says nothing to Sheridan, but is also apparently controlled by a device attached to his head. Sheridan and attempts to fight off the Narn, and suffers little more than a cut to the leg, but when the Narn corners Sheridan and has the chance to kill him, the Narn says to him, "Kill me!" Sheridan realizes that their alien abductors probably kidnapped them to do battle. Sheridan defends himself, eventually knocking the Narn to the ground. Sheridan checks the Narn and discovers that, luckily, he is still alive.
Dr. Franklin does everything he can to help Ramirez, but before he can even really begin to do anything, Ramirez dies. Garibaldi tries to convince Dr. Franklin that he did everything he could, but Franklin just backs off. Ivanova arrives and reports to Garibaldi that they learned from the starfury's data record that Sheridan has been taken aboard an alien vessel of unknown origin and design.
The Grey Council has convened, and Delenn enters the Council chamber and stands in a blue light in the center of the other members. She addresses them. "For twenty cycles I have stood beside you as one of the Nine. I called many of you friends. Now you call me outcast. You know me. You know I believe in the task that is before us, the great war that is coming. I have not turned my back on you. In trying to help, I have sacrificed all that I was and all that I am. We can no longer allow ourselves to be separated by names and borders. Our two sides must unite or be destroyed. Do not make my sacrifice a vain one. Allow me to finish what I started. In the name of our friendship, the future of our people -- let me remain on Babylon 5."
"I am more than happy to have you remain with the humans," a voice from behind her says. Delenn turns around, knowing that this is her successor. She says she doesn't know him, but he says she does. He removes his hood, and she recognizes him as Neroon of the Warrior Caste, from the Starrider's clan. Delenn doesn't understand. Valen chose three Minbari from each caste -- the Worker, the Religious, and the Warrior -- to serve on the Grey Council. Her replacement should have been from the Religious caste. She cannot understand why the Warrior caste had been given such great power. Neroon tells her that the Warrior caste is the caste that has suffered the most over the ages, dying as they defended the Minbari, and that, if a great war is coming, the Warrior caste should lead against it. She doesn't think the Warrior caste should be allowed to make policy. Neroon tells her that the Warrior caste was lied to and never told the reason for the Minbari surrender against the humans; if they'd known the truth, they never would have surrendered. He says that Delenn is an affront to the Minbari race and that she doesn't belong with either the Minbari or the humans, which makes her the perfect emissary. He tells her to go to Babylon 5 -- and stay there. The lights around the other Council members blink out, leaving Delenn alone in the chamber.
All alone in the night.
Sheridan sits beside the defeated Narn, who awakes to discover that Sheridan has removed the device on his head. Sheridan tells the Narn that there is no food or water for them. Sheridan says the Narn and the other alien were the only other living beings he's seen. He asks the Narn why they've been captured, and the Narn says they were captured as specimens so that their captors can study and analyze other races, possibly in preparation for an invasion. Sheridan tells the Narn that they are probably being tested to see how they react toward other species. Sheridan tells the Narn he will get him to a doctor, but that they must escape first. Sheridan asks the Narn why he wanted him to kill him. The Narn says, "There is no escape. Better to die," just as he falls unconcious.
Delenn emerges from the Council chamber. "Satai Delenn?" Lennier asks, but she says that she is only Delenn now. She tells him that the Grey Council thinks she can best serve her people by staying on Babylon 5. Lennier says that the Council is very wise, so their decision must be correct. Delenn tries to convince Lennier to leave her and go home to his family, but he says that he will stay by her side. She remembers the first time they met; she wants them to be treated as equals now. "Very soon now, I will be going into darkness and fire. I do not know if I am fated to walk out again. If it is your choice to come with me, then I could not wish for a better, or braver, companion." They leave together.
General Hague asks Ivanova about a recent sighting of the alien ship, and Ivanova tells him that they have attacked twice more, as if they are collecting specimens. Hague says that that may be their weakness -- the longer they take collecting specimens, the more time Babylon 5 has to find them. Luckily, Ivanova enlisted the help of the alien ambassadors, and Hague put in some messages of his own. As he is telling Ivanova this, the Agamemnon, Captain Sheridan's previous command, enters through the jumpgate, ready to assist Babylon 5 as necessary.
Sheridan is lying down in his alien prison, barely able to keep from falling asleep. Soon, he succumbs, and has a dream...
...He is in his own quarters, which are very dark. He turns, looks across the room, and sees Ivanova standing there, her hair draped over her left shoulder. She puts her finger over her mouth and says, "Shh." A large black raven appears on her shoulder. "Do you know who I am?" she asks him. He turns around and looks behind...
...and finds himself somewhere else, a corridor on Babylon 5. He looks above him and sees himself standing on a platform, bathed in an eerie white light. The Sheridan on the platform shifts his gaze. He sees another figure on the platform -- Garibaldi, also bathed in the white light, and with a small white bird, a dove, sitting on his shoulder. "The man in between is searching for you," Garibaldi tells Sheridan. Sensing another figure behind him, Sheridan turns...
...and finds himself wearing a black Psi-Cop uniform, complete with badge. He is facing a tall figure in a veil, again Ivanova. "You are the hand," she tells him. He finds himself wearing his normal uniform and turns around again...
...this time seeing Ambassador Kosh standing there. "Why are you here?" Sheridan asks him.
"We were never away," Kosh intones. "For the first time, your mind is quiet enough to hear me."
"Why am I here?"
"You have always been here," Kosh says...
...and Sheridan awakes. He looks at the wall beside him and notices that it is, in fact, movable. He looks at the Narn's sword, sitting beside him, and begins developing a plan.
Delenn and Lennier make contact with Babylon 5, telling them of their impending arrival. Delenn asks if there is a problem, and C&C tells them that Sheridan is missing. Delenn tells them to send her the information. After looking at the information, Delenn informs Babylon 5 that she knows something about the ship they are searching for. "The ship which has taken Captain Sheridan is known to us. They are called the Streibs. Over the years, they have sent out ships to investigate defenses and acquire samples of any life forms they encountered. Their last expedition was into Minbari space. We tracked them back to their homeworld and made sure they understood the depth of their mistake." Delenn transmits the coordinates of the Streib homeworld.
The Narn wakes as Sheridan attempts, with great difficulty, to open a door he has discovered. The Narn helps him as the ship is rocked -- Sheridan believes it is because they jumped back into normal space, either stopping to pick up more life forms, or because they've arrived at the alien homeworld. The latter turns out to be true; the Agamemnon and several Starfuries emerge from a jump point near the Streib ship, guns blazing.
The Streibs under attack.
Delenn contacts the Streibs and instructs them to release their prisoners. Sheridan and the Narn, surmising that the ship is under attack, use the distraction to lift the walls and finally escape beyond the room. The Narn wants Sheridan to leave him behind, but Sheridan will not do so. After taking care of a passing Streib, a survival pod opens up nearby. Sheridan grabs the Narn and drags him into one.
At the same moment, the Streibs decide to eject all of their captives into space. This incenses Ivanova, who orders the Streibs to be destroyed, which the Agamemnon is easily able to accomplish with a few blasts. Ivanova determines that Captain Sheridan is sending her a signal, and Sheridan and the Narn are rescued.
Back on Babylon 5, Sheridan asks Dr. Franklin how the Narn is, and he says that the Narn will live. When Sheridan asks Dr. Franklin if Ramirez will live, Dr. Franklin says that the radiation did him in. Sheridan feels sad that Ramirez had to die, and says he feels that such a young life being taken isn't fair. "No, it's not," Dr. Franklin tells him. "Death never is." Sheridan, still pondering the situation, leaves MedLab. In the hallway outside, he turns around and sees Ambassador Kosh.
"You have always been here," Kosh tells him, and turns away.
Sheridan is in his quarters when General Hague arrives. Hague activates a small device, which he explains is to counteract any listening devices that may be in the room. Sheridan expresses anger to the general that it has taken so long for someone to debrief him. Hague explains that this is due to the death of President Santiago, and asks what Sheridan learned. Sheridan tells him that Garibaldi, Ivanova, and the rest are all good, loyal officers, and that he doesn't like having to spy on them. Hague tells Sheridan that Santiago knew that Babylon 5 was important, and that, if he died, President Clark would appoint a "hard-nosed jarhead" to run it. Sheridan's record made him appear that way, so he was a perfect choice. Figuring that Sheridan was pliable, Clark would leave him alone, and he could perform certain actions without the President's knowledge. Hague explains that not everyone on Earth beleves President Santiago died in an accident, and he also tells Sheridan that, though many military officers probably had a part in the assassination, they weren't in charge. Sheridan guesses that the Psi Corps is to blame; Hague agrees.
Talking to the General.
Hague tells Sheridan that it is up to them to learn what is going on, and stop it, and Sheridan can use the resources of Babylon 5 to help without Clark suspecting. Sheridan asks how Hague can be so sure that he won't inform the government of Hague's plans, and Hague explains. "A soldier's record tells a lot about a person. Not just what he's done, but how he's done it, and why. You have an uncommon failing for someone in your position, Captain. You're a patriot. You believe as I do that when we put on this uniform, we took a solemn vow to protect Earth against threats from outside, and from within. It's a difficult decision. You risk losing your entire career if you say yes. Worse still, now that you've had a chance to evaluate your staff, you have to decide if you can trust them enough to bring them in on this, knowing that you're putting them in equal jeopardy." Sheridan says it isn't much of a reward, and Hague agrees. Hague tells him that they must do something immediately and that, when he leaves, he will go back to Earth and begin the operation. He says Sheridan's help is essential if they are to retake Earth's government, and asks Sheridan for his decision.
Ivanova arrives outside Sheridan's quarters, and is let in, only to find Garibaldi and Franklin there with Sheridan. Sheridan tells her to sit down, and activates a device similar to Hague's to render any listening devices useless. "Ever since the death of president Santiago, something unpleasant's been going on back home. You know it, and I know it. We've stood by too long. That's going to change. Quietly, discreetly, an inch at a time--for now, strictly within the rules. We have to do something, or risk losing everything we hold dear. Now, we'll get some help from inside Earth Dome, but the bottom line: if anything goes wrong, we're on our own." He offers each of them the chance to leave before they hear something they may have to report, but each of them declines.
"We're with you Captain," Ivanova says. "Wherever this goes, however it ends, we're with you."