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Synopsis by Matthew Murray (mmurray@wsu.edu)

Sheridan and Ivanova try to keep order as they meet with the transport association to work out the new ship screening policy on Babylon 5. Ivanova tries to appease the crowd, but they will not listen to anything she has to say. One man stands up and accuses them of hoarding the weapons so they can control everyone. He challenges Sheridan, saying that, without his gun, Sheridan would be afraid to fight. Sheridan steps down from the rostrum and hands his PPG to the man, taking his less-powerful weapon away and using it instead. When Sheridan asks the man to use the PPG, the man backs down. Sheridan retrieves his PPG, and tells Ivanova to adjourn the meeting until the next day, which she does. The crowd files out, and Sheridan is upbraided by Ivanova for handing the man the PPG until Sheridan explains that he removed the PPG's energy source prior to giving it to the man. Two Narns enter the room, and one introduces himself. "Captain Sheridan? Counselor Na'Far. I've just arrived and wanted to check in with you. I'm here to replace citizen G'Kar."

Na'Far explains to Sheridan and Ivanova that the Centauri believe G'Kar is creating an armed resistance on the Narn Homeworld, and they want it stopped. Sheridan asks Na'Far why he doesn't want the occupation stopped; Na'Far says that he feels it is not yet the time for action, and that he has been instructed to take over on Babylon 5. Sheridan denies his request, and insists that Na'Far work out his problems with G'Kar alone. Na'Far politely, but reservedly, thanks him and leaves.

In Earhart's, Garibaldi tells a very tired Dr. Franklin a story, but Franklin is in no mood. Ivanova comes by and sits down with them. Franklin says that he has been worried about Sheridan, who has been under an extreme amount of pressure recently, but Ivanova insists that he has had to be, because he has had more to deal with. Franklin receives a call from MedLab, asking him to take an extra shift. He reluctantly agrees, and goes off to the bathroom. While he's gone, Garibaldi tells Ivanova that he looked through Sheridan's file when he came aboard the station, and that he feels Sheridan is capable of handling any problems that arise. Ivanova leaves, running into Franklin on the way out. He is much more energetic now, and tells Garibaldi that he plans to ask a beautiful woman sitting nearby to dance, which he does.

Na'Far talks to Londo, to whom he was instructed to report prior to contacting G'Kar. Na'Far asks if he may speak with G'Kar, but Londo avoids the request, instead asking whether or not it would be safe to visit Narn, if the captured Narns are doing what they should, and if the executions are continuing. Na'Far answers affirmatively to each. Londo says that Na'Far may leave, which he does. Vir, who witnessed this, asks Londo if it was really necessary to break the Narns' spirit as well, but Londo insists that the Narn must lose their pride, or they'll pose another problem later.

Lt. Corwin tells Sheridan that they have been monitoring an alien probe that has entered Babylon 5 space, a probe of no known design. The probe, which appears to have no weapon systems, begins transmitting a code to Babylon 5, a series of repeating signals that will take the computer several hours to decode.

Londo tells Delenn that he feels the rift that has grown between them is unfortunate, and that he misses her as a friend. He tells her that he has done her favors in the past, and now wants her to repay him. He says that he believes Vir would be an excellent choice for a new Centauri diplomatic mission to Minbar. Delenn asks why he feels Vir should be sent to Minbar, and Londo attempts to lie to her, but she catches him. "Over the last two years," he tells her, "to my considerable surprise, I have become very fond of Vir. Sometimes in his eyes, I see a younger version of myself, before... He would be better off away from here. Away from what must be. He would only get in the way." Delenn suggests that perhaps Londo needs Vir, but Londo insists this isn't true, and gives Delenn Vir's papers. Delenn says that she will do what she can. Londo leaves.

Garibaldi and Franklin sit down for an Italian dinner in Garibaldi's quarters, and Garibaldi begins to talk to Franklin about his use of stims. Garibaldi tells him that, for obsessive compulsives like themselves, it can be easy to form addictions. Franklin insists that he doesn't have a problem, but Garibaldi, who noticed Franklin's stim use back at Earhart's, tells him that he checked the records and found that Franklin purposefully takes extra shifts, even though he is always overworked. Franklin is upset that Garibaldi did this, but promises Garibaldi he doesn't have a problem, and will cut back on his use of stims.

While Sheridan sits at a bar, Na'Far's bodyguard, Ta'Lon, the same Narn Sheridan rescued the previous year from the Streib ship, appears and tells Sheridan that he wants to repay the debt he owes. In his desire to help the Narn after the Narn-Centauri War began, he ended up Na'Far's bodyguard, but says that he is no longer sure if he is protecting Na'Far from outsiders or other Narns. Ta'Lon tells Sheridan there is a debt he must repay as a matter of honor, and though Sheridan is initially resistent, he accepts Ta'Lon's offer.

Lt. Corwin reports to Ivanova that the computer has finished analyzing the probe's language codes. It was sent to initiate contact with other life forms, and promises that, if a list of just over 600 questions in many complex scientific and mathematical fields are answered within 24 hours, they will be rewarded with cures for disease and highly-advanced technology, but should they fail, they will be vaporized in a 500,000 megaton explosion when the probe self-destructs.

Ivanova and Sheridan try to work through solutions to the problem, but are unable to come up with any acceptable alternatives other than answering the probe's question. Ivanova tells him that most of the questions are very technical and some nearly theoretical, and that she had to send some of them back to Earth to be answered.

Na'Far tells G'Kar that many Narns are starving, and that the resistance is keeping the Narns on the homeworld from getting the food sent by the Centauri. G'Kar tells him that they don't want the help of the Centauri, but Na'Far says that Centauri food may be their only chance for survival. G'Kar explodes, telling Na'Far that he isn't responsible for the Narn invasion, and that he doesn't want to be blamed for those problems. G'Kar insists that the resistance is working to secure their own food and resources, but Na'Far despairs that they will ever be able to bring in enough. G'Kar says that the Centauri are simply trying to control them, a fact to which Na'Far concedes, but insists that the time for action is not yet at hand. Na'Far begs G'Kar to postpone his battle against the Centauri and return home, while Na'Far looks after things on Babylon 5. G'Kar says the other Narn on Babylon 5 will not accept Na'Far, and therefore he must stay, but Na'Far tells him that the Centauri will persecute and imprison their families if he remains.

Dr. Franklin tries to treat an alien patient, but is unable to communicate with him, and there is no translator available. Ivanova calls and asks Franklin if he has received answers to the questions he relayed to Earth. Franklin, under a great deal of pressure, orders the patient away and looks in his desk to see stims inside, but quickly closes the desk without using them.

Vir insists that he doesn't want to go to Minbar, but Londo assures him that he will have a good time, and that it is a good career move, and that he will still return to the station now and then. He assures Vir that he is simply trying to protect him, and is capable of taking care of things himself. Londo is confident that Vir will adjust to his life on Minbar.

"Londo, if I leave, you'll be alone!" Vir objects.

"Ah," Londo replies, "I have always been alone."

Na'Far and Ta'Lon leave G'Kar's quarters and are accosted by some of the members of G'Kar's resistance, who insist that he is merely a puppet of the Centauri designed to carry out their will on Babylon 5. One of the Narns insists that Na'Far's sole purpose there is to break their souls, and wants him to go back to Narn. A battle ensues, but is interrupted by G'Kar who stops them and tells them that they cannot succeed if they fight amongst themselves. If the only way to solve these problems is to return to Narn, he agrees to do so.

With only six hours left, Babylon 5 has all but 75 questions answered, and they continue to process more all the time. Sheridan asks if they might be able to power up the weapons slowly so the probe wouldn't be able to detect it, but this crisis is interrupted by another: Corwin tells him that the transport association is demanding another meeting, which Sheridan reschedules seven hours later.

Garibaldi visits G'Kar, who is in the process of packing to return to Narn. He explains his reasons, but Garibaldi tries to explain that the Centauri will kill him should he return, a fact which G'Kar is only too aware of, but believes is only the solution. Garibaldi tries to convince him to stay, but G'Kar will not. G'Kar thanks him for his concern, and Garibaldi leaves.

Dr. Franklin, talking to a doctor on Earth, is outraged to hear that they do not have answers to all the questions he asked. He blows up at her, telling her to find the other answers, or else he will do what he can before he dies to discredit her. He shuts off the link, and opens his desk again. This time, he succumbs and injects himself with stims.

Na'Far tries to rally the Narns aboard the station to his way of thinking, and tells them that one great victory is better than numerous small victories. He does a good job of persuading them of this, but there is one thing that this plan omits that they all want to have.

With three minutes remaining, C&C rushes to get the answers transmitted, but Sheridan stops Ivanova, saying that he thinks there is something unusual about the situation, namely why a more advanced race would wish to give less-advanced races technology beyond their own. He says that wishing to eliminate lesser races, in that case, doesn't make any sense. He proposes that the entire thing is a ruse, designed not to destroy races who haven't reached a certain level of technological awareness, but rather to destroy races who HAVE, and present a threat to the probe's creators. With only 15 seconds remaining, Sheridan orders the information to not be sent. The probe leaves. Sheridan orders all of the answers relayed through a securebot a large distance away from the station. The probe self-destructs, destroying both itself and the securebot, but leaving the station intact. While Ivanova tries to get the debris back to the station for study, Sheridan laments that he now has to face the Transport Association again.

As G'Kar leaves the station, he is stopped by the many Narns of the resistance, who insist that G'Kar is valued and needed on the station. They refuse to let him leave, and though he tries to insist he is leaving in order to help them, they will not let him leave. He reminds them that their families may be in jeopardy, but they all realize this and are ready to accept what happens if it means the freedom of all Narns. Even Ta'Lon has been convinced to stay and join the Narn resistance, and tells G'Kar that only with his help can they eventually succeed. G'Kar agrees to stay aboard the station.

Garibaldi and Franklin sit in Earhart's discussing recent events, and though Garibaldi apologizes for what he said about the stims, Franklin tells him that he does have his use of them under control, since he managed to get through the previous days' trials without using them at all. He asks where Ivanova and Sheridan are, and Garibaldi tells him not to ask...

...Because they're embroiled in a Transport Association meeting, this one even louder and more disorganized than before.

Londo and Vir walk together in the docking bay, not saying a word. As Vir boards a ship, he looks back to Londo, who does nothing but nod. Vir enters the ship, and Londo turns and walks away.


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Last update: May 6, 1998