- Bruce Boxleitner as Captain John Sheridan
- Claudia Christian as Commander Susan Ivanova
- Jerry Doyle as 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 Ambassador G'Kar
- Peter Jurasik as Ambassador Londo Mollari
- Jeff Conaway as Security Chief Zack Allan
- Jason Carter as Marcus Cole
- Patricia Tallman as Lyta Alexander
- Regular character who appear in this episode are John Sheridan, Susan Ivanova, Delenn, Stephen Franklin, Marcus Cole and Lennier.
At his station in C&C, Captain Sheridan watches more ISN propaganda. Commander Ivanova chides him for watching blatant lies that are "winding him up," but Sheridan says it motivates him. Also, it clues him in on how they'll proceed. At this point, Earth may be motivated to attack Babylon 5, this time as liberators. Just then, a very weak signal comes in from Dr. Franklin on Mars.
Using a portable transmitter station, Franklin cryptically reports progress on Mars so far. They have made contact, and the rest of the Mars Resistance is gathering to hear their case. Everything is going to plan and he and Marcus should return soon. Number One compliments Franklin on his furtiveness. The transmission is one way, so no one can figure out the intended recipient, his cryptic words cover up the exact action he's undertaking, and the brevity of the transmission reduces the chance of it being traced to the Mars Resistance. The last thing either of them want is President Clark sniffing out that someone from Babylon 5 was in the Sol system. Just then, Marcus bursts in, reporting an explosion at the Red Planet Hotel where they'd been staying. It was a terrorist action claimed by the Mars Resistance. The blast killed an Earth security force and ten civilians. Hearing this, Number One storms off to confront the perpetrator.
Back on Babylon 5, Delenn receives a grim report from another Minbari: Forell. There has been an increase in raids along the border of Minbari space. They've been careful not to target the Minbari directly but instead target smaller allied worlds. Races like the Norsai are taking it hard, and with the Grey Council dissolved, friction is building among the Castes. The Warrior Caste is showing no interest in an alliance forged by the Religious Caste. As they talk, another border raid occurs.
Delenn goes to Sheridan on station in C&C. She regrets not being able to accept Sheridan's invitation to dinner. She explains about the attacks on the edge of Minbari space. Sheridan notes a coincidence; the pak'ma'ra are being similarly harassed. He surmises that with the Shadow War over, ambitious races are trying to take advantage of races weakened by the war. Delenn intends to take a flight of White Star class ships to investigate and, if necessary, intervene.
Number One roughly berates Phillipe for the unauthorized bombing. Phillipe claims Donovan authorized it, but Number One points out that Donovan only represents Earth. She is his immediate superior, not he. Phillipe then notes it was an attack of opportunity; the security force was vulnerable for only a short time, but then Number One coldly notes his blast killed ten civilians and likely struck a blow to the Resistance's credibility. As she storms past, Marcus notes that she's scary when she's angry.
Meanwhile, it's about midnight on Babylon 5. Sheridan watches some more ISN propaganda when he suddenly switches it off; he has an idea.
Ivanova is asleep in her bed when the doorbell rings repeatedly. When she finally orders the door opened, Apparently unaware or uncaring that he'd just roused Ivanova, Sheridan walks in, the idea racing through his mind. If Clark's intent on filling the airwaves with his stories, then two can play that game. Ivanova finally gets his attention about the fact he had basically stormed into her room unannounced, and he gives her time to change into uniform.
They walk into the old War Room. Sheridan actually has Ivanova to thank for the idea. During the Shadow War, she had used BabCom to relay news about attacks, shelters, evacuations, and so on. Ivanova hated it, but she has a natural talent. He notes that with all the lies spreading throughout space, truth has become exceedingly rare. Taking an idea from World War II, his idea is to turn B5 into the "Voice of the Resistance": a nexus where true actual news can circulate. And he wants her to be the Voice. Ivanova sighs as she realizes she doesn't really have much say in the matter. He's the Captain, after all.
Delenn is herself having trouble sleeping, as Forell notes. She is herself deep in thought about the news she received concerning the Warrior Caste. She's realizing that she hasn't been paying much attention to matters back home on Minbar when perhaps she should've given it more thought. Forell notes that with the dissolution of the Grey Council, animosity between the castes has been growing steadily. Ever aggressive, the Warrior Caste is looking to establish its own governing council. There are rumors of the Warriror Caste driving the Religious Caste out of the cities. This deeply troubles Delenn.
Back on Mars, Franklin convenes the meeting of the heads of the Mars Resistance. He starts by relaying several messages from Sheridan. First, B5 shares their outrage over your mistreatment. But Phillipe notes that B5 declared independence when it was about to be attacked anyway, making the gesture rather hollow. Also, Number One notes that Sheidan was part of the task force sent to put down the Mars Food Riots, so some animosity exists concerning Sheridan. Marcus recognizes this and says that Sheridan is willing to put the past aside and focus on more immediate concerns. Franklin's next message is that Mars and Proxima III have not been forgotten. They are even now preparing a campaign to liberate them, but Franklin reminds them the target is Clark the person, not the position of President. Many in the group resent this stance, and Marcus sympathizes (the Arisia Mining Colony was exploited similarly). But he also notes that open aggression like this will cause the rest of the Alliance to distance itself from them. To that, Franklin insists there be no more terrorist bombings; they're only hurting the cause at this point. When Number One asks where they've been, Marcus notes that they'd been busy with the Shadow War, and to further the point, he cites the alien found on Captain Jack: proof that aliens are interested in Earth affairs whether they like it or not. Franklin continues. He wants to be sure they'll carry out Sheridan's instructions as directed; in other words, he needs their trust. And then he delivers Sheridan's final message. In return for their assistance, Sheridan assures them Mars will be granted independence when the war is over. This stunning news makes everyone ask if Sheridan can keep such a promise; Franklin replies that he trusts Sheridan completely. He repeats the offer: organize and help Sheridan and you'll be fighting for your freedom; otherwise, you'll face inevitable isolation and eventual execution.
The White Star task force arrives at the area where most of the attacks have occurred. They are in time to pick up a distress signal from a pak'ma'ra military transport. They move to intercept but are too late to save the ship. However, they do see the attackers. They are unknown, so they cannot identify them. Lennier advises caution, as there may have been other motives. Delenn reminds him she is aware of first contact protocols. She decides to parlay first. After some brief accommodation, the ships' occupants identify themselves as Drakh. But Lennier notes something important. They are not being translated in Interlac but are actually speaking in Minbari. Delenn agrees to Lennier's concern. Then it dawns on her; this isn't the first time the Drakh have made contact with the Minbari. She turns to Forell, who then raises a gun at her.
Too late, Delenn realizes she had been set up. Delenn notes that Minbari do not kill other Minbari, but Forell counters that he can persuade through pain instead. He reveals that he doesn't want her acting against them until she hears out the Drakh. That was the deal. They agree to that extent. The White Stars follow the Drakh ships.
After a tense wait, Number One reports on the vote. Most of them are willing to go along, though various things have to be cleared up first. But Number One calls out Franklin as a liar. How did he know about terrorist bombings prior to coming here. Franklin admits that he'd ad-libbed it, but in doing so he supported Number One (who wasn't too happy about them, either), so she thanks him. After she leaves, Marcus notes that Number One seems to be getting friendly with Franklin. Franklin calls Marcus a romantic to be looking for such hints everywhere he goes. But now Marcus notes that they're involved in a second kind of war: a war of trust, more difficult than a simple war of arms. In such a war, relationships are rare. Just then, Number One returns. Since the Red Planet Hotel was bombed, they're out a place to stay. She offers Franklin to join her for dinner...and then asks Marcus to help out in guard duty. This reinforces Marcus's assumptions. After some banter, Marcus makes a serious suggestion: take it up while you can; you'll never know when it'll come again.
After some distance, Forell orders the fleet to halt. They are within sight of the Drakh fleet's mothership. The mothership sends out a life pod. Forell describes the Drakh as "friends" and insists the life-pod be allowed to board. Inside is an emissary. His movements are ghostly and indistinct. Other Minbari keep their distance. He eventually reaches the bridge and begins conversing with Delenn through a translator. Forell now reveals new facts: all the rumors are true. The Warrior Caste has already formed an independent council, and members of the Religious Caste really have been driven out of the cities... to succumb to the cold of the polar latitudes. So in a way, the Warrior Caste have already started an indirect war with the Religious Caste, evading the prohibition of killing by simply leaving them to die of exposure. Minbar is returning to the days before Valen: the days of the Caste Wars. But many in the Religious Caste can't see this, which is why Forell took this drastic action: to gain outside support before the Warrior Caste gains overreaching dominance. The Drakh offer help in exchange for some deserted territory along their border. An argument ensues. Minbari will not condone thievery, but the Drakh only act when acted upon. Forell insists the Drakh seek peaceful relations. They want a home... "...because they have just lost their home," Lennier finishes. Forell says the Drakh had been forced to evacuate because of a "natural disaster." Delenn and Lennier's minds begin to race. This is sounding very familiar. Delenn asks some questions, but the emissary's answers are evasive. Forell asks that Delenn take the Drakh offer to the rest of the Religious Caste. They will respect her. Finally, Delenn steps forward and says they will consider the offer. Return in seven days for an answer. The emissary answers, "They know." and leaves. Delenn seems shocked at this. But as soon as Forell calls Delenn by name, the emissary pauses. Mental alarms go off in Delenn's mind. As soon as the emissary leaves the bridge, she confronts Forell. He didin't tell them who he was bringing. Delenn reveals the pieces of the puzzle. The home they had lost was Z'ha'dum, and they know Delenn because she led the Army of Light against the Shadows. The Drakh are one of the former allies of the Shadows. As soon as the life-pod returns to the mothership, the Drakh will want revenge...and to take their own place of prominence.
They quickly go over tactics. The Drakh ships can destroy the White Stars before they pick up enough speed to outrun them. However, they are close to the mothership, which is why the Drakh aren't attacking yet, so Delenn asks if Lennier is familiar with the Warrior Caste technique of "skin dancing": hugging the hull of an enemy ship to deter fire. Lennier notes he lacks the training; however, he can program the technique into the White Stars' computers. So Delenn engineers a feint. They will move as if to begin heading for home and then, at the last second, ride along the hull of the mothership to build up speed. The maneuvering is intense, and the Drakh struggle to get a safe angle on them. One ship loses control and collides with the mothership. By the time they're clear, they have the speed to outrun them and begin to jump into hyperspace. The Drakh ships desperately attack in this brief window of vulnerability. White Star 16 is destroyed, and Delenn's ship is severely damaged. Beams falls onto the bridge, one of them striking Forell, but it and the other ships complete the jump. As self-repair systems begin working, Delenn sees to Forell. He apologizes for bringing her into such great danger. He really hadn't known. As he dies, he repeats that he did it to help his people. Delenn apologizes herself... for not paying attention to their hardship, so now she will make amends. Lennier begins to plot a course back to Babylon 5, but Delenn says no. They're going back in. They destroyed League ships and now a White Star; now it's payback time. The fleet comes about and jumps back out again, guns firing. Delenn focuses on the mothership, engaging in a strafing run to destroy many of the still-docked Drakh ships. Then they notice the mothership starting to break away. They realize it's heading for the local Jumpgate. Delenn orders her ship to get in front of it. The ship speeds down the length of the mothership, heavily damaging it as it passes. Once ahead of the mothership and between it and the Jumpgate, Delenn grimly orders, "End this." A concentrated burst finishes off the Drakh mothership. Once the battle is over, Lennier notes that there appears to be problems back home on Minbar. Delenn agrees. She orders the fleet back to Babylon 5.
Delenn returns to Babylon 5 to find Sheridan inside a partially-torn-down War Room. She notes how humans and Minbari differ. Minbari build cities so they stand for centuries, even millennia, but humans seem to live on change: taking things down and putting new things in their place. Sheridan admits it was his idea. He describes the Voice of the Resistance. He also notes the trouble Delenn experienced in her mission. Her information correlates with a lot of the reports Babylon 5 has been receiving. It would appear the Drakh are emerging as a "wild card" in the aftermath of the Shadow War. His grandfather had warned about this, saying the duration always outlasts the war. But now Delenn reports that this attack highlighted the fact that Minbar is descending into civil war. Since she was instrumental in the events that led up to this, it's her responsibility to make things right. Besides, some time apart would be to their benefit. Sheridan has been trying to act as if nothing had changed since he went to Z'ha'dum, even though Lorien had said that he only has 20 years to live. And now he's focused on his own civil war, fighting with Garibaldi. That alone means things can't be as they were, so perhaps the best course of action is to enforce more change with her absence. Focus on the war at home, she insists, as she will with hers. Because destruction is the easy part; it's rebuilding that's hard, but humans are renowned among all other races for their ability to form communities, and Sheridan carries this strength better than most. So Sheridan invites her to dinner before she leaves. Delenn asks about Marcus and Franklin.
Marcus, seemingly as nervous as ever, opens and closes his denn'bok, even as voices in the background indicate Franklin is sleeping with Number One.
|Babylon 5 Season 4 "No Surrender, No Retreat"|
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