The Babylon Project

An Earth Alliance Explorer class ship, commanded by an old friend to Captain Sheridan, arrives at Babylon 5. Meanwhile, Dr. Franklin puts the command crew on a diet.


Regular Cast[]

Guest Starring[]



  • Unknown as Beroot
  • Unknown as Berlin

Cast Notes[]



Captain Jack Maynard, commanding officer of the EAS Cortez, orders a message sent to Babylon 5.

In C'n'C, Commander Ivanova informs Captain Sheridan that the Cortez is about to arrive for resupplying and relays a personal message from Maynard, one of Sheridan's oldest friends. The Explorer class ship arrives minutes later. Sheridan invites the crew to take a good look, as seeing an Explorer ship is a rare treat, as it appears to be about the same length as Babylon 5 itself.

Act I[]

Once on board the station, Captain Maynard and Captain Sheridan reminisce about their respective commands. They run into Delenn, who asks Sheridan for a Council meeting later in the week. Sheridan is very proud of his station.

In Medlab, Dr. Franklin insists Michael Garibaldi go on a diet to help further his recovery. Garibaldi argues that it is almost time for him to fix a special meal, Bagna Cauda. Franklin flatly tells him he cannot have it, insisting he stick to his diet (or "food plan"). He tells Michael that he will be watching him.

In Sheridan's quarters, the two captains continue to go over Sheridan's new assignment. Maynard is surprised that Sheridan was chosen for the job, believing Sheridan was always meant to be out in space, not tied to a desk. Maynard's words seem to strike a chord with Sheridan. Later, when Garibaldi talks to him about a string of shoplifting incidents, Sheridan gruffly tells him that such petty concerns are not important enough for him to take notice.

Later still, Maynard has dinner with Sheridan, Ivanova, Warren Keffer, and Ray Galus. When asked if his ship has noticed anything strange out near the Rim, Maynard admits that they have: something stranger than they can imagine. After dinner, Sheridan privately follows up on what Maynard said. Maynard explains that he and his nav officer were out in one of their scout ships in deep space when he saw something strange: some type of black ship, monstrous and huge, but he only saw it for a moment. Sheridan tells him that he is the second person in a month to report something unusual along the Rim. Maynard says that whatever it is, it gives him chills to think about.

Act II[]

Captain Sheridan receives his exam in Medlab, and Dr. Franklin also insists that Sheridan go on a diet to lose some weight. Sheridan grumbles at the prospect.

Delenn is met by a Minbari named Teronn, who expresses concerns among the Minbari on the station regarding Delenn's transformation. Delenn is evasive in explaining the transformation, but insists that she is still Minbari and that they must obey her. Teronn explains that whether she is still Minbari at all is exactly what the concern is about and, thus, they cannot all blindly follow. She does not object when he asks to send a representative to the Grey Council.

Commander Ivanova is next in line for a checkup from Dr. Franklin. He also insists she go on a diet, citing deficiencies of several vitamins and minerals. Ivanova objects, saying it will cause her to gain weight. But Franklin insists it will help her leg to heal faster.

The Cortez finishes its resupply and prepares for departure. Sheridan sees Maynard off to his ship, more than a little jealous regarding Maynard's assignment. He goes to C'n'C and watches as the Explorer ship leaves through the jump gate. Afterward, he goes over a mountain of paperwork and minor diplomatic nuisances with Ivanova. He admits that seeing Maynard has made him have some regrets about being commander of Babylon 5. He feels that commanding starships is what he was trained to do, not commanding "cities in space." He also cannot help but feel like he's been "beached," despite the high profile of the station, and wonders if President Clark was wrong to assume that he could handle the responsibility.

Deep in hyperspace, an explosion suddenly goes off on the bridge of the Cortez. Badly damaged, the Cortez drifts away from the hyperspace beacon. With its equipment damaged, it will not be able to find the beacon again.

Act III[]

In the Zócalo, Sheridan, Ivanova, and Garibaldi have lunch, though none of them are enjoying it because they are all stuck to their respective "food plans."

The Cortez continues to drift further away from the beacon. Captain Maynard orders a distress signal sent out. The signal reaches Babylon 5, informing the station that the ship is lost in hyperspace. Sheridan immediately orders all Starfury wings assembled for a rescue mission. Ivanova reminds him that no ship lost in hyperspace has ever been found.

Delenn endures the next of Dr. Franklin's examinations (in her case, he is examining the effects of her transformation). She mentions overhearing Garibaldi talking about the arrival of "bagna cauda."

Sheridan briefs the Starfury wings about their rescue missions. He alerts them to the danger, but suggests a "lifeline" method: each fighter will fly out successfully farther, forming a chain that will keep them in contact with the beacon and hopefully allow them to find the Cortez. The Starfury wings launch and enter hyperspace.

The Cortez picks up on Babylon 5's signal and manages to remain in contact. Sheridan assures them that help is on the way.

Act IV[]

In hyperspace, Zeta Wing Leader Ray Galus struggles to keep his wing focused on the Cortez's signal.

In C'n'C, Sheridan nervously awaits for any word. He explains to Ivanova that Maynard was his first commanding officer, the man who taught him everything he knows.

Galus and Keffer form the last links in the chain. Keffer is able to locate the Cortez and heads for it. However, a Shadow Vessel suddenly streaks by, colliding with the two Starfuries. The impact destroys Galus's ship and badly damages Keffer's, disrupting his communications and engines. By firing his weapons in one direction, he is able to indicate to the Cortez the right direction to take. The Cortez picks up on the message and heads in the right direction, reluctantly leaving Keffer behind. The Cortez finds the other Starfuries and they are able to lead it back to Babylon 5 safe and sound.

In the customs area, Garibaldi meets with Orwell, who has managed to secure him the ingredients for bagna cauda. Garibaldi appeals to Franklin, saying that his birthday is coming up and he always fixes it on his birthday to honor his deceased father, as his dad always used to fix it for him. Franklin tells him to make the meal for two.

Delenn meets Sheridan in the Zen Garden and offers him some comfort over the loss of his two pilots. She also assures him that he is in the right place, exactly where he needs to be.

Back in hyperspace, Keffer manages to get his ship under control. However, he has lost all contact with the hyperspace beacon. Suddenly, he sees the Shadow ship again. He orders the computer to compare the ship's course to that of its first trip. Back on Babylon 5, a gloomy Sheridan suddenly reacts joyfully as the jumpgate opens and Keffer emerges.

Act V[]

A wake is held for Galus. Keffer explains that he was able to use the unknown ship's trajectory as a reference to orient himself and determine the direction back to the jumpgate. He explains he wants to find out what it is and where it comes from. Ivanova informs him that he is being put in command of Zeta Wing.

In Garibaldi's quarters, Franklin enjoys the bagna cauda with the Chief.

Ivanova tracks down Sheridan in his office, hard at work, and much more optimistic about his assignment after his conversation with Delenn.

Memorable Quotes[]

"Figures. All my life I fought against imperialism. Now suddenly, I am the expanding Russian frontier."
"But with very nice borders."

Doctor Franklin and Ivanova concerning her "food plan".

"It's going to cost me extra for you to say nothing to somebody--how much for you to say nothing to everybody?"
"You couldn't afford it."

Garibaldi and Orwell

"If the primates that we came from had known that some day, politicians would come out of the gene pool, they'd have stayed up in the trees and written evolution off as a bad idea!"

Sheridan upon feeling beached

"An old friend of mine once quoted me a ancient Egyptian blessing: 'God be between you and harm, in all the empty places you must walk.' Bring the Cortez home. "

Sheridan, sending out the lifeline

"We are star stuff. We are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out."

Delenn, to Sheridan



  • Some of the thoughts Delenn shares with Sheridan are quotes and paraphrases of the science TV documentary "Cosmos", famously narrated by Carl Sagan.
  • The Universe Today article about something living in hyperspace Keffer mentions could be seen in "And the Sky Full of Stars". Despite Galus's claim that nothing can live in hyperspace, the crew of the Excalibur later encountered a species called the Fen in "The Well of Forever".
  • Captain Maynard was Sheridan's first CO before the Earth-Minbari War on the Moon-Mars-Patrol.
  • Considering the influence of George Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four" had on the show (i. e. Julie Musante's notion on renaming a problem before you can solve it as an allusion the novel's use of "Newspeak"), Orwell might also have been named after the author.
  • Delenn telling Sheridan that the pilots who didn't make it back were at the right place at the right time and that he also is at the right place at the right time foreshadows the events of "Comes the Inquisitor" later in the season.
  • Maynard talks in vey ominous tones to Sheridan about something he saw out on the rim (possibly a shadow vessel) depicting a mystery about the unknown. They are standing on the same catwalk where Sheridan will later dispel these mysteries after returning from Z'ha'dum and addressing everyone, telling them he has faced the Shadows and killed many of them.

Behind The Scenes[]

  • As in the previous episode ("The Geometry of Shadows"), Ivanova's in-universe injury and use of a cane is due to the real-life injury of Claudia Christian. Extending her on-screen injury allowed her to contiue acting with her real-life injury.

DVD Release[]

This episode, along with the other 21 from Season 2 have been released on DVD with extensive Special features.

External Links[]

Episode guide page for A Distant Star at the Lurker's Guide