The Babylon Project

Mind War is an episode from the first season of Babylon 5, which is collectively entitled Signs and Portents.

A rogue telepath with exceptional powers takes refuge on Babylon 5, and two PSI Cops arrive to capture him. Catherine Sakai heads to Sigma 957 to survey it for Quantium-40, ignoring G'Kar's grave warnings.


Also starring
Guest starring

Cast notes[]



Black Omega, a Starfury wing, encounters a transport ship in deep space and orders it to surrender. A pulse of energy emanates from the ship, wiping out the Starfury wing completely.

On Babylon 5, Catherine Sakai and Jeffrey Sinclair enjoy a morning together in his quarters. Catherine explains that she has an offer to do some surveying through Universal Terraform. She is meeting with their representatives to discuss the deal in one hour. Jeff discusses how he has a meeting later to discuss "budget cuts" for the docking bays.

The same transport ship jumps into Babylon 5 space and is given clearance to dock.

Act I[]

Talia Winters boards a lift with one of her clients (who happens to be the representative from Universal Terraform, on his way to meet Sakai), who asks her about what it's like being a telepath. Michael Garibaldi is aboard the lift. When he hears her explain that "strong emotions are harder to block than casual thoughts," he "strongly" thinks of something "inappropriate," which prompts Talia to elbow him in the stomach before departing.

Catherine has her meeting (which Winters mediates), where she is told the planet Sigma 957 and initial scans suggest the presence of Quantium 40. They also explain that the planet is in contested space, requiring permission from one of the states disputing the area. Ambassador G'Kar joins them to discuss the situation.

A pair of Psi Cops enter the station and approach an officer. Without saying anything, but rather, using telepathy, they ask to be led to Sinclair, which he does. The commander is not amused when they initially communicate telepathically ("to save time"), insisting they speak verbally. They introduce themselves as Bester and Ms. Kelsey, and mention that Psi Cops are given greater latitude than ordinary telepaths. Bester explains they have come looking for a rogue telepath they believe has boarded the station. They insist on meeting with Talia Winters and the senior staff. When Sinclair rebukes them for wanting to disrupt station operations because of a single rogue telepath, Bester explains that this particular rogue is a dangerous individual who threatens all of Earthforce.

Meanwhile, the rogue in question rents a room aboard the station. While settling in, he suddenly flinches in pain and, as he does so, the entire room shakes.

With Winters and Lt. Cmdr. Ivanova assembled, Bester identifies the rogue as Jason Ironheart, a former instructor at the Psi Corps Academy (and a teacher to Ms. Winters). Ivanova's attitude towards the Psi Cops is anything but friendly. Bester and Kelsey explain that one year earlier, Ironheart was reassigned to a covert and classified operation with Earthforce Special Intelligence. They claim Ironheart has gone rogue and intends to sell highly classified information to alien worlds. Winters insists that cannot be true. She also denies having had contact with him, but the Psi Cops insist on conducting a "deep scan" on her to determine that for themselves. They conduct the scan (which causes Winters great discomfort and upsets Sinclair) and determine she has not seen him. Afterwards, they dismiss Winters from the room.

After she leaves, Ironheart approaches her in a hallway, saying he came looking for her.

Act II[]

Winters attempts to walk away, but Ironheart pleads for her to stay. He acknowledges he knew they would do a deep scan, which is why he had to wait until after it to contact her. He asks her for just a few minutes for him to explain what is happening.

Meanwhile, G'Kar has refused permission for Sakai to approach Sigma 957, and Catherine angrily confronts him in the Zócalo, supposing the refusal is merely a means at provoking the commander, or if the Narn Regime wishes to hold onto a world outside their range out of spite. G'Kar denies the allegations, insisting that Sigma 957 is a dangerous place and the refusal is for her own good. He also offers her sincere advice that whatever Sinclair or anyone else might have told her about him, she should know that no one on Babylon 5 is exactly as they appear, including himself. He parts with her reiterating that the threat is genuine, though she warns him she can go over his head.

Ironheart explains that the experiments he volunteered for were part of a joint Earthforce-Psi Corps operation to develop stronger telepaths. The operations involved a long series of genetic experimentation that was exhausting and painful. Finally, though, the experiment succeeded beyond anyone's wildest hopes. Ironheart's abilities were pushed beyond imagining – he could read anyone's mind and cut through anyone's block. In doing so, he learned that the real goal of the experiment was to produce a stable telekinetic (as only 1 out of every 10,000 telepaths had telekinetic abilities, with half of them being clinically insane). Winters recalls using an old penny for a TK test that she was required to take in her early days with the Academy. Jason explains that because of this goal, he had to flee – even if it meant ultimately letting them kill him.

In C'n'C, Michael Garibaldi approaches Sinclair with a lead on Ironheart he's currently following. He's eager to get the Psi Cops off the station and mentions how much he dislikes them. Just then, Bester walks in, having read Garibaldi's thoughts, happy about the progress. He mocks the security chief after reading an insult from him.

As Sakai excitedly leaves the station aboard her ship heading for Sigma 957, G'Kar opens a channel in his quarters to the Narn military headquarters, requesting some Frazi class heavy fighters (well armed) be sent to Sigma 957 immediately.

Jason further explains that he learned Psi Corps wanted telekinetics as silent assassins. Suddenly, he lurches in pain, begging her to quickly leave as the room begins to shake. This disruption is much more intense than before, tearing the room to pieces. Its effect is felt across the entire station. Sinclair feels it while with Bester and Kelsey, the latter of which identifies the disturbance as a "mind quake."

Act III[]

Sinclair enters the Zocalo, where Garibaldi informs him about the identified epicenter of the disturbance – but shows him that it is behind some kind of energy field completely enveloping part of Blue 16. The field is impenetrable. They leave to find Bester again and insist on some answers. Sinclair angrily tells them that they withheld information that put the entire station at risk. The Psi Cops coldly remark they did what they thought was best. They relent and give some answers. Bester explains that Ironheart is no longer entirely human.

In the ruins of Blue 16, Ironheart meditates, attempting to calm his mind and prevent further outbursts. Meanwhile, Sakai exits hyperspace and heads in on Sigma 957.

Bester goes on to explain that during the last of the experiments Ironheart was involved with, he began to exhibit a long list of irrational behaviors, culminating in his murdering of the head researcher and fleeing the facility. At each step along his flight, his abilities have increased exponentially. Bester admits that withholding information was done because they worried if word got out, alien governments might try to seize him before they could. Ivanova angrily tells them off. Kelsey explains that a telepathic "safe word" was implanted in Ironheart that they can deliver if he is in a line of sight. The safe word will put him to sleep, allowing them to apprehend him.

Winters approaches the energy field in an isolated corridor. She calls to Jason, and he allows the field to lapse in that corridor long enough for her to enter. She finds him among the wreckage. He explains that seeing her was necessary to help him keep his power in check, but admits that coming there put her and everyone aboard at risk. He then warns her that the Psi Corps is beginning to manipulate EarthGov and other entities on Earth in terrible ways. He also tells her that he is becoming something else.

Talia approaches Cmdr. Sinclair and admits that she has seen Ironheart. She asks him to come with her alone. As they ride the Core Shuttle, Talia admits that she and Jason were lovers at the Academy. He came to say good-bye, because his abilities are growing beyond control and soon he will be "become." She admits that they still love each other.

At Sigma 957, Sakai begins to scan the planet. Just as she mocks the warnings she's heard about the place, a strange disturbance near the planet begins to develop. Soon, a strange, huge alien ship appears for a few minutes and then disappears. Its presence overwhelmed the engines of Catherine's ship, trapping it in the planet's gravity well.

Act IV[]

Catherine struggles to find a solution to her predicament (falling towards the planet) but her ship has almost no power left. Fortunately, a pair of Narn fighters soon come into orbit. One of them answers, introducing himself as Sh'Drog and explaining they were dispatched by Ambassador G'Kar to assist her. They relate they will pull her out of her decaying orbit and escort her back to Babylon 5.

Sinclair meets with Ironheart. He explains that the Psi Corps is obsessed with control – over everything. He explains that as his powers increased, he gained control over not just matter but energy itself. He admits that it is a power man is not meant to have, and that the Psi Corps will dissect him if they seize him. Sinclair asks why he should trust Ironheart, especially after Ironheart murdered the researcher. Jason admits the deed, but says he did to ensure no one else would become what he is. He pleas with Sinclair, and Winters supports him. Jason asks just for enough time to finish his transformation, promising to be gone forever after that.

Sinclair contacts Garibaldi, ordering him to clear a path to a docking bay so that he and Jason can come out safely. As the order is carried out, Bester and Kelsey suspect something is amiss and enter the corridor to confront Ironheart as Sinclair and Winters escort him. Ironheart winces in pain and declares he won't go back. The Psi Cops hit him with the "safe word," causing him to become distracted and lose control of his powers. Sinclair knocks Bester down, and Kelsey draws a PPG on Ironheart, prompting him to vaporize her with a thought. Bester recovers and shoots Jason, and he responds by knocking him out with an energy blast. Jason hurries to his ship, where he quickly exits the station. As his ship hovers nearby, suddenly an energy field envelops it. Jason, now a being of pure energy, announces that he has "become." He communicates with Winters, saying he wishes to give her a "gift." A beam of energy briefly engulfs her. Ironheart then bids Sinclair farewell, promising to see him again "in a million years," before disappearing.

Sinclair and Garibaldi confer with Bester in Sinclair's office, where they show him the video feed of Jason as an energy being. Sinclair explains about how there will soon by an "accident" that will erase that file. He suggests "something close to the truth," namely that Ironheart's ship exploded after it left the station. He flatly states that if Bester does not go along with it, he will report how Bester lied to them and through his interference Jason not only escaped but was able to kill Kelsey. Sinclair also insists that Talia not be reprimanded for her actions. Bester responds with silence, implying agreement by getting up and giving Sinclair a strange salute, remarking "be seeing you."

Garibaldi then asks Sinclair how much of what Ironheart told him will he relate to the Senate. Sinclair replies that, with no evidence, it is just a conspiracy theory from someone who was delirious and paranoid from his symptoms. Garibaldi then wonders aloud about Winters and the "gift" Jason said he gave her.

Alone in her quarters, Winters places an old U.S. penny on a table. Slowly, she is able to inch it across the table with her mind.

Act V[]

Once back aboard Babylon 5, Catherine finds G'Kar and thanks him for his help, admitting she misjudged him. She asks him about the aliens at Sigma 957. He responds that they are ancient beings who, if they are aware of the younger worlds at all, it is no more than humanoids are aware of ants. "And we've learned that we can either stay out from underfoot, or be stepped on."