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

In the middle of the night, Delenn lies in bed, awake. She receives a muted signal, stands up, and leaves. Half asleep, Sheridan asks her where she is going. She claims she only wants to get some documents from her quarters; reassured, Sheridan falls back to sleep.

But Delenn is not going to her quarters. Instead, she goes to a bar in Downbelow. She is accosted by a human, who hits on her. First she asks him to leave politely. When he refuses, she breaks one of his fingers. When he goes after her again, he is stopped by a hooded Ranger, who beats him unconscious. The Ranger is Lennier.

Lennier joins Delenn in a deserted corridor. He has a fresh scar on his cheek, given to him by a Drazi during hand-to-hand combat training. She explains that they have compelling reasons to believe the Centauri are behind the attacks on the Alliance shipping lines ("The Ragged Edge"), but no evidence. She will assign him to a White Star on a training mission near Centauri space. She hopes his experience with the Centauri, unmatched by anyone else within the Rangers thanks to his tenure as her aide, will help him find the solid evidence they need.

Lennier asks why the secrecy. Delenn explains that they need to keep the information away from the other worlds until they have evidence, and more importantly, she does not want Sheridan to know. If Sheridan finds out, he will try to stop Lennier, to protect him and to protect Delenn from hurt, should anything happen to Lennier. So she wants nobody, especially Sheridan, to know. Not even the captain of the ship he is assigned to knows his true mission.

Before he leaves, Lennier tells Delenn about Morden's visit during the "Day of the Dead", and his prophecy that Lennier would, one day, betray the Rangers.

Londo, meanwhile, is in his quarters when Vir arrives, loaded with supplies. While Londo was away, Vir was eating out, so there is nothing fresh. Londo chastises him: someone in Vir's position should not eat like that. Vir asks what he means, but before Londo can explain, an alarm goes off on his desk: a listening device was hidden in one of the bags of groceries Vir just bought from a Drazi merchant. Londo makes some disparaging remarks about Drazi in general and the Drazi Ambassador's wife in particular, loud and clear in front of the microphone, before he destroys the device.

Then he continues: although he thinks Vir is not quite ready yet, Londo has decided that Vir will be the Centauri Ambassador to Babylon 5 once Londo becomes Emperor.

Lennier arrives on board White Star 27, which has unofficially been christened the Maria by her Captain, Enrique Montoya. The Captain is impressed with Lennier's experience, but warns that since Lennier is officially a trainee, he will be treated the same as the others. When Lennier asks about the name, Montoya replies that the ship needed a proper name, so he named it after his sister. "And where is your sister?" asks Lennier. "With God," replies Montoya, curtly. Lennier tells Findell, a fellow trainee, that he has asked an indiscreet question. But Findell reassures him: "The Captain does not believe in indiscreet questions. He believes the only way to get pertinent information is by asking impertinent questions." "Then," says Lennier with a faint smile, "I believe I may have finally found a home."

G'Kar enters Sheridan's office, where Sheridan, Delenn, and the Drazi ambassador wait. The Drazi informs them of new attacks on Drazi ships, and tells Sheridan he believes the Council knows who is behind the attacks. Sheridan says they have nothing but leads, and Delenn asks the Drazi to have some patience. The Drazi Ambassador promises they will be patient, because she requests it. However, he strongly implies he knows that Centauri are behind the attacks, and thinks Sheridan and the others are just covering up because they need the Centauri for the alliance. Londo comes in then, and after inquiring about the health of the Drazi Ambassador's wife, tells them about the bug he found in his quarters. He is also perplexed at not being invited to this meeting, but leaves. The Drazi soon follows. G'Kar also leaves: Dr. Franklin has informed him that he has finally obtained a Narn artificial eye for G'Kar, and G'Kar is eager to have it fitted in.

Aboard the Maria, Findell tells Lennier the Captain wants both of them to scout the area after the ship comes out of hyperspace. But he didn't ask them to look for anything in particular. Findell points out that Montoya often leaves out important information, a habit he finds frustrating. But Lennier says Montoya is trying to teach them the human way of doing things, and to have them react with initiative to new situations, a new concept for the rigid and tradition-bound Minbari. Lennier offers to help Findell adjust, but Findell haughtily denies he needs any help.

Franklin fits G'Kar with the Narn eye, and G'Kar is overjoyed. During the procedure, Franklin mentions he has been reading G'Kar's book, and would like to sit in on his weekly talks on the Book of G'Kar. G'Kar agrees.

The Maria drops into normal space, and Lennier and Findell launch soon after. Lennier notes an anomaly: although their systems checked fine before launching, they now only have one hour's supply of air. But before they can contact the ship, the Maria jumps out, leaving them behind. Lennier suggest staying put, and going into a meditation trance to conserve air. Findell is clearly agitated, and doesn't know if he can enter the trance. But he agrees to try. However, an hour later Findell has almost exhausted his air supply. Desperate, he starts flying away looking for some air. Just then, the Maria jumps back in: it was all a training exercise. As Captain Montoya explains in the debriefing, it is possible that they may be left behind during a mission, since the ship and the mission it is carrying out is more important than any individual. He also praises Lennier's analysis and actions.

In the Zocalo, Vir confronts the Drazi vendor and demands an explanation for the bugging. But the Drazi laughs at him: "We all know you, Vir Cotto. We know what you are. You are weak! You are foolish! And now you will go away or I will swat you!" He shoves Vir, who silently turns away and retreats.

But Vir is not done. He goes to Londo's quarters and takes a sword off the wall. Londo, intrigued, follows him out. Vir returns to the Zocalo, and while yelling he smashes the Drazi's fruit stand. The Drazi trembles and drops to the ground, imploring. Vir puts the tip of the sword to the Drazi's neck, and challenges him: "Now... want to finish our little conversation, spoo for brains?" "It.. it was a misunderstanding!" stammers the Drazi; "It was a terribel mistake!" Londo is watching from a distance, smiling. Vir gets restrained by a couple of security guards, and Zack Allen arrives: "What happened to Vir?" he asks Londo. "I promoted him," replies a satisfied Londo. "Now, now he is ready to be the Ambassador for the Centauri."

Aboard the Maria, Captain Montoya describes the next training mission to Lennier, Findell, and two other cadets. They will engage in an Easter Egg Hunt: in a dangerous asteroid field, Montoya has hidden 39 short range homing devices. Each ranger should destroy at least ten. This means someone will fail, of course, and Findell is convinced the Captain means him. Lennier asks Findell why he joined the Rangers, and Findell explains he lost two members of his family, both Rangers, during the Shadow War; it has fallen on him to carry on their work. Lennier points out that his purpose may be flawed, and if so he shouldn't be a Ranger.

In the field, Lennier is off to an early lead, and Findell is dead last. Findell cuts his communications to the Maria, and heads toward a large asteroid. Lennier follows him, and through a private channel confronts Findell. Findell knows he will fail, and cannot bear the shame of failure. Lennier targets Findell's engines, and then rams the ship to knock him off collision course; the maneuver almost destroys Lennier's own ship.

Back on board the Maria, Montoya is furious. He demands an explanation, and Lennier claims his computer malfunctioned and fired on Findell before he could override it. He also claims it was Findell's maneuver that knocked him off course and prevented him from crashing on the asteroid. Montoya fails Lennier on the exercise, but gives Findell a neutral grade. Finally, he has chosen a new assignment for Findell: Findell will return to Minbar, and join the recruitment office. There, he will ask each candidate why they want to join the Rangers. And if their purpose is not clear, if they are joining for the wrong reasons, Findell will not let them through. It is a very important, and honorable, task, Montoya says. One Findell is uniquely qualified for. Glad of having an honorable way out, Findell thanks the Captain and leaves.

Captain Montoya then tells Lennier, off the record, that Lennier did a good job. "And I know," adds Montoya. "And you should learn a very important lesson: Never, ever assume that no one can listen in on a private channel."

At the end of the day, Zack is recounting the incident with Vir to Franklin, Delenn, and Sheridan over dinner. Since nobody got hurt, and the Drazi didn't want to admit to bugging Londo's quarters, he didn't press charges. So Zack just took Vir aside and talked to him. On more sober matters, Sheridan points out that they have a month at most before the other worlds lose their patience and start attacking on their own: they need some proof, and they need it soon.

There is an empty chair at the table: Delenn sent a note inviting Garibaldi, but he hasn't shown up. In Garibaldi's quarters, the message board is flashing, unattended. Garibaldi is on the floor, singing and drinking...


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Last update: August 9, 1998