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Synopsis by Matthew Murray (mmurray@wsu.edu)

On Centauri Prime, Londo meets with Lord Refa in the Emperor's throne room. Refa explains to Londo that the war with the Narn is about to end, much sooner than originally expected, and that Londo himself will be the "architect" of the victory.

Aboard Babylon 5, Delenn meditates in her quarters. While she is doing so, she senses a presence. "Hello dear friend," she says, and a voice chuckles all around her. C&C detects an energy surge coming from Epsilon 3, and informs Ivanova, who in turn informs Sheridan, just out of the shower. Ivanova's message is interrupted by a voice coming from behind Sheridan. He turns around and sees Draal standing there. Draal tells Sheridan that he has been watching, and introduces himself. Sheridan tells Draal that he knows Draal took custody of Epsilon 3, although Draal corrects him saying that the planet took custody of him instead, returning to him his youth both in appearance and health. Draal wants to invite Sheridan, and one other, down to the surface for a visit at Sheridan's earliest convenience.

G'Sten, G'Kar's uncle, tells G'Kar that the war with the Centauri is not going well, and that Narn defenses have been severely weakened, rolling back thirty years of territorial gains. G'Sten explains that the Kha'Ri is trying to make the Narn believe that they are holding their own against the Centauri, though that is far from the truth. G'Sten says that their one chance is to attack the Centauri supply depot at Gorash 7, which will require the entire Narn fleet. G'Kar points out that, if the forces are taken away from the homeworld, it will make it vulnerable. G'Sten realizes the risk, but insists that there will only be a very short period when the homeworld won't be defended. G'Kar offers to go along, but G'Sten declines, saying that G'Kar's work on Babylon 5 may be even more important, and that, were G'Kar's father alive, he would be proud.

Delenn steps off the elevator and meets Sheridan to tell him that Draal appeared to her as well. The two continue on together.

Refa tells Londo that he strongly believes that the Narn are planning an attack on Gorash 7. Londo asks if Refa's forces will be waiting for the Narn there, and Refa tells him that he needs Londo's forces there instead, because the Centauri forces will be carrying out an all-out attack on the Narn homeworld. This idea troubles Londo, who tries to convince Refa to pursue another course of action, but Refa says it isn't necessary -- they will be using mass drivers, powerful weapons outlawed by every species, which will decimate the cities, and allow nearly effortless takeover of the planet. Londo tells Refa that he is troubled by his allies and their strength, but Refa doesn't understand his reluctance. Londo tries to warn Refa that moving too quickly might cause things to spin out of control, but Refa won't listen, telling him that numerous Centauri battleships are waiting hyperspace for Londo's go-ahead, and that this action will save thousands of Centauri lives. With only a little more convincing, Londo agrees to use his allies, as long as it is for the last time. Refa assures Londo that this is the last time their assistance will be needed, as the Narn will be defeated, and this time, the Centauri will not allow the Narn to be free again.

Garibaldi expresses great doubt about the message received from Draal, but Delenn insists that Draal is who he claims. Even Sheridan is somewhat troubled by his altered appearance, though Delenn assures them that he looked that way when he was younger. Garibaldi suggests it may be a trick, and that the message might be faked, but Delenn refuses to believe him. Ivanova reports that tests run on the message determined it was sent from below the planet's surface, verifying that Draal did indeed send it. Despite this, Garibaldi still wants to send a security team, but Sheridan says he is only allowed to bring one other, namely Delenn.

Londo meets up with Refa again, and Refa tells him that it is time to leave for the Narn homeworld--they will be on the first ship so they can oversee the victory personally. "Come Londo," Refa tells him. "Destiny awaits." Meanwhile, Sheridan and Delenn board a shuttle and head down to Epsilon 3.

G'Kar goes to MedLab, where Dr. Franklin is waiting for him. Franklin tells him that one of the Narn refugees he treated was captured and interrogated by the Centauri, and that the questions involved the Narn homeworld's defense systems, and were particularly urgent. The refugee transport got away easily because the Centauri warships guarding the planet pulled out with little explanation. This puzzles G'Kar, as he knows the Centauri to be very thorough. Franklin explains to G'Kar that, during the Earth-Minbari War, the Minbari did something very similar just before they attacked Earth.

Sheridan and Delenn arrive on Epsilon 3 and begin searching the tunnels of the planet. They arrive at a large walkway across a huge chasm, which strikes Sheridan speechless.

G'Kar urgently tries to convince G'Sten that the Centauri are planning to attack the Narn homeworld, but G'Sten won't listen, saying the mission is too far along to stop it without proof.

Sheridan and Delenn arrive in Draal's chamber and see his body in the depression, running the planet. An image of Draal appears and addreses them, commending Sheridan for his work aboard Babylon 5. Draal explains that he has explored the many secrets of Epsilon 3 and has learned much about the galaxy, and Sheridan himself. He also knows about Sheridan's conspiracy of light. Sheridan tries to deny it, but Draal knows better, and assures him the information is safe. Draal explains that he said a year earlier that Epsilon 3 would remain dormant until such a time as it was needed, and that this is such a time -- he's prepared to place the planet at Sheridan's disposal, one of the first alliances of the coming war. Draal tells Sheridan that he is not alone in the struggle, and that, should they succeed, there is a great possibility of hope.

As G'Kar prays fervently, the Narn ships come out of hyperspace above Gorash 7 and prepare for the attack. They don't detect any ships at first, but several Shadow ships soon appear and begin moving toward them, ready for the attack. G'Sten tries to activate the jump engines, but they must recharge first. G'Sten orders an attack against the ships, and though the Narn score several hits with their energy mines, the weapons of the Shadows are much more powerful, easily able to cut through the Narn ships. The Narn warships are destroyed one by one. Several warships combine their firepower and manage to sever a spine from one of the Shadow ships, but it's a futile victory. Defeat imminent, G'Sten orders the remaining ships to open jump points and flee, but the Shadows fire something into the vortices, disrupting them and causing the remaining Narn cruisers to be destroyed mid-jump. An undamaged Shadow ship connects to the injured one, revitalizing it; then all the Shadow ships vanish. G'Kar, sensing the outcome somehow, grimly ceases his prayer.

Draal tells Sheridan that it probably isn't a good idea to tell the Earth government of the new alliance. Delenn asks Draal if he is able to handle living alone on the planet. Draal explains that he has the stars to keep him company, in addition to the others who live on the planet and help maintain the machine. "There is one, in particular, who..." He touches his head. He tells Sheridan that he is hearing distress calls and that Sheridan needs to leave immediately. Sheridan rushes on ahead, and Delenn tells Draal that she hopes to see him more often. They exchange a quick goodbye and she leaves. "So much to do," he says, "so little time. We must get to work. Zathras! Zathras!" he calls, but no one arrives. "Never around when you need him."

Ivanova tells Garibaldi about the Centauri attack on the Narn homeworld, and that she is worried what will happen when word about the attack hits the station. He prepares for the coming riots, and says she should send out a general alert as soon as possible.

"We interrupt this program with this late-breaking story," says an ISN reporter, as the patrons of the Zocalo watch. "Officials in EarthDome confirm that the Centauri Republic has begun a devestating frontal assault on the Narn homeworld. Reports continue to come in, alleging that the main Narn fleet has been neutralized and that Narn is completely encircled by its enemies. Neither government has yet confirmed nor denied these reports, though some messages relayed from Narn seem to corroborate the stories of massive destruction and death...." The tension becomes too much and a fight between the Narn and Centauri patrons of the Zocalo breaks out.

The general alert is sent out as Sheridan and Delenn arrive back on the station. Sheridan asks Ivanova what the situation is, and she tells him that Garibaldi is doing the best he can. Sheridan has a security officer escort Delenn to her quarters. Ivanova explains to Sheridan that she has heard little more than rumors, though she does know that the Centauri have used mass drivers in their assault.

The war is not going well for Narn as the Centauri ships use mass drivers to pummel Narn's cities with asteroids. As the destruction continues, Londo watches, helplessly, at a window in the lead ship of the fleet.

"With the planetary bombardment in its fourth day," the ISN reporter reports as the C&C staff watches, "the Narn government continues in its refusal to surrender. Minbari, Vorlon, Earth, and other governments have filed official protests with the Centauri Republic for their use of mass drivers against the civilian population. But, so far, the protests have had no effect. Although communication with the Narn homeworld is difficult at best due to the continued attacks, word has reached ISN of cities utterly destroyed, hundreds of thousands of casualties, the total elimination of power and water over most of the Narn planetary surface. Most of their major cities have fallen, food shipments have stopped, the planetary economy has collapsed, and medical treatment is virtually non-existent. Government analysists predict that, unless the Narn government surrenders soon, their entire infrastructure will be totally destroyed. To quote Senator Ronald Quantrell, 'They're being bombed back into the stone age.'" Sheridan can take no more and orders the feed shut off.

G'Kar is barely able to maintain contact with the homeworld. The Narn on the other end says that the only way to survive is to surrender. G'Kar asks what will happen to the Narn on Babylon 5, but there is no way to know what the terms of the surrender will be. G'Kar offers to return, but as the only member of the Kha'Ri not on the homeworld, his contact says, G'Kar should stay alive as long as possible. The Narn delivers one last message to G'Kar from the Kha'Ri, which he says is the hardest thing he's ever had to ask of G'Kar.

G'Kar slowly enters Sheridan's office. "Captain Sheridan, I... I've been instructed by government to come to you and ask for... sanctuary."

Londo arrives at his quarters to find Garibaldi and a contingent of security guards, placed for his protection, there. Londo tells Garibaldi to inform Sheridan that he wishes to convene a meeting of the advisory council and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds.

"A little over five standard hours ago," Londo tells the Council and the League, "the conflict which began with the Narn declaration of war came to an end. The Narn Regime has offered complete and unconditional surrender. The terms imposed by the Centauri Republic are as follows. One, the ruling body, known as the Kha'Ri will be disbanded and its members subject to arrest and trial for the commission of war crimes against the Centauri."

"Earth requests the right to send observers to these hearings," Sheridan says.

"That request is denied," Londo tells him. "Two. To prevent further acts of terror by the Narn against our people, from this day on, the penalty for the murder of any Centauri by any Narn will be the execution of five hundred Narns, beginning with the perpetrator's own family. Three. A provisional ruling council appointed by my government will take up the responsibility of rebuilding a more civilized Narn government as a colony of the greater Centauri Republic."

"Is there anything else?" Sheridan asks.

"Yes," Londo replies. "Just one thing. Because the Narn homeworld is now a protectorate of the Centauri Republic, we reserve the right to determine who can speak for Narn. As a result, Ambassador G'Kar may no longer represent the Narn in any official capacity whatsoever. His appointment as ambassador to Babylon 5 is hereby withdrawn. As the only member of the Kha'Ri still at large, Citizen G'Kar will return to Narn for trial."

Sheridan tells Londo that G'Kar has been granted sanctuary. Londo tries to protest, saying that the agreement between the Narn and Centauri had important stipulations about the Kha'Ri, but Sheridan tells him that neither he nor Earth signed that agreement, so they are not bound by it. Delenn stands up, informing Londo that the Minbari government also stands behind Sheridan's decision, and that G'Kar may remain for as long as he likes. Londo gives in, but demands that G'Kar be removed from the Council chambers immediately. G'Kar painfully complies, but he has a few final words for Londo. "No dictator... no invader... can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power, governments and tyrants and armies cannot stand. The Centauri learned this lesson once. We will teach it to them again. Though it take a thousand years, we will be free."

Londo watches ISN as the reporter tells of the post-surrender events. "And dancing in the streets as Centauri Emperor Cartargia declared a week-long public celebration to commemorate the recapture of the Narn homeworld. In related news, the Centauri Republic today announced plans to annex several smaller worlds adjacent to Narn space, declaring them protectorates of the Republic. While government spokesmen insist that the Centauri do not have any expansionist plans beyond retaking the Narn homeworld, others in Earthdome are less sure."

Sheridan tells G'Kar that he will miss G'Kar's imposing presence in the Council chambers, and that he wants to help G'Kar in any way he can to win back his planet. He offers his hand to G'Kar, who hesitates at first: "The last time I offered someone my hand, we were at war twenty-four hours later." As Sheridan leaves, he is contacted by Ivanova; Delenn wants to see him in the conference center. He goes to meet her.

When he arrives, he finds that she and Garibaldi, and a large number of other humans and Minbari, are in the room, waiting for him. Delenn tells him that the people in the room have come to meet him and pledge themselves to him -- they are the Rangers, Garibaldi explains, who have been coming through the station to help fight the coming darkness. Sheridan asks why Garibaldi didn't tell him; Garibaldi says that he made a promise not to. Delenn explains to Sheridan that Babylon 5 must be the fortress of Light to stand against the darkness, and the Rangers are to help with that. The Rangers were under her direct command, but she gives equal authority to Sheridan.

Sheridan addresses them all. "I don't quite know what to say... For the last year, things haven't exactly been going our way. I was starting to wonder if it would ever get better. I think it just did. Tell the other Rangers, the ambassadors, everyone in this army of Light that Babylon 5 stands with you. Tell them... tell them that from this place, we will deliver notice to the parliaments of conquerers that a line has been drawn against the darkness, and we will hold that line, no matter the cost."


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Last update: November 15, 1995