An accident in the docking bays starts a series of problems on Babylon 5. The dock workers demand better conditions or they'll go on strike. G'Kar has to get a replacement G'Quan-Eth plant for an important religious ceremony.
- Michael O'Hare as Commander Jeffrey Sinclair
- Claudia Christian as Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova
- Jerry Doyle as Security Chief Michael Garibaldi
- Mira Furlan as Delenn
- Richard Biggs as Dr. Stephen Franklin
- Andrea Thompson as Talia Winters
- Stephen Furst as Vir
- Bill Mumy as Lennier
- Caitlin Brown as Na'Toth
- Patricia Healy as Mary Ann Cramer
- Michael McKenzie as Narn Captain
- José Rey as Eduardo Delvientos
- Ricardo Martínez as Worker #2
- Marianne Robertson as Tech#1
- Floyd Vaugn as Worker #1
- Haley McLane as Computer (voice)
- Regular cast members appearing in this episode are Jeffrey Sinclair, Susan Ivanova, Michael Garibaldi, Na'Toth, G'Kar, and Londo Mollari.
From C'n'C, Lieutenant Commander Susan Ivanova deals with a large number of ships all vying to dock at the station at once. Among them is a Narn freighter, the Tal’Quith, which insists on docking immediately, as it is carrying a highly important, perishable item for Ambassador G'Kar. Ivanova decides to try to accommodate and links to a dock worker, Eduardo Delvientos, about the Narn ship. Despite being desperately short handed and having equipment problems, Delvientos agrees to take care of the freight immediately. During the docking process, however, a malfunction prompts another ship to begin launching as the Narn ship enters. The Narn captain panics and fires up his engines. This leads to a collision that destroys his ship's cargo hold. Debris flies throughout the interior, severely damaging one of the docking bays and trapping two workers.
Delvientos lets in the rescue teams and they bring out the two workers. One of the men, Delvientos' brother Albert, is dead.
In his quarters, G'Kar conducts a prayer ritual, but is interrupted by Na'toth. She tells him about the accident with the Tal'Quith, and explains that the loss of its cargo destroyed the G'Quan Eth plant it was transporting. He is devastated.
G'Kar meets with Ivanova and Commander Jeffrey Sinclair as they discuss the accident with Neeoma Connoly, the union representative for the Docker's Guild. Connoly insists her workers are not to blame, as they are understaffed and overworked. Michael Garibaldi enters and confirms the accident was caused by equipment failure; cheap microchips blew out, resulting in the malfunction. G'Kar insists that compensation is due to the Narn Regime before quickly leaving to attend another matter.
G'Kar goes to the Zócalo to search for another G'Quan Eth. He runs into Londo Mollari, but has no time to exchange insults. Noting G'Kar's distress, Mollari offers his aid, only to be brushed off. Mollari shrugs and departs, as Na'Toth arrives to inform G'Kar that there is no way to have another G'Quan Eth delivered in time. She adds however that there is someone aboard the station who has one... none other than Mollari. G'Kar then hears Mollari calling him out, and turns around just in time to see his enemy mockingly wave at him as he disappears into a transport tube.
Senator Hidoshi contacts Sinclair over the commander's latest budget increase requests. He tells him there is currently no more money to be had, telling him that Sinclair is on his own. The Senate is clearly not concerned with the Guild situation, as the workers are bound under a government contract to accept what they agreed to, without the ability to either quit or strike. Ivanova then tells the commander that all docking has ground to a halt because a large percentage of the workers have called in sick, Garibaldi recognizes it immediately: "blue flu." Since the Dock Workers cannot directly strike, they are doing so indirectly by feigning illness.
The Dock Workers all gather in one of the bays with Connoly. They suggest a strike, but Connoly insists they hold off on that. Garibaldi arrives to bring Connoly to Sinclair. She chides Garibaldi for not standing on their side, but Garibaldi does not raise to the bait. Connoly agrees to go with him.
Sinclair asks Connoly to get the Dockers back to work, warning that if the Senate decides to step in it could involve implementing the Rush Act. Connoly believes this will never happen, as it would guarantee popular sentiment at home and on the station would turn in the Dockers' favor. She refuses to have her people go back to work in what are clearly unsafe conditions. Sinclair says things are changing, but Connoly won't budge. She demands better working conditions and leaves.
Mollari returns to his quarters to find G'Kar waiting for him. Mollari takes great pleasure in having G'Kar at a disadvantage. He knows G'Kar needs the G'Quan'Eth before the end of the Days of G'Quan to be used in a religious ceremony. Mollari even hints of using the seeds of his G'Quan'Eth plant to spice his drinks; a notion that G'Kar seems to find blasphemous. G'Kar offers to buy it, and Mollari laughingly offers it for an outrageous amount. G'Kar angrily storms out.
Senator Hidoshi contacts Sinclair about the illegal strike, worried about the consequences if it continues. He explains that the Senate Labor Committee is sending Orin Zento to negotiate with the Guild. Hidoshi tells Sinclair that he must back up Zento's actions, whatever they are, even if troops are needed.
Orin Zento arrives about twelve hours later, arranging with Sinclair to meet with Garibaldi and prepare for the worst.
G'Kar, meanwhile, contacts Mollari, having managed to raise the 50,000 credits Mollari demanded for the plant. Mollari, however, tells him that the plant is not for sale at any cost. He reminds him of Ragesh III, telling him that this is his revenge. Privately, G'Kar rages at Na'Toth (who, as she is not a follower of G'Quan, is not as perturbed as he is). G'Kar tells her that he has one last chance to get the plant, but if he should fail he wants her to do something for him.
Zento meets with Connoly and the Dockers, insisting that there is no more money (despite the increase in military spending on the station). Zento is clearly confident in his logic, but no one is appeased by anything he has to say. Zento insists they are bound by their contract and by budget constraints. After some exchange with Connoly, Delvientos interrupts and insists that their equipment will never last the month and that they will not be pushed around. Zento counters by threatening to invoke the Rush Act. Sinclair suggests a recess until the morning, which is accepted by both sides. After he leaves, Delvientos continues to make it obvious he is frustrated.
At 0530, Sinclair is contemplating the issue when Zento contacts him. He angrily informs the commander that the dock workers have dropped all pretenses and are fully engaged in a full out strike. Zento again threatens to invoke the Rush Act. Immediately afterward, G'Kar contacts Sinclair and insists on meeting with him immediately. Overwhelmed, Sinclair reluctantly agrees to meet him before the meeting between Zento and Connoly.
G'Kar explains at the meeting about the G'Quan Eth plant and how important it is to his religion. As the highest-ranking member of his faith on the station, it is his duty to provide one for the Narn followers. Sinclair agrees to talk to Mollari, but is doubtful that he will be able to change his mind.
Sinclair goes directly to Mollari and appeals for him to sell the plant. Mollari obstinately refuses, telling him he would rather burn the plant than hand it over. Sinclair informs G'Kar of the bad news before going off to deal with Zento and Connoly. G'Kar contacts Na'Toth to tell her to "proceed".
Sinclair's meeting with Zento and Connoly does not go well, as both sides refuse to give an inch. Zento invokes the Rush Act, certain he will get confirmation of it from the Senate within the hour. He tells Sinclair to have the security forces get ready to arrest Connoly and anyone who stands by her side. Connoly still stands strong, knowing the consequences. She and the Docker's Guild know that violence will be employed, but are weary of being underpaid and overworked.
Mary Ann Cramer, reporter for ISN, follows Sinclair into C'n'C, hoping to get a comment about the strike. Moments later, Mollari storms in, with G'Kar right behind him. Mollari accuses G'Kar of stealing the statue of one of the Centauri gods from their temple, a charge that G'Kar vehemently denies. Sinclair has Ivanova usher them and Ms. Cramer all out of C'n'C before turning his attention to the strike. Senator Hidoshi contacts Sinclair, confirming that the Rush Act has been implemented, and instructs Sinclair to end the strike immediately. Sinclair reluctantly orders Garibaldi to move his security teams into place (in full riot gear).
When word of the Act reaches the Guild, they stand strong when Garibaldi and his teams arrive. Garibaldi announces they are all under arrest, at which point a brief fight erupts. Sinclair soon orders Garibaldi to pull his men back out. He then goes in with Connoly and Zento and announces a solution to the strike: as he has been given full authority to end the strike "by any means necessary," he opts to end it by reallocating money earmarked for the station's military budget to meet the Guild's demands. He also grants a blanket amnesty to all the workers. Zento furiously objects that these moves are not in the spirit of the Rush Act, but Sinclair cheerfully defies him as he is following the letter of the law. The workers enthusiastically embrace the deal and immediately go back to work.
Sinclair now sets to work at resolving the situation between Mollari and G'Kar.
Meeting the two ambassadors, Sinclair orders G'Kar to return the statue and informs Mollari he is confiscating the flower (he learned that it is a controlled substance, giving him the authority). Mollari is annoyed, but agrees not to fight the action, seeing as how the Days of G'Quan are over and thus it is too late for G'Kar to use the plant. After he leaves, G'Kar is thankful but the religious moment has passed. Sinclair, however, points out that it may not be too late (the ritual is supposed to occur when the first sunlight comes above the G'Quan Mountains on Narn) Sinclair points out that the ritual light – from ten years ago – has been traveling through space and is just about to reach the station. G'Kar happily accepts this solution and sets off to prepare the ceremony.
Back in his quarters, Sinclair gets a final transmission from Senator Hidoshi. He commends Sinclair for what he did, but warns him that he made new enemies (in addition to Zento, who has refused to let the matter rest). While the senate has folded to public opinion and allowed Sinclair to win, Zento and his sponsors have been embarrassed and humiliated. Sinclair shrugs nonchalantly.
Back in his quarters, G'Kar with the G'Quan Eth plant in his possession, and with some careful timing for the aforementioned light to pass by, at last performs the final ceremony of the Days of G'Quan without a hitch thanks to Sinclair.
"You should never hand someone a gun unless you're sure where they'll point it."
- – Sinclair, to Zento
"My father followed G'Lan. My mother didn't believe in much of anything."
"What do you believe in?"
"Too easy an answer. We all believe in something greater than ourselves. Even if it's the blind forces of chance."
"Chance favours the warrior."
- – Na'Toth and G'Kar.
"Why does the universe hate me?"
- – G'Kar, to Na'Toth
- The title of the episode applies to both story-arcs in it. It refers, of course, to the situation with the Docker's Guild and also G'Kar's quest for getting the G'Quan Eth plant.
- Londo's revenge against G'Kar is for the actions taken by the Narn Regime against Ragesh III (from "Midnight on the Firing Line".)
- G'Kar's devout religious practices and the Book of G'Quan are introduced here.
Behind the Scenes
- During production, 'By Any Means Necessary' was originally titled 'Backlash'.
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