- This article is about the Babylon 5 episode. For the cancelled PC Game, see: Babylon 5: Into the Fire
At the height of the Shadow War, Sheridan stages a final showdown between the Vorlons and the Shadows at Coriana VI.
- Bruce Boxleitner as Captain John Sheridan
- Claudia Christian as Commander Susan Ivanova
- Jerry Doyle as Security Chief Michael Garibaldi
- Mira Furlan as Ambassador Delenn
- Richard Biggs as Dr. Stephen Franklin
- Stephen Furst as Vir Cotto
- Bill Mumy as Lennier
- Andreas Katsulas as G'Kar
- Peter Jurasik as Ambassador Londo Mollari
- Jeff Conaway as Zack Allan
- Jason Carter as Marcus Cole
- Patricia Tallman as Lyta Alexander
- Ardwight Chamberlain as Vorlon representative
- Regular characters appearing in this episode are John Sheridan, Susan Ivanova, Delenn, Stephen Franklin (illusion), Lennier, Vir Cotto, Marcus Cole, Lyta Alexander and Londo Mollari.
In a remote part of space, Commander Ivanova awaits the arrival of one of the First Ones. She's impatient to get back to the fleet since the Battle of Coriana VI is due to begin in less than 24 hours, but Lorien seems patient. Fortunately, an alien ship soon arrives, and Lorien offers to introduce Ivanova to them.
Meanwhile, Captain Sheridan is very busy as he leads a flight of White Stars on an attack on a Vorlon observation post. After a brief, harrowing encounter, they successfully destroy the outpost, providing the blind spot the fleet needs to advance on Coriana VI. As he jumps back into hyperspace, he and Delenn marvel at the spectacle before them: thousands of ships comprising over two dozen races, coming together under his command for a common cause. Win or lose, all will know they put up a fight. Sheridan gives Lennier the order: "Take us into the fire."
Marcus Cole and Lyta Alexander discuss the upcoming battle. In particular, why Sheridan chose Coriana VI over Centauri Prime, which will be under threat at about the same time. Cole notes that Coriana is more helpless: twice as many inhabitants at a lower technological level. At least the Centauri possess the ability to recognize the threat and take steps to deal with it.
As he speaks, new Centauri Prime Minister Londo Mollari is even now taking those aforementioned steps. Time is against them, but the royal court is complaining about the urgency. Mollari points out that if the Shadow vessels aren't evicted in 12 hours, the Vorlon Planet Killer will destroy them. He calls a meeting of the ministers with all haste to get things moving. He also asks that Morden be found so as to "tell him the bad news."
Delenn receives word that Ivanova has finished locating First Ones and has returned to Babylon 5. Sheridan insists she "haul ass" to join the fleet in time, at which Delenn muses at yet another silly-sounding human idiom.
Back at B5, Lorien meets Ivanova, and she asks how he and the First Born managed to avoid overpopulation. Lorien explains that an extremely low birth rate balanced out any unnatural deaths until the universe decided to intervene by causing them to start aging and dying naturally. He then went on to explain how the First Born found and nurtured the Vorlons, Shadows, and other First Ones. Time passed, and most of the First Ones either died out or advanced to the point they could leave the galaxy. Lorien then notes that with long lives comes a need to detach themselves from such transitory things as emotion; the Younger Races should enjoy the feelings they experience, as only they with their shorter lives can truly appreciate them.
Even as Mollari rushes to prepare for his evicting the Shadows, Durano a Centauri minister insists he tell him something crucial. It concerns the circumstances surrounding the death of Adira Tyree, Mollari's favored consort. Mollari insists it had been the work of his old rival, Lord Refa. But to his shock, he learns that's what the actual perpetrator wanted Mollari to believe. Centauri Intelligence had long known the real killer but had been barred from revealing this at the direct order of the late Emperor Cartagia. With Cartagia's death, however, that order is no longer in effect, and they can now tell the truth; the death had been orchestrated by Morden. Stunned, Mollari begs a moment alone. Once private, he goes into a tantrum as he suddenly realizes Morden had "played him like a puppet."
Ivanova grows impatient as she tries to catch up to the fleet, causing her to shout orders in jumbled Minbari. Lorien bids her be patient. The battle will not be decided by force of arms but rather by whether or not Sheridan "knows that he knows."
The fleet gathers in the Coriana system. Sheridan notes that while it's "not bad," they still can't win a straight-up fight against both the Vorlons and the Shadows. But with this fleet, they can hopefully buy enough time for the truth to set them free before they're all killed. The Narn thermonuclear bombs have been strategically seeded in asteroids in the system, and Alexander is scanning the ambient space for the impending arrival of the belligerents.
As the sun rises on the Centauri Royal Palace, guards finally bring Morden to Mollari. Morden demands to know what's going on, and Mollari gets to the point. The Vorlons are on the way, and they want the Shadows dead...and anything associated with them. To prevent this, Mollari is taking steps. First, guards fire on either side of him, killing the two cloaked Shadows that always accompany him. Next, he orders Morden to take the Shadow vessels off the island of Celini and out of Centauri space. Morden defiantly dares him do it himself, knowing full well no Centauri ship can stand up to a Shadow vessel in flight. Mollari counters that the Shadow vessels are currently on the ground. Morden replies they'll take off at the first hint of an attack, coyly challenging, "So what are you gonna do, Mollari, huh? Blow up the island?" After a pregnant pause, Mollari pulls a detonator out of his jacket. For the first time, Morden shows genuine shock as Mollari does exactly what Morden dared him to do-he actually blows up the entire island of Celini. As Morden looks crestfallen, Mollari explains that he's been prepared for Morden's defiance, and that now Morden will pay his price. He orders Morden taken away to await his execution. But as he's dragged away, Morden screams out one final defiance; Centauri Prime will pay the price for what he's done. But Londo grimly muses afterward, "I haven't even started with you yet."
Ivanova manages to make it to the fleet just in time. Moments later, Alexander gives the alert. Soon, one side of the Coriana system is awash with Shadow vessels phasing into normal space. On the other, countless Jump Points herald the arrival of the Vorlon fleet.
Lennier reports that the Vorlons and Shadows are heading straight for each other, apparently ignoring or disregarding the Army of Light. So Sheridan decides to "get their attention" by detonating three of the nuclear bombs in their midst. It has the desired effect as Alexander reports, "They're pissed." Soon everyone is engaged in the gigantic battle. However, the Vorlon Planet Killer continues its inexorable advance to Coriana VI. Sheridan tries to contact the Vorlons but gets no reply. Delenn then asks Alexander to try with telepathy since she has had prior contact with them.
Cotto soon joins Londo in the throne room as Mollari is in a festive mood. The Shadow vessels have been destroyed, and the link between the Centauri and the Shadows has been dealt with. Mollari then suggest that Cotto take a walk out in the garden. Cotto does so...and discovers Morden's severed head on display on a pike. Cotto recalls the wish he'd given to Morden two years ago about living long enough to see Morden's head on a pike as a warning not to make deals with the devil. Seeing the severed head, Cotto timidly gives it the condescending, waggling little wave he'd promised then.
Meanwhile, the Vorlon Planet Killer is almost in range of Coriana VI, forcing Sheridan to use his trump card. He calls in the First Ones, and their massed might is able to destroy the Planet Killer.
Mollari joins Cotto in the garden in a celebratory mood, as he'd just informed the Vorlons of their planet's cleansing of the Shadows. However, his joy evaporates when something eclipses the Centauri sun: a Planet Killer. Cotto grimly notes there's still one Shadow-influenced person on Centauri Prime: Mollari himself.
Lennier intercepts a Vorlon communication: in response to losing the Planet Killer here, they're issuing an order to call in all their remaining ships...
...meaning even as Mollari demands Cotto kill him to stop the Vorlons from attacking, the Planet Killer there receives the order and flies away, sparing Centauri Prime.
Lorien joins Sheridan on his ship, hoping he can help get through to the Vorlons. Suddenly, Alexander calls out in an eerie voice, "There is nothing to tell." She turns to them, her eyes aglow in blue energy. "You thought we could not touch you. You were wrong." And suddenly, Sheridan is trapped in an energy field. Just as suddenly, Alexander's eyes turn black, and in a different eerie voice, then says, "And you they have left for us." Delenn is then trapped in a similar field.
Lennier tries to rush to them, but Lorien demands they be left alone. This had been what Sheridan had been banking on: a chance to engage both races directly. He offers to help, gently entering himself into both fields and projecting both Sheridan's and Delenn's experiences throughout the Army of Light.
Sheridan confronts a veiled figure encased in ice that points out the Vorlon's goal of maintaining order. So Sheridan counters, "Why haven't you struck at them directly?" He's onto them, he continues. There's no point in destroying the Shadows since they won't be around to know the Vorlons were right. But the Younger Races are tired or being cannon fodder in their millennia-long argument.
Meanwhile, Delenn confronts familiar figures from her time on Babylon 5: Ivanova, Dr. Franklin, Lennier, and finally a duplicate of Delenn herself., each making the Shadows's case that evolution is inevitable. Delenn defies them, saying that's only what the Shadows want them to believe.
Suddenly, a stray asteroid strikes White Star 2, and the Vorlons and Shadows become aware of Lorien's eavesdropping. Lorien quickly draws their consciousnesses to safety, but the Shadows respond by enveloping the Army of Light in the Death Cloud, and it's draining everyone's energy. If they don't find a solution in ten minutes, their life suport will fail. But soon, two images appear before Sheridan and Delenn: one Vorlon, one Shadow. Lorien explains that they're offering one last chance to choose between them. So Sheridan begins by noting the Questions. He turns their Questions on them, asking them, "Who are you?! What do you want?!" Delenn notes that their inability to answer means they've lost track of themselves. How can they teach something they can't reacall for themselves. The secret is out; the Younger Races know the truth, and they won't take sides anymore. But the figures challenge that statement, and the Death Cloud fires several missiles at White Star 2. But each time, another ship intercepts it: proof that they side with Sheridan. If this continues, all they'll do is destroy the Younger Races: leaving them alone and in failure. They're ready to go it alone, so the First Ones aren't needed anymore. At this point, Lorien joins them and agrees. It's time to let them go and join the rest of the First Ones beyond the Rim. And he will join them as well. They finally agree, and the figures vanish. The Vorlons, Shadows, and Death Cloud leave the Coriana system. The other First Ones soon leave as well, leaving only Lorien. He takes a final moment to reminisce, realizing that he's at least partially reluctant to leave, but there can be no turning back. That was another reason to locate the First Ones: to ensure no more interference. Lorien gestures around him and notes that the galaxy is now solely the domain of the Younger Races. They will continue to grow and evolve as the First Ones did, locating newer races and nurturuing them. Take heed from what they've experienced today and know when the time comes to let go, for someday, they too may reach the point where they will begin the trek beyond the Rim. As he morphs into his true energy form, Lorien promises, "We will wait for you." before he too vanishes into the darkness.
Back on Centauri Prime, Mollari is in a most uncomfortable position. It seems every time he senses reason to celebrate, fate seems to find some way to do "something nasty" to him in response, but Cotto counters that that's something to consider tomorrow. Today, there's every reason to celebrate. Centauri Prime is free; the galaxy is free. Why would the gods deny Mollari "one single night of happiness"? Mollari finally agrees, and he notes that he will return with Cotto to Babylon 5. The freeing of Narn and the assassination of Cartagia is stirring up unrest in the royal court, and it's best he stay away until things calm down. They exchange a friendly embrace, and Cotto leaves Mollari to enjoy his evening.
White Star 2 returns to Babylon 5, and Sheridan and Delenn discuss what lies before them now. Two Ages have just passed for Mankind and the Younger Races. In the First Age, the races were too primitive to look beyond themselves. In the Second Age, they began to explore the galaxy under the watchful eye of the First Ones. Now, they enter the Third Age, where the galaxy belongs to them alone. Their future triumphs and tragedies will be of their own making. Delenn notes, "Now we make our own magic. Now we create our own legends. Now we build the future. Now we stop..." "...being afraid of shadows," Sheridan finishes.
- "Now get the hell out of our galaxy, both of you!"
- – Sheridan to both the Shadows and Vorlons
|Babylon 5 Season 4 "No Surrender, No Retreat"|
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