Midnight on the Firing Line is an episode from the first season of Babylon 5, which is collectively entitled Signs and Portents. The episode aired on January 26th, 1994.

When the Narn attack a Centauri colony, Londo and G'Kar nearly come to blows. Meanwhile, raiders are attacking transport ships near the station.

Cast[edit | edit source]

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Summary[edit | edit source]

Introduction[edit | edit source]

The Centauri agricultural colony on Ragesh III is attacked by an unknown force exiting hyperspace. On Babylon 5, Lieutenant Commander Susan Ivanova, the new second-in-command of the station after Laurel Takashima was reassigned, is in search of Commander Jeffrey Sinclair in the Zócalo. She finds him in the Observation dome to let him know there is a problem. Ambassador Londo Mollari approaches Garibaldi to ask him for a favor, but is interrupted by his new aide, Vir Cotto, who informs him that Ragesh III has been attacked.

Act I[edit | edit source]

Minbari Ambassador Delenn and Narn Ambassador G'Kar enter and offer their condolences. Mollari is suspicious that the Narns had something to do with it, but G'Kar adamantly denies his government's involvement. Mollari plans to call a meeting of the Babylon 5 Advisory Council and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds later.

A transport ship sends word to the station that they are under attack by Raiders. Ivanova tells Garibaldi, who takes a small Starfury wing to investigate. Commercial telepath Talia Winters steps into C'n'C to report her arrival on the station, per Psi Corps regulations. Ivanova does not want to talk to the new telepath, and leaves to find Sinclair. She finds him listening to the election coverage of the Earth Alliance presidency. They spend time trying to figure out who could have taken part in the attack of Ragesh III, but do not come up with any clear conclusions. Sinclair explains to Ivanova about his grandfather, who inspired him to join Earthforce and taught him "to ignore the propaganda...to focus on what he can see."

Mollari soon receives footage of the attack and identifies the vessels as Narn. Mollari storms off to find G'Kar.

In deep space, Garibaldi and his wingman find the remains of the attacked transport, stripped bare with no survivors.

Mollari finds G'Kar in the Zocalo and threatens retaliation, which G'Kar mocks and then extends his own threats. Mollari has to be physically restrained by station security from assaulting G'Kar.

Act II[edit | edit source]

Later, Mollari apologizes for the incident with G'Kar and tells Sinclair of a prophetic dream he once had, a vision of his own death were he sees himself and G'Kar, both 20 years older, strangling each other to death. Sinclair tells him things can change in twenty years, but Mollari is convinced it will happen. Sinclair also tells Mollari he is calling the Advisory Council and the League, hopeful he can form a coalition against the Narn attack. Mollari explains that to keep his nephew, Carn Mollari, safe from harm, he personally arranged for him to have a higher position – on Ragesh III. He may have sealed his fate. Mollari then explains that interstellar diplomacy is all a game, and that the only thing that matters is blood. He swears that if Carn is dead, if it is the last thing he does he will see war against the Narn.

Sinclair goes to visit Vorlon Ambassador Kosh. Kosh agrees to attend the emergency council session Sinclair has called, but declines to help. In C'n'C, Garibaldi suspects that transport routes (typically kept secret to prevent raider attacks) have been leaked somehow. He investigates to find a link between the transports hit and the supply routes.

Mollari soon finds out that the Centauri government has decided to take no action to the attack – citing the colony is too far, too small, and too unimportant to risk a confrontation. He tells Cotto that they will not tell the Council of this, to see if the other races can take action and thus embarrass the Centauri government into acting.

Winters runs into Garibaldi in a transport tube and asks why Ivanova seems so standoffish. Garibaldi recommends she try talking to Ivanova after Ivanova gets off duty. He then invites her back to his quarters to see "his second favorite thing in the whole universe."

G'Kar encounters Sinclair in the Zen Garden, reflecting quietly before the Council meeting. G'Kar reflects on the Centauri occupation, and about his dream to wipe the Centauri out completely. He also points out that the Narns were one of the few races to supply weapons to Earth during the Earth-Minbari War. Sinclair rebukes G'Kar's assertion that Earth "owes" the Narn Regime, criticizing the Narn for a cowardly attack on a civilian colony.

After leaving the garden, Sinclair is met by Garibaldi, who has discovered that one company that sold transport routes is the common link between all the attacks. They are now fairly convinced of what the Raiders' next attack will be.

Act III[edit | edit source]

Sinclair speaks with an Earth Alliance Senator, asking for authorization to vote for military intervention. The Senator is hesitant to authorize action so close to an election, and tells him to abstain from the vote. Ivanova, who has been watching from the doorway, informs him that a flight of Starfuries is ready to intercept some raiders, Garibaldi believing he has discovered the leak. Sinclair comes up with the plan to lead the mission himself. Telling Ivanova that she "never heard" the conversation, Ivanova is left to chair the council meeting and vote in support of sanctions.

During the council meeting, G'Kar's explanation of why the Narn attacked was because a hundred years ago the planet had been a Narn colony. Ambassador Delenn admonishes G'Kar for being willing to invade a colony over blood spilled so long ago. G'Kar rebuffs the allegations of invasion, insisting they were invited to come by the colonists. He introduces a transmission from Ragesh III, from Carn Mollari, who claims that they had asked for Narn assistance. Londo Mollari believes it to be a coerced statement, and not factual, but while the others present suspect he is right, there is no proof. G'Kar motions that the charges be dismissed, and the motion passes.

Meanwhile, in deep space, Sinclair and his Starfury wing successfully track down the Raiders in the midst of the latest attack on a transport.

Act IV[edit | edit source]

Sinclair's fighter wing engages the Raider vessels, easily scattering them and saving the transport. Following the skirmish, Sinclair's wing locates the Raider's command and control vessel.

Back on the station, Mollari assembles a hidden weapon to kill G'Kar. On his way to kill him, he crosses paths with Winters, who gets a telepathic vision of what he plans to do. She reports this directly to Garibaldi, who quickly finds Mollari and convinces him not to go through with it.

Sinclair approaches G'Kar with his discovery from the raiders' base: a Narn officer, supplied along with weapons sold to the raiders by the Narn. Intercepted transmissions logged on the base also confirm Mollari's assertions that the attack on Ragesh III was entirely unprovoked. Sinclair threatens to bring the evidence before the Council unless Narn forces withdraw from Ragesh III.

Ivanova explains why she has been avoiding Winters, that her mother had refused to join the Psi Corps, and opted to take sleepers to suppress her telepathic abilities instead of going to prison. The drugs lead Ivanova's mother into a deep depression, ultimately lead to her suicide.

Act V[edit | edit source]

Garibaldi has convinced Ambassador Delenn to come back to his quarters with him, where they share popcorn and a night of watching Duck Dodgers, although the comedy is lost on her.

Sinclair watches election returns, showing a victory for the incumbent president Luis Santiago.

Memorable quotes[edit | edit source]

"One night you'll wake up and find our teeth at your throat."

G'Kar, to Mollari

"Only one thing matters, blood calls out for blood."

Mollari, to Sinclair

"I'm in the middle of fifteen things, all of them annoying."

Ivanova, to Winters

"They are alone. They are a dying people. We should let them pass."
"Who? The Narn or the Centauri?"

Kosh to Sinclair

"Commander, there's a problem..."

Ivanova, to Sinclair

"Ignore the propaganda, focus on what you see"

Sinclair, to Ivanova

Image Category[edit | edit source]

Category:Images by episode (Midnight on the Firing Line)

DVD release[edit | edit source]

This episode, along with the other episodes from season one, has been released on DVD with extensive special features.

External links[edit | edit source]

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