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Synopsis by Arturo Magidin (magidin@math.berkeley.edu)

Sheridan is signing copies of a treaty, getting ready for a meeting of the Interstellar Alliance. He arrives late in the council chamber, but his apology dies on his lips; only Delenn is present. The other ambassadors voted to boycott the council until the Alliance can guarantee the safety of their shipping lines, or at least find out who is responsible for the attacks ("In the Kingdom of the Blind", "A Tragedy of Telepaths"). They need a break, and they need it soon.

Meanwhile, a break is in the making. A human transport, protected by Drazi fighters, is under attack. A single human manages to slip out in a lifepod as the attacking forces destroy the convoy.

Later, G'Kar and Londo arrive back from Centauri Prime. Narns are looking at G'Kar, and bowing before him, which puzzles G'Kar. Londo takes the opportunity to tease him about it.

In his quarters, Garibaldi has overslept and missed a meeting with Zack. The bottle he drank the night before "Phoenix Rising") lies empty next to his bed.

Half an hour later, he joins Sheridan, Delenn, Franklin and Zack for a meeting. The Rangers have found the debris from the last attack and know a lifepod is missing. This could mean a potential witness, and a way to head off the crisis building up in the Alliance.

Unfortunately, since it was a human transport in Drazi space, it is likely that they were smugglers, contracted by the Drazi Government. The Alliance members use this sort of arrangement to bypass Alliance regulations on dangerous substances and equipment. If so, the Drazi Government is unlikely to help them.

Fortunately, however, Garibaldi has an old friend from his days on the mining colony on Europa ("Survivors"), who now works as a security consultant on the Drazi homeworld. He can help them locate the pilot and get him out. Sheridan wants the pilot to testify before the council as soon as possible. He asks Franklin to go with Garibaldi and help him out, but Garibaldi objects. He claims his contact will not trust Franklin, and the mission may be dangerous. Despite his misgivings about sending Garibaldi by himself, Sheridan agrees.

A large number of Narns seem to be camped out near G'Kar's quarters, and murmur in awe as he walks by. Outside his door is Ta'lon ("All Alone in the Night", "A Day in the Strife"). G'Kar greets him warmly, but when he walks into his quarters, he discovers that the book he has been writing is missing. According to Ta'lon, the Kha'ri was worried that G'Kar had been taken prisoner and was to be executed in Centauri Prime. Afraid that if something happened to him, the "Book of G'Kar" might never see the light of day, Ta'lon helped "liberate it", and took it back to Narn. There, copies were made, and eventually it was published. In only a month, over half a million copies have been made. It has achieved great popularity, and the Book of G'Kar is on its way to outselling the Book of G'Quan.

"Congratulations, Citizen G'Kar," quips Ta'lon. "You are now a religious icon."

On his way out, Garibaldi is stopped by Franklin. Franklin is afraid there may be something wrong between them on a personal level, a feeling he got because of Garibaldi's refusal to take him along on the mission. Garibaldi assures him it is nothing personal, but rather he is worried the mission will be very dangerous and Franklin will be unable to help. Franklin is not completely convinced, but has no arguments to give. Before Garibaldi leaves, Franklin says: "If you ever got a problem, anything at all you want to talk about... you know where to find me."

Garibaldi arrives at the Drazi Homeworld and is promptly contacted by his friend, Tafiq Azir. Tafiq knows the pilot is hiding, and why: the pilot's employers are not happy he lost the ship, and the Drazi agents that awaited the cargo want to take their losses out on him. They would all rather he was dead, including the Government, who would have to explain its involvement with smuggling. The pilot, in short, wants to get off planet. Tafiq has made arrangements: the pilot will signal Garibaldi's balcony from a near-by park, and Tafiq will arrange for a shuttle. A knock on the door announces the arrival of room service: Tafiq has ordered a bottle of some alcoholic drink. At first, Garibaldi refuses the drink, but he quickly changes his mind and starts drinking.

As night falls, Garibaldi is asleep on his chair, drunk. Tafiq leaves to finalize the arrangements, but he is assaulted in the hallway outside the room, and shot in the chest. Garibaldi, however, is too far gone to hear it.

Some time later, Garibaldi awakes. As he stands on the balcony, he notices the signal from the pilot flashing. Garibaldi runs out, but he comes upon a Drazi going through Tafiq's clothing. In the ensuing fistfight, the Drazi is tossed out the balcony, but a large flying vehicle flashes a spotlight on Garibaldi. Garibaldi runs to Tafiq, but it is too late to save him. With his dying breath, Tafiq tells Garibaldi to go and save the pilot. In the park, three robed figures, their heads obscured by hoods, are beating a man. Garibaldi tries to intervene, but they are too much for him, and he gets a beating instead. As the Drazi authorities approach, the hooded figures leave. Before the Drazi arrive, Garibaldi confirms that the pilot is dead, and he escapes through the narrow streets of the Drazi capital.

In Sheridan's office, Delenn receives an emergency transmission from Garibaldi. The mission has failed catastrophically, and everyone is after him. She arranges for a White Star to pick him up and take him back to Babylon 5.

Outside G'Kar's quarters, Narns are waiting, reading the Book of G'Kar. Ta'lon knocks on the door, only to receive a curt "Go away!" from G'Kar. But after he identifies himself, G'Kar lets him, and only him, inside.

G'Kar doesn't want to be a leader, religious or secular. He is overwhelmed by the attention. "I have nothing to teach them," he tells Ta'lon. But Ta'lon disagrees. For a hundred years, the Narns have only taught each other to hate and to fight. But in this New Age, the Narn need new lessons.

"I have not personally read your book," Ta'lon admits, "but I have seen the light of understanding come into their eyes. It is not about teaching, it is about unlearning hate and fear."

G'Kar does not want to lead others, afraid they may be forced to pay the price of his mistakes. What if he leads them the wrong way, teaches them the wrong lesson? Even worse, what if they come, not because of the lesson but because of the teacher? G'Kar fears his own shadow may become larger than his the message.

"If that happens," answers Ta'lon, "I give you my word that I will personally kill you." Not much comfort, perhaps, but the only comfort Ta'lon, as a warrior, is capable of giving. Mollified, G'Kar comes out, faces his admirers, and invites them in.

In Sheridan's office, Delenn, Sheridan, Garibaldi and G'Kar are going over Garibaldi's mission. The only thing Garibaldi has is a button from one of the cloaked figures; he also knows, from the way they felt when he hit them, that they were not Drazi. Garibaldi figures the ones behind the attacks are the ones who killed the pilot. The fact that they knew about him indicates that there is a leak somewhere.

Londo arrives late to the meeting and notices the button Garibaldi found. It is, he says, the button of a uniform of the Palace Guard; they are not found anywhere else. The others are taken aback by the revelation, and quickly move on to the next topic. After Londo leaves, however, they stay and talk. They agree the Centauri are almost certainly behind the attacks, but that Londo probably does not know about them. On the other hand, it was probably through him that those responsible found out about Garibaldi's mission.

G'Kar advises that Londo be told nothing. If Londo is told about their findings, he will be outraged and try to trace the attacks to their source. And shortly thereafter, he will be killed. He recounts the assassination attempt on Londo in Centauri Prime ("In the Kingdom of the Blind"), and explains that two factions are at work in the Centauri Royal Court. Londo is alive because one of the factions wants him alive, and if he starts to ask the wrong questions he will become a liability and be killed. Until they find out which faction is behind it, Londo must be kept out of the loop. The rest agree.

Delenn is puzzled, however. There is no reason for the Centauri to do this: they need the Alliance as much as everyone else. "There is something here we are missing," she muses out loud.

Franklin later goes to see Sheridan. Dr. Benjamin Kyle ("The Gathering") will retire as head of Xenobiological Research in Earthdome at the end of the year, and has asked Franklin to take over for him. After careful thought, Franklin has decided to accept. He points out this will even help in putting the information on cross-species infection together for the Alliance ("Strange Relations"). It also means, however, that he has to leave Babylon 5 by the end of the year. Sheridan is not happy on a personal level, since he values both Franklin's work and his friendship. But he agrees it is a great promotion and great opportunity.

Franklin promises to tell everyone himself, especially Garibaldi. He goes to put a call to the latter right away, but Garibaldi doesn't hear the incoming message. He is passed out on his bed, an empty bottle of whiskey on his night stand.


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Last update: August 9, 1998