Captain Sheridan is out helping to train Zeta Squadron against the Centauri, should the need to fight them ever arise. One of the other pilots is able to shoot Lt. Keffer quite easily, and is about ready to start again when Sheridan receives a call from Ivanova saying there's an emergency on Babylon 5. Sheridan orders Zeta Squadron to continue practicing the maneuvers and returns to the station.
Lennier enters the Zocalo where he finds Vir sitting there, nursing a drink. Lennier sits down next to him and says to Vir, "Sometimes I get so close, and yet it seems I'm shut out of the important things."
"It's a useless feeling," Vir replies. "The ambassador is definitely going through some changes. He even looks different."
"Indeed, and now with the military starting to stampede over everyone and everything..."
"The coming and going and secret meetings..."
"You never know what it's all about, until later, when it's too late."
"They never listen to us."
"It makes me nervous," they both say at once.
"Same time tomorrow?" Vir asks.
"Sure," Lennier replies as he leaves.
Sheridan meets up with Ivanova who tells him that the Drazi and Pak'ma'ra ambassadors are waiting for him in his office with an urgent matter to discuss. Sheridan orders that all the fighter squads be put through extensive training so they will be ready to fight if necessary.
Ivanova asks the Pak'ma'ra ambassador if he is certain that he is correct, and he assures her that he is. The Drazi ambasador explains that the Centauri have invaded both of their territories, taken command of listening posts, and are preparing to attack other races and other worlds. "War is spreading," the Drazi says. "Perhaps soon they even attack you."
Sheridan paces back and forth in his office as Ivanova arrives with Londo. The conversation is very tense as they discuss the movement of the Centauri forces. Sheridan asks why what the Centauri did to the Narn wasn't enough, but Londo insists that they are merely trying to stabalize the region, using the conquered worlds as a buffer zone, though the Drazi and Pak'ma'ra don't agree. Londo says his people merely want to establish a presence, and Sheridan demands to know where it will end. He tries to convince Londo that the Centauri are at the center of the trouble, but Londo refuses to listen. He warns Sheridan not to overstep his authority, which ends at Babylon 5.
Garibaldi tells Sheridan that Londo has been acting very differently, and that he can no longer be talked to or reasoned with. Sheridan asks Garibaldi how to get through to Londo, but Garibaldi says it can't be done as long as Londo is afraid, and that he isn't able to keep up with the climactic changes occurring all around him. Sheridan says that he made a full report to Earthdome, and with the new races involved, Earth can no longer ignore the problem. Ivanova calls Sheridan and tells him that Frederick Lantz, from the Ministry of Peace, has just arrived on the station, and Sheridan leaves to see him.
As Keffer and a fellow officer finish their training, they both admit
that they are very tired and wish they knew what was going on with
Sheridan. The officer suggests it might be the "ghost"--something
several other officers say in hyperspace while returning from sector
14. She explains that they said it looked like a cross between "a
spider and your worst nightmare."
Sheridan meets up with Lantz, who introduces him to Mr. Welles, the man in charge of the Nightwatch. Sheridan introduces them to Ivanova, and Lantz tells Sheridan that he wants to interview Londo and the ambassadors of the worlds affected by the Centauri expansion. Mr. Welles says that he wants to speak with the members of the Nightwatch aboard Babylon 5. Ivanova tells them that she can't believe they came to Babylon 5 -- she never thought they would. Lantz explains that Earth can't sit still forever, but it is good to know firsthand whether they're about to make the right choice.
Keffer meets up with another pilot in the Zocalo and asks him about the
ghost he saw. The officer, Mitch, tries to avoid the subject, but
Keffer is able to provide a flawless description of the ship, telling
him that he saw it as well, but that he wasn't able to record it or get
any other information about it. Mitch tries to convince Keffer that he
shouldn't try to search for it again.
While discussing the situation with the Drazi and the Pak'ma'ra and other tidbits of information about Earth with Ivanova, Lantz explains that he wants to leave his grandchildren a good legacy, and that is what he hopes to accomplish by working for the Ministry of Peace.
On C&C, a jump point is detected opening up on the other side of
Epsilon 3, where it can only be detected by Babylon 5. It turns out to
be a Narn war cruiser, which hails them. The captain tells Sheridan that,
when the Centauri attacked the homeworld, his ship was on a deep-space
assignment, but that he hopes that they can help liberate the
homeworld again, and to do that, they need the help and sanctuary of
Ivanova is just about to eat when Mr. Welles enters and asks to speak with her. He asks her if she is happy, and she tells him that she supposes she is. He says he likes to know as much as possible about the people he works with, and that her record is exemplary, and asks what her plans for the future are. She says she's happy on Babylon 5 for now, but isn't sure what the future holds for her; she may like to captain a starship. Welles tells her that, with the help of the Nightwatch, she can get her ship years earlier than she otherwise might, and he offers to pull some strings for her if she will help them discover disloyal people and potentially dangerous problems forming on Babylon 5. She tells him that she has learned all about the Nightwatch, and was worried about what she learned, and that she has no intention of violating her personal beliefs to advance her career.
Sheridan informs G'Kar about the Narn war ship, and says that it is
safe for the time being. G'Kar is happy about the news, and glad that
Sheridan plans to give them sanctuary. Sheridan tells G'Kar about
Lantz's visit; G'Kar is delighted to hear that Earth is prepared to
take sides, and rushes off to try to meet with Lantz.
Mr. Welles addresses the Nightwatch members aboard Babylon 5 and is pleased with their progress, except that of Zack Allan, who hasn't been reporting much, such as a shopkeeper's vocal complaints about new import regulations. Zack tries to defend himself saying that he didn't see anything wrong with such talk, but Welles disagrees, saying that this is precisely the kind of thing they should be informed of. He tells Zack to be extremely careful about anything suspicious, no matter how innocent it may seem. Zack is still very uncomfortable about the situation, but admits that the reports about the shopkeeper are true. Welles is pleased by this, and tells Zack that he shows great promise.
Mitch goes to Keffer and gives him a data crystal containing
information about sensor readings of the Shadow ship that may help
Keffer locate it. Mitch warns him that he may be risking his own life
by searching for the ship, and that he no longer wants any part of the
Lantz finishes meeting with the last ambassador of the League of Non-Aligned worlds and prepares to meet with Londo when G'Kar arrives, asking for five minutes of his time. Lantz refuses, though G'Kar does his best to convince him otherwise.
The captain of the Narn ship tells Sheridan that the repairs are going slowly due to lack of power. Sheridan suggests shutting down the jump engines so they can use the extra energy to assist in repairs, and Sheridan assures the captain that Babylon 5 will protect them. Lantz arrives at C&C and asks Sheridan about conducting fighter exercises against Centauri combat models. Sheridan tells him that it is true, and Lantz orders him to stop with the drills. Lantz also informs them that he has been authorized by Earth to sign a non-aggression treaty with the Centauri, forming an Earth-Centauri alliance to keep Earth safe. "We will, at last, know peace in our time," Lantz says.
As Welles walks down the corridor, he is approached by a technician from C&C who was unable to attend the meeting. She does, however, have other information for him.
Sheridan can't believe the idea of the non-aggression treaty, and Ivanova agrees; it protects Earth and leaves the Centauri free to attack other worlds. Sheridan tells Ivanova that he no longer feels as proud to be in Earth Force as he once did, and Ivanova tells him that, as 2260 is nearly upon them, it may be a year to make the uniform mean something again. She presents him with a small wrapped present, for Christmas or Hannukah. He opens it up and finds a piece of metal inside that he doesn't recognize. She tells him that she located a piece of the Black Star and wanted to give it to him as a reminder that sometimes it is possible to achieve something others believe can't be done. Londo calls Sheridan and tells him that he has learned that Babylon 5 is hiding a Narn warship and orders the ship and crew turned over to the Centauri. Sheridan ends the transmission and wants to know how Londo found out about it, and Ivanova suggests it was the Nightwatch that was responsible. The two of them rush back to C&C.
Sheridan orders a channel opened up to the Narn ship and tells the
captain that the Centauri know they are there.
A jump point opens and a Centauri battle cruiser
arrives, blocking the Narn ship from fleeing through Babylon 5's jump gate.
Sheridan, who promised G'Kar he'd do whatever he could, sends out Zeta
Squadron to escort the Narn ship. Lantz arrives at C&C and asks
Sheridan to explain his actions. Sheridan tells him that he promised
Sanctuary to the Narn ship and will do whatever he can to keep that promise.
Lantz tries to protest Sheridan's actions, but Sheridan has him taken
out of C&C as Zeta Squadron launches. He opens up a line with Londo
and tells him that the Narn ship will be granted free passage.
Sheridan tells Londo that, if the
Centauri opens fire on the Starfuries, Babylon 5 will respond with
deadly force. He sends a copy of the transmission to the Centauri
cruiser and orders the defense grid activated.
With the Starfuries in position, the Narn ship begins to move toward the jumpgate. The Centauri cruiser changes its position, opens its gun ports, and targets the Narn ship, Zeta Squadron, and Babylon 5 itself. Sheridan targets the Centauri warship and tells Keffer to fire if fired upon. The Centauri lock onto Babylon 5, but Sheridan refuses to fire until the Centauri do, which happens after only a few seconds. Sheridan fires interceptor shots and continues to defend Babylon 5 and the Narn ship as it is escorted toward the jump point. Babylon 5 is hit a couple of times, and Sheridan orders all weapons fired on the Centauri ship. The Narn ship makes it through the jump point; the Centauri ship, severely damaged by the station's attack, explodes.
Lantz tells Sheridan that the Centauri are extremely upset over Sheridan's actions, and despite the fact that morally and legally Sheridan made the correct choice, Lantz refuses to accept Sheridan's actions. Lantz tells Sheridan that the Centauri have accused them of moving out of neutrality and into a pro-Narn position. Welles tells Lantz and Sheridan that the joint chiefs agreed with Sheridan's actions, which were in accordance with Earth Force regulations, though, had Sheridan informed them of the Narn warship earlier, things may have turned out differently. Lantz tells Sheridan that the Centauri are willing to drop the entire thing if Sheridan apologizes. Sheridan is outraged at this, though Welles tells him that he has been ordered by the president himself, and that, should Sheridan go against those orders, he would be removed from command of Babylon 5. Welles explains that a meeting among all the ambassadors has been set up in the Zen Garden.
Zeta Squadron sticks with the Narn warship until Keffer's ship's computer informs him that there is an elevation in neutrino levels -- one of the signals from Mitch's data crystal. Sending the rest of the squadron and the Narn ship on ahead, Keffer breaks off to investigate.
Sheridan, in his dress uniform, practices his apology. "I apologize. I'm sorry. I'm sorry we had to defend ourselves against an unwarranted attack. I'm sorry that your crew was stupid enough to fire on a station filled with a quarter million civilians, including your own people. And I'm sorry I waited as long as I did before I blew them all straight to hell. As with everything else," he muses, "it's the thought that counts." He leaves to go make the speech.
following the computer signals, finally spies the Shadow ship and
orders the computer to begin recording.
All the ambassadors and their assistants have gathered in the Zen garden, waiting for Sheridan's speech as Sheridan makes his way there. As he approaches the transport tube, he is noticed by two young Centauri. In the garden, Ivanova notices that G'Kar has arrived. She tells him that he shouldn't be there, and he tells her that he has come to speak on Sheridan's behalf, and that the League of Non-Aligned Worlds may listen to him. Delenn and Kosh move off together to talk in private.
Keffer is scanned by the Shadow ship. He orders
the computer to attach a homing beacon and eject the system record.
The beacon has barely had time to leave the ship when the Shadow vessel
turns toward Keffer, and he is enveloped, screaming, in a blinding
Sheridan enters the transport tube and finds a place to sit down for the trip. When the car arrives at the second transport station, everyone except Sheridan leaves the car. When the car recommences its motion, Sheridan hears a strange noise and notices that an explosive device has been placed on a seat nearby and is nearly ready to explode. Sheridan orders the computer to override and open the shuttle doors. He springs out the door and the car explodes behind him.
The explosion -- and the rapidly falling Sheridan -- capture the attention of those in the Garden below, but there is very little time. "In Valen's name!" Delenn says.
"Oh my God!" Ivanova exclaims. "Emergency alert. We've got an explosion in the core shuttle. We need rescue jetpacks and we need 'em now."
"What are you trying to do?" G'Kar asks.
"He's more or less weightless," Ivanova explains. "But the ground is rotating at sixty miles an hour. If we can't catch him, he'll be killed by the impact."
"You won't have time!" G'Kar offers.
Delenn turns to Kosh, standing by her in a deserted section of the garden. "Kosh, you know what's at stake. If you are going to do anything, you must do it now!" The headpiece of Kosh's encounter suit opens up, a brilliant blue light shining from within.
Sheridan continues to fall as Ivanova receives another communication,
saying that the rescue team can't get there for two minutes. Ivanova
tries to get them to hurry, since they have only thirty seconds.
Delenn looks up at Kosh as he emerges from his encounter suit. As Kosh soars into the air, she recognizes him as a tall, winged Minbari, the bone on his head carved into the shape of a crown. He is glowing with white and yellow light as he flies toward Sheridan.
Lennier also recognizes him instantly. "Valeria!" he exclaims.
The Drazi ambassador sees Kosh as well, but sees him differently.
"Droshalla," he shouts out as he sees a light
ensconced Drazi rise into the air on her wings.
"G'Lan," G'Kar says breathlessly, referring to the Narn clad in pure white who is flying up to Sheridan to rescue him.
Londo looks up as well, puzzled.
As Sheridan falls, he too sees something different. A human male, clad all in white, and outlined by a warm yellow glow against his wings, holds his hands out to Sheridan, who grasps them. The figure, appearing as an angel to Sheridan, helps him to the ground, again in the secluded part of the garden. When he arrives, Sheridan is astounded. "Kosh?" he asks. The figure nods.
Delenn enters Sheridan's quarters. She was worried about him, but Sheridan says he is fine. "The whole station's talking about what happened. Every race that was in the garden saw something different... yet the same. A being of light."
"Yes," Delenn affirms. "Each according to his or her type."
"But it was Kosh, wasn't it?" Sheridan asks Delenn, and she nods. "That's what he meant when he said that if he left his encounter suit, he'd be recognized by... everybody," Sheridan concludes.
"For millions of years, the Vorlons have visited other worlds, guided them and..."
"Manipulated us? Programmed us so that... when we saw them, we would react the right way?"
"It is, as you say, a matter of perspective," Delenn tells Sheridan solemnly. "What matters is that he has revealed himself to those who understand--you, me... and those who have been watching. The Shadows will know what Kosh has done. They will worry, afraid that he would not reveal himself unless the Vorlons were prepared to stand against them."
"I do not think so. But as long as the Shadows believe the rest of us are unaware of their existence, we have time to prepare."
"Well, let's just hope that nobody find out about them until..." Sheridan is interrupted by a call from Ivanova saying that Zeta Squadron has returned, but Keffer has not.
In the Zocalo, a Narn and Drazi both describe what they saw in the garden. The Narn leaves, but the Drazi asks Londo, sitting nearby, what he saw. "Nothing," Londo replies. "I saw... nothing." He turns and leaves.
Londo shouts angrily in the council chamber as Ivanova, in voiceover, explains. "It was the end of the Earth year 2259, and the war was upon us. As anticipated, a few days after the Earth-Centauri treaty was announced, the Centauri widened their war to include many of the Non-Aligned Worlds. And there was another war brewing closer to home, a personal one whose cost would be higher than any of us could imagine." The shopkeeper Zack informed on is forced out of his shop, closed by the Ministry of Peace "pending allegations of sedition." Ivanova, in her quarters, silently and solemnly lights her menorah. "We came to this place because Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace. By the end of 2259, we knew that it had failed. But in so doing, it became something greater. As the war expanded, it became our last best hope... for victory. Because sometimes, peace is another word for surrender. And because secrets have a way of getting out."
The image of the Shadow ship, seen from the beacon Keffer sent out appears as an announcer explains. "When our ship encountered a distress beacon attached to an EarthForce recording device, these images, released exclusively to ISN, were found on that recording. Strategic analysts in EarthDome have indicated they don't know who this new race might be... but promised to find out." The Shadow vessel turns toward the camera and fires, reducing the image to static.