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Synopsis by Katrina Glerum (kat@midwinter.com)

As Master Turval's voice drones, a class of Ranger recruits meditate, or at least attempt to. One young Minbari, fresh from the warrior caste, is too busy daydreaming about dying gloriously, while another religious caste recruit can't stop smiling as he listens to conversations around him. Another old Ranger enters to inform the teacher that Delenn has asked them to come to Babylon 5. When Turval selects the two restless recruits to accompany him as an escort, the happy one exclaims, "Babylon 5, the home of peace."

A very unpeaceful man has made his new home on Babylon 5, however. In order to emphasize that there's a new law in Downbelow, he orders a debtor executed.

The four Rangers, two old (Durhan and Turval) and two young (Rastenn and Tannier) are honored to be greeted by Entil'zha personally at the docking bay.

Garibaldi invites Zack to join him for breakfast. When Captain Lochley enters he waves her over too. To Zack's discomfort, Michael suggests that Lochley was on the "other side" during the war. This immediately heats her up, but she tries to sidestep it. Calling her on her avoidance, Michael says loudly, "I want to know, just for me, who's side were you on." The commons goes silent.

She finally declares that she did not take up arms against her own government. She is a soldier who only knows three words, she says angrily, "Loyalty, Duty, Honor." She gets up and as she strides out there is scattered clapping from station personnel in the room.

She is still steamed up when she gets to the lift. Sheridan is there and she comments acerbically that she has just had a frank discussion with Garibaldi. Sheridan grins wryly and says, "He doesn't trust you." Neither Sheridan nor Lochley is having second thoughts about her assignment, though, and Sheridan advises that Garibaldi will come around when he's ready. She grumbles about meeting "a second man as strong-willed, stubborn and annoying" as she is.

Zack is shown the dead man's body on the deck. As this is the third such execution in two weeks, he tries to convince someone in the crowd of gawkers to help his investigation by warning that it might be them next.

The gangster, Trace, is watching the crowd too. He doesn't like Zack's perceptiveness and orders him "taken out." A little later he is visited by another gangster who's been around for some time and warns against gaining too high a profile, but Trace thinks he can just keep killing security chiefs until he gets one who he can get along with.

In their report to Delenn, Durhan and Turval mention that they have no idea what to do with a Pak'ma'ra who has joined the Rangers. It's stupid, lazy, greedy and a carrion eater, Durhan complains. Delenn points out that Pak'ma'ra are found everywhere, but they are shunned everywhere too, so they would make ideal couriers. In a subsequent private conversation Turval commiserates with Delenn over the death of Marcus and warns her that Lennier is pushing himself too hard in training.

Garibaldi wraps up interviewing the two telepaths assigned to assist with intelligence gathering for the Alliance, then asks Zack to pull the Captain's personnel file. Zack objects strongly while Garibaldi argues that his suspicions are just common sense. Then Zack is called away on a tip about the murders.

The two young Rangers stroll nervously through Downbelow. They pass Trace who is giving the young woman who sent the tip to Zack a voucher for a ticket back to Earth. When she protests the plan to kill Zack, a man grabs her. Her scream reaches the Rangers and they have a quick debate over whether to assist her. Tannier, the happy religious caste one goes to her aid, while Rastenn holds back. Tannier saves the woman but is overpowered and beaten to a pulp by Trace's men.

Delenn and the other Rangers watch Tannier in Medlab. As long as Franklin can get him standing, they'll take care of the rest, Durhan says. It's time for Mora'Dum. Franklin is shocked when Delenn tells him that this is a Ranger training exercise called the "application of terror."

Delenn meets with Lochley about the matter. When Lochley suggests that letting the Rangers deal with this would amount to vigilantism, Delenn reminds the Captain sternly that all members of the Alliance have recognized the Rangers' autonomy. Lochley is annoyed that she has been overridden by both Delenn and the President, and comments, "that's not like him." She brushes aside Delenn's query about this and argues that the Rangers shouldn't be used for revenge. It's not about revenge, Delenn replies. It's about terror.

Turval finds Rastenn at Tannier's bedside. Rastenn admits that he abandoned Tannier because he was afraid of dying pointlessly. Turval leads him to see that we imbue our lives and deaths with meaning ourselves. That by living each moment like it was the last, and acting with the correct motives we can never die pointlessly, because "death will have meaning if it comes when you are in fullest pursuit of your heart."

Delenn explains to Lochley that the terror that must be conquered is Tannier's, lest it cripple him from within. As soon as Tannier can stand he will be sent back Downbelow to find the man who hurt him and confront him alone. Zack is ordered to have the sector where the attack took place cleared of all security personnel.

To Trace, the removal of security seems like a victory -- until the power goes out. In the dim glow of the emergency backup lights, Trace's men begin to drop one by one to a terrifying dance of Rangers in the dark. Running frantically to escape, Trace is finally corralled by a ring of Rangers and faced off against Tannier. He is given a fighting staff and assured that if he can defeat Tannier he will be free to leave the circle. Turval narrates the fight, managing to turn Trace's failure with both staff and fists into a lesson to the others on the nature of a bully: quick to tell others to do what he's afraid of himself.

As they leave the station, Turval asks Delenn to come back to Minbar soon. Delenn explains that her work is still on the station for now.

Watching this farewell on a station securecam, Garibaldi comments admiringly to Zack that when the Minbari start something they don't stop until they finish it. Snooping at Zack's desk, Garibaldi thinks he spies the Captain's file, causing Zack to shout at him to give it a rest.

As they prepare for bed Delenn asks John about Lochley's chance phrase. A guilty look creeps onto his face. Later, as they lie in bed rigidly, John swears that he was waiting for the right opportunity to explain. "Ten seconds after you thought of it would have been good," remarks Delenn dryly.


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Last update: May 6, 1998